There are many different types of cleanses out there and many ways in which to address cleansing. How do you know the cleanse is a good or safe one? Do you know if the person telling you how to cleanse is qualified? How do you know the cleanse they are recommending is right for you? Cleansing the body is an art and a science. The person guiding you should have a background in herbal medicine and nutritional therapy. If you cleanse carelessly you can cause damage, sometimes long lasting.
There are many schools of thought on cleansing and healing. In my lineage we acknowledge three basic traditions of healing: the scientific, heroic and wise woman traditions. These three traditions have very different approaches to healing to read more follow the link to Traditions of healing.
Why do a cleanse?
I often do cleanses when I need a reset, or when its time for me to do an urban vision quest. When I realize I am feeling overwhelmed by life and things are moving too fast. This way, I can also things down, come back to my center, and ground.
- Toxins- environmental, chemical, mental and emotional. Also, when we are in a negative state of mind, this negativity creates an acidic environment allowing dis-ease to thrive.
- Toxins can drain the body of energy and lower the immune system making you more susceptible to dis-ease, causing the body to work harder to eliminate or process the toxins.
- Poor eating habits, poor digestion, fatigue, gas, addiction, bloating, allergic reactions, food allergies, emotional imbalance, acne, weight gain, fertility concerns, irritability, headaches, eczema, reproductive issues, mental health imbalances, feeling overwhelmed, insomnia and with dis-ease, pathology & symptomology cleansing can support restoring balance.
Can cleansing be harmful?
Yes, absolutely. Many of the herbs and formulas that are used in most cleansing programs are cold and dry and can be harmful to the body, especially if used inappropriately.
Many people believe they may have candida or parasites, but don’t know for sure. Don’t you want to know your ailment for sure, before you take the appropriate medicine to treat it? Would you take the prescription for something that you thought you had, or would you want to be sure of your condition before you took the medicine?
Many cleanses use addictive or habit forming laxatives and stimulants and or fillers such as bentonite clay and aloe vera juice. Bentonite clay is heavy in aluminum and is dehydrating to the colon, neither of which are good for you. Aloe is a wonderful plant, especially if you have an ulcer or if it is used in small doses. It is a strong intestinal stimulant and is very cold in temperature, so best used cautiously.
Herbs like pau d’arco and black walnut hull are also often used in cleanses – these herbs are specific for parasites, fungus, or worms and should only be used when indicated. Unless you know for a fact that you are dealing with one of these specific issues, you should avoid these types of cleanses, they are cold and dry and can upset your body’s constitution which can be very hard to bring back into balance.
Avoid many days of fasting! The Master Cleanse is a great example of a popular, fad cleanse. You may feel good on this type of “cleanse”, yet they have many harmful side effects. In Ayurvedic Medicine these cleanses are considered Vata provoking, which basically means they cause an imbalance in your body’s constitution. In this case making you feel ungrounded, spacey and dry, which makes you feel high, which in turn makes you think you feel great, however this is very depleting to the body. These kind of “cleanses” also spike the blood sugar and, in reality, are not actually cleansing or detoxifying at all! These cleanses go in the category of the Heroic tradition.
Things to consider when looking for a cleanse
It seems as though cleanses are offered by anyone and everyone these days, there are books and videos and online cleanses, oh my! Know your cleanse practitioner, what is their education and experience? Are they a health expert? Are they a Clinical Herbalist and or a Clinical Nutritionist? How long have they been leading cleanses? Then look at from which tradition of healing they come, this will help you to determine if they are a good match for you and your specific health goals.
If there are herbal formulas involved I highly suggest consulting a qualified herbalist. Many herbs used in cleansing can be stripping and harmful to your body’s systems. Look at the quality of the products. Who makes them? Who formulated them? Are they filled with preservatives? How long did they sit on the shelf? Are they in plastic bottles or glass?
My approach honors where you are in your health/healing and supports you through nourishment, love and acceptance. Eat healthy foods, supplementing with minerals, vitamins and super foods when needed and drink nourishing herbal teas and formulas to support the body’s natural cleansing processes. I believe our health starts with what we put in our bodies, but doesn’t stop there, it includes how we think about ourselves and what we do with ourselves on a daily basis, for work and for play, our health is a direct result of our experience of life.
I use the highest quality organic, ethically wild crafted cleansing products for internal use and provide the support that is needed to cleanse in a gentle and effective way. The intention behind these cleansing programs is to provide helpful guidance to achieve optimal health and promote nourishment for your body on a deep and lasting level. My cleanse programs are influenced by the Wise Woman tradition, Ayurvedic principles and are informed by my education as a Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Clinical Herbalist.
What to look for in a well balanced cleanse and questions to ask
- Quality of products – Quality of herbs (organic, ethically wild crafted, and how they are processed)
- How long has it been sitting on the shelf?
- Does it contain preservatives?
- What is the intention behind the formulas? What are they selling? (health or that you have parasites?)
- Is the emotional body supported for the duration of the cleanse (essential oils, flower essences, self-care practices)
- Make sure there are NO addictive laxatives and NO CLAY of any kind. Clay is often used in detox programs, it can be harmful and is very dehydrating to the colon.
- Does it promote eating food, or starving yourself?!
- If the cleanse suggests juicing, do they recommend watering the juices down, or fasting, or just drinking juices or green drinks? You want to eat food and fibrous foods or drinks to help the body detox. You want to avoid fasting unless you are working with a qualified health care practitioner. You need to be mindful of your blood sugar and drinking only sweet liquid beverages (as juices are) for days can be harmful and actually make your body work harder.
- Promotes the elimination of preservatives, sugars, refined foods, bad oils and non-organic foods
- Is the cleanse mindful of the place in which you live, and the seasons?
What to remember during a cleanse
- When cleansing it is important to remember that you are setting time aside to give your body a rest from your normal routine and eating habits
- Be gentle with yourself during this time, move slower, schedule less.
- Drink plenty of pure water
- Listen to your body
- Eat healthy organic food when you are hungry
- Take epsom salt baths with baking soda
- Implement other self care practices you have been avoiding
Happy Cleansing! With Love – naomi