We live in a world filled with toxins. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The human body has a natural method for collecting and eliminating these toxins – the lymphatic system. This network of vessels weaves throughout your body delivering nutrients to your cells and collecting wastes to carry away. With no pump of its own, the lymphatic system relies on the movement of your muscles to move fluids around.
And for the most part, the system works really well, as long as you are moderately active and are not overexposed to toxins. But, if your toxin level is high and your clearing system is having trouble keeping up, you’ll start developing negative symptoms, like body aches, fevers, frequent colds or infections, headaches, fatigue, unusual thirst, or skin rashes.
One of the ways our bodies try to deal with excess toxins is by storing them in fat. That’s why some people feel so crummy when they start losing weight. As the fat disappears, the toxins are released back into the blood stream, triggering toxic symptoms.
So, if you’ve recently started a clean eating regimen, a new exercise routine, begun massage therapy, or embarked on an official “detox” program – know that feeling crummy is (unfortunately) part of the process.
Rest assured, though, because detoxification symptoms, although uncomfortable, are not harmful. And, there are things you can do to reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten their duration.
Bathe in an Epsom Salt Bath
A super simple recipe for a toxin clearing bath is to fill your tub with warm water and add 1 – 2 cups of Epsom Salt. Mix it up and climb in. Relax for as long as you are comfortable. Epsom Salt is not the same as table salt or bath salts. It’s made of a compound called magnesium sulfate. And when you soak in a solution of it, toxins and excess swelling can be pulled through your skin. This reduces inflammation and can help eliminate toxins from your body faster. (Note: Epsom Salt is not for use in jetted tubs, whirlpools, or hot tubs unless the manufacturer specifically says it is ok.)
Drink Plenty of Water
The lymph fluid that carries toxins away from your cells is made of about 95% water. So drink up! The more water you consume, the better your body will be able to move toxins though your lymph system. Drink purified water (not straight tap water) throughout the day aiming to get about eight 8-oz glasses in total. If you exercise vigorously, are out in the heat or cold, or are feeling thirsty, drink an extra glass or two. But, you can overdo it… drinking too much water can unbalance your electrolytes. If you feel excessively thirsty despite adequate water consumption, please consult your doctor or naturopath. Extreme unexplained thirst is a warning sign that demands your full attention.
Get Adequate Rest
The process of detoxification is hard work for your body! It’s natural to feel more tired than usual while your body works this hard. Take a guilt-free afternoon nap, sleep a little longer in the morning, and head to bed early (ideally by 9 pm) to give your system adequate rest.
Remember, the lymph system doesn’t have a pump! The only way lymph fluid moves around your body is through the physical movement of the tissues around the lymph vessels. Gentle physical activity is ideal when you are in the process of detoxing – like walking and yoga. You can also visit your favorite massage therapist to get a lymph-drainage massage. This type of gentle massage stimulates the flow of lymph using smooth strokes timed with the rhythm of the valves in lymph vessels.
So, pay attention to your body and be on the lookout for the symptoms of detoxification. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us or schedule an appointment.