​​​​Detox – What Is It And Why Do It?

The Great Detox Cleanse Dilemma

To detox or not to detox? That is the question.  Before you can answer that question for yourself, it may help to look a little deeper.

Whenever you go through your daily life, you are exposed to numerous toxins. Everything from the pollutants in the air, to the detergent used to wash your clothes. Even our food supply is grown with the use of many toxic chemicals for weed and pest control. Many substances in our every day lives can be and are toxic to humans, animals and fish. There’s a saying that once you let the worms out of the can, you cannot put them back in.  This means that you cannot un-know what you know.  A severe illness hit one of my children 20 years ago to which the doctors in some of the best hospitals around the USA didn’t have many answers.  The common questions from the doctors and nurses had to do with a toxic environment, believe it or not.  They kept asking about ‘potential exposures’ from our home, our car, the office. I didn’t know about toxins at that time, so I went searching for information.  Now I can’t “un-know what I know…” – I can’t get the worms back into the can. Detox is for real.

The good news is that if you are healthy, your body detox mechanism works naturally. Your body, through natural processes, will detox, cleanse, and repair itself on a daily basis. In fact, it MUST or you will die! But sometimes, you need more. This depends on the health of your lymphatic system mostly.  Whether you’re looking for a good detox diet, or more specifically targeted cleansing programs, you’ll find loads of information on my blog and in many other places.

There are many reasons people want to detox their body.  Sometimes people want to detox from past or current alcohol or drugs abuse, from chemicals in their environment, or just go through a general renewal in the pursuit of the best health.

Alcohol Detox

Most people have heard of the “DT’s” or “delirium tremens”, a common response when going through an alcohol-related withdrawal. Detox occurs naturally when the offending substance – in this case, alcohol – is no longer consumed. There are many steps that can make an alcoholism detox process easier and faster while lessening side effects. Thing like eating healthy, consuming raw food, drinking herbal teas, detox drinks, juicing, herbal supplements, and a lot of good, clean water can ease the process dramatically.

Detox Cleanse Techniques for Work

One common problem in the modern age is the use of recreational drugs like marijuana, amphetamines, or other mood-altering compounds. Many employers do periodic testing for drugs. There are tests that will indicate when unauthorized drugs have been used, and a positive test will usually lead to being fired.

People that have allergic reactions or bad allergies can unknowingly be at risk in this case because higher doses of Benadryl have been known to cause a positive result on a drug test.

What to do? Detox! A drug detox drink is usually a concoction of herbs and/or vitamins and minerals and will usually provide a ‘negative’ on the drug test. Those seeking a natural drug detox have a wide number of choices. You can find pre-mixed detox drinks at GNC, vitamin stores, specialty stores, or on the internet.

If you’re in need of fast action, also known as a one day detox, you’ll find many detox products claiming to give quick results. There are even homemade detox drinks that could help to clean up your urine within a few hours using nothing more than some Creatine (an amino acid), Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), cranberry juice, and stevia. Of course, the best way to pass a drug test is to avoid using drugs of any kind.

Detox Diet for Wellness – The Path to Optimum Health

Used throughout history, even back to the Egyptians, a natural diet was used to keep the body running in peak condition.  In today’s world, a natural food diet can be used to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins.

Fruit Detox Smoothies Can Help Cleanse the Body frequently consisted of various combinations of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Becoming more and more popular as the search for health and vitality increases, there are now a wide variety of detox diet programs to follow.

Some are as simple as a “mono diet” which is exactly what it sounds like: only eat one (“mono”) food. For example, the grape cleanse, or grape diet, consists of eating only grapes. The grape diet focuses on dark-colored grapes, especially varieties with seeds, and preferably organically-grown. Organic is preferred since many of the health-giving properties are found in the skin of the grapes; why take in more poisons when you’re trying to get RID of toxins?

Other detox diets might use specific combinations of foods and even raw foods to help clear out unwanted substances from the body.

Overall, the ideal lifestyle is to incorporate a healthy blend of high-quality foods that are as close to what you find in nature into your everyday life. This way, you’re not searching for some magic detox diet plan, but your everyday diet provides the fuel your body needs. This takes a diet into a lifestyle where you will continue to reap the benefits while you are alive.

The draw back is in our modern society.  We live in a highly processed world and eating truly healthy is not as easy as it might seem.  We are surrounded by convenient, highly-processed “food”.  I use the term “food” loosely here because chemical or lab grown food does not nourish your body, no matter how many vitamins and minerals have been added.

In our hectic, high-pressure and environment, it is a lot easier to grab something quick rather than take the time needed to stay on the healthy path. This is precisely what causes us to age badly, illness and disease to set in, and weight gain to happen.  Changing your eating habits, even for a cleanse, just takes re-organizing your past habits. It also helps to have some tools on which you can rely when you need a little extra help with cleansing and detox.

You can even use common, easy-to-find, products like coconut oil. Detox with coconut oil? Yes, a simple but powerful and inexpensive tool is as close as your nearest grocery store. Use 6 Tablespoons a day of coconut oil and watch fat melt off your body.

How about lemonade? A detox diet recipe called the lemonade diet or Master Cleanse was popularized by Beyonce and  includes lemons, spring water, cayenne pepper, and either blackstrap molasses or grade B maple syrup.  You can Google “the master cleanse” or go here to read about the new twist on the Beyonce lemonade diet that will help pounds melt off quickly.

Detox Your Liver?

Some detox techniques are designed to target specific, individual organ systems.  Since your entire system is designed to work together, targeting a specific organ can provide beneficial results felt throughout your entire body. For example, cleansing the liver often times gives people better eye sight and a reduction of facial wrinkles or doing colon cleanses, clears up skin that has acne or is prone to psoriasis outbreaks.

The most commonly known organ detox is aimed at the liver. The liver is a powerhouse organ, and is instrumental in maintaining a healthy body in the face of numerous environmental toxins. Not only is the liver as a whole the target of some cleansing techniques, but even the different lobes of this filtering organ are the target of some of the best liver detox recipes.

More Organs – Kidney, Thymus, Gall Bladder, There’s Even a Pineal Gland Cleanse

Techniques have gotten more sophisticated so that you could even run through a series of body detoxing cleanses that would each target a different organ or gland in a specific order. As discussed above,  the liver is usually the first choice since it is such a powerhouse organ.

Your kidneys are next in line that should be cleansed. Being another major filtering organ, your kidneys come under great stress in the presence of toxins. A good kidney cleanse, especially when done before a liver cleanse, will provide huge health benefits for an extended period of time.

Other organs and glands that benefit from targeted cleanses include:

  • Gall Bladder – Important for proper digestion and vibrant health
  • Thymus – An immune system superstar that sometimes needs a little support
  • Pineal – The main control of your hormone balance
  • Lymph – This often neglected circulation system is incredibly important
  • Skin – The biggest organ is one of the most important to keep detoxed

Detox from Head to Toe – The Foot Detox

No discussion about detoxing would be complete without a look at the famed foot bath detox, sometimes called an ionic foot bath. This tool purports to remove accumulated toxins through the feet by soaking them in an ionic foot bath for 30 minutes or so.


The water becomes dirty and exhibits different colors at the end of an ionic foot bath session.

foot-detox-bathFrom experience, I can say that it’s a cool experience to watch the water slowly get dirtier and dirtier. Like all detox techniques, the foot detox bath has its naysayers as well as true believers. I was quite picky about the therapies I provided at my clinic.  It wasn’t about the money, it was about helping people on their journey to wellness.  I had the foot detox in my clinics.

Like many therapies, they are often disregarded because the people promoting them give false claims about something, which only helps to “prove” that alternative therapies are scams. Alternative therapies are not scams, the hype can be what is scammy. While some testimonies are anecdotal, others are pure false advertising. The foot detox has been tainted by a lot of misinformation and scammy hype. Few people understand how the mechanism really works. I will shed some quick light on what this detoxing modality can and cannot do.

The foot bath detox machine can help lighten your toxic load. Unfortunately, the color of the water after a foot detox session does not mean much. I do look at the color but I pay more attention to the blood clots, yeast, parasites, and even how acid the water has become. The smell of the water after a foot detox often reveals what household chemicals the client has been using. This has always been 100% accurate for me.

Color changes in the water are caused from the combination of electrolysis and the impurities in the water, along with wear of the actual foot detox machine module. The skin on the feet can contain soap residue, lotions, nail polish or removers, household chemicals, dead skin, oil from sebaceous glands, bacterias, fungus and fibers.  I’ve actually tested this with different water and even using George’s Aloe as the liquid medium.

I’m not sold on the hype that the foot bath detox can pull from specific organs, like the liver and kidneys, as often advertised. I will say this though, according to oriental diagnostics and medicine, the hands and feet both contain the blueprint for all of our organs and body systems. Think acupressure or reflexology. If you’ve ever had acupressure done, you will know how good you feel after a session. I do believe that something applied to your feet and hands can influence your organs but I’m skeptical on the foot detox being able to pull toxins from organs.

How the Foot Detox Works:

Your body is made up of 60%-75% water. You have naturally occurring metals (think iron) and salts in your bodily fluid. These fluids are capable of conducting electricity, as well as giving and receiving electricity. Our body is a like an industrial facility. It produces chemical reactions that in turn creates energy for your body.

When your feet are introduced to the current in the foot detox, your body automatically begins to mimic the current in the foot bath and if we are low on energy, our body automatically gains energy to do what it needs to do. This is often why you feel a boost of energy after a foot detox session.

Acupuncture uses tiny needles to induce a natural type of electric stimulation. The needles, when applied to certain points can stimulate or tonify your body. The current in the foot detox has similar capabilities. The foot detox can restore energy and pass some of this energy onto your organs to essential recharge the battery in your organs.

Applying acupuncture needles or electric stimulation to these organ reflex points or meridian points sends a signal to that organ or body system. As acupuncture can stimulate the immune system, tonify, drain and build up energy in the body, organs and meridians, the galvanic current used in the foot detox serves the same purpose. What actually happens is the foot detox restores energy and balance, eases tension and blockages. This then helps the body’s organs and systems to function correctly. In other words, the foot detox is another way that the body can recharge its system and keep you running on high. When your organs have enough energy, they will begin to release naturally the toxins they have been holding on to. Your body needs energy to detox.

Try it for yourself. Even without the scientific end, I would have the occasional visit from a client on the weekend that had overindulged in alcohol the night before and was suffering from a hang over.  I would put them on the foot detox and within 30 minutes, they no longer felt still drunk, shaky or nauseated. Instead they felt like they had not even went out the night before. I know that I felt better after each round with the foot detox machine, maybe you will too.

Another tool for detoxing through feet are detox foot pads. These detox foot patches have a mixture of herbs which can act in a more gentle but similar fashion.  The herbs in the detox pads can help to stimulate your body’s natural sewer system and will  help to detox impurities through the pores of your feet. Put them on overnight and the next morning you’ll have an impressive glop of goo with a funky smell on the pads. Do they work? Again, try for yourself and see how you feel about it. Everything works for everyone but some people feel more from certain modalities than others.  What you feel after different cleanses depends on several factors that are individual for each person.

Side Effects: When is a Body Cleanse a Weight Loss Cleanse?

The answer?

When you lose weight.

One of the great things about just about any type of detox is the accompanying weight loss that frequently happens. In fact, many people looking for weight loss detox solely to lose weight fast. But remember, when deciding on the best cleanse for weight loss, there are other factors to consider.

First, what type of cleanse should be done? Many people need to cleanse a particular organ, for example the liver, before tackling more intensive detox that may result in greater weight loss. By cleaning out the liver first, the body will be ready for the additional strain from the toxins released during a weight loss plan designed for fast weight loss or fast fat loss.

The Bad News – Detox Symptoms Are NOT Always Fun!

That is, unless you enjoy feeling lousy. Depending on how toxic your system is, you might experience any of the following, often many at once:

  • Acne, Rash, or Skin Eruptions… Really? Yes, unfortunately, these are frequently experienced while detoxing. Enemas or saunas will help this side effect.
  • Digestive Problems, including either diarrhea or constipation (sometimes BOTH!), bloating, gas, even stomach cramping. There are products and additional therapies that can help with this as well.
  • Trouble Concentrating – aka “Brain Fog” – another common side-effect when your body is dumping toxins. This will quickly pass.
  • Energy – No, not higher energy, but LOW energy and fatigue can show up once you start cleaning up your system. Make sure you allow yourself to rest and sleep when necessary.
  • Oh, the Pain! – Yes, you may well get headaches, body aches, or aches you never felt before. Again, additional therapies can help relieve this for you.
  • Weird and Intense Cravings – It may not be pickles and ice cream, but you might find yourself wanting to eat stuff that is really bad for you or strange things like chewing ice. This could be a couple of things: parasites, yeast, or your body’s homeostasis habit of junk food trying to pull you back. Use your will power and it will fade.

Now, with that being said, all of the above symptoms are actually a GOOD thing. Any of these are a sign that your body is doing what you want: cleaning out toxins. The trick is to manage your detox so that you don’t get discouraged and quit because you feel so bad. Taking it slow and cleansing one system at a time can help to alleviate or eliminate most, if not all, of these lousy feelings.

In Conclusion:

Detox and cleansing is a subject, like many in the natural health arena, that has a fair share of controversy. The medical establishment in the US is not a big proponent of these method (read what WebMD has to say about the lemonade diet detox. As you can imagine, it’s not too positive, even though thousands of people have had excellent results, myself and Beyonce included!)

However, in many other countries these methods are often a first line of defense in the medical arena when it comes to health. Russia has many medical clinics that focus exclusively on fasting, with detox being the primary goal.  Health spas across Europe have offered cleansing for hundreds of years. Luckily, this is now being “rediscovered” and there are many locations around the world, including the USA, where a comprehensive juice cleanse is the foundation of many a detox retreat.

I am a HUGE proponent of detoxing, cleansing, and keeping your body as healthy as possible as naturally as possible.  I am not militantly against the allopathic medical community, like many holistic health adherents seem to be.  I have friends that are great doctors and are not alternative.  I just prefer that people only need allopathic medicine during emergencies. Why?  Because they are living a healthy and vital life every day through a natural wellness lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about how to detoxify your body, use the search function at the top right of this page and type in “detox” – you’ll see a list of all the information I’ve published on this site about the topic.

To get you started, here is a post entirely about detox drinks.

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