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 Naturopathic Medicine: Detoxification 
 

Styles of Detoxification:
Summer is the Perfect Time for "House-Cleaning"

Virtually all ancient cultures respected the necessity of fasting and detoxification. In Nature, the animal kingdom fasts when ill. And humans who regularly clean their bodies, enjoy much greater vitality, less chronic degenerative disease, shorter illnesses and increased longevity. After all, we clean our homes on a regular basis, wash our clothes and our car.....so why not our bodies? Well..... unfortunately, this practice has almost been abandoned in our fast-paced society, where pills and junk food appear more attractive.

From teething on through adult life, we've eaten several meals a day, usually various combinations of only 10 or 20 foods. During our lifetime, drastic changes in processing that food has led to it being more refined and laden with sugar, fat and preservatives. There is a tendency to overeat in our culture like in no other on earth. The result: a digestive system that is overburdened and in need of a good house-cleaning.

In reality, a detox or supervised cleansing program is an excellent opportunity for you to clear your body of toxic metabolites, find out which foods (if any) may be creating problems, become more aware of your body and observe your relationship with food. The success of such a program is largely dependent on the selection of the proper program for your body type.

Since there are a variety of body types, not one program works for everyone. Jesus may have been able to fast 40 days on water in the wilderness 2000 years ago, but the pressures of todays' living and environmental pollution require us to take a different approach. Some people have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, making them shakey, irritable and sick if they miss even a single meal. Others have iron stomachs and can go all day without even noticing their hunger level. Still others are overweight and process food very slowly. Each one of these people would benefit from a different program, all aimed at the same goal: better health.

During a detox, metabolism changes from a catabolic phase (where food is constantly being broken down by the process of digestion), towards an anabolic phase (where rebuilding occurs). For some, a brief juice fast is appropriate to accomplish this rest and its resultant cleansing effects. For others, careful selection of certain fruits and vegetables will best support elimination. Still others may require the addition of beans and grains or UltraBalance (a hypoallergenic protein supplement) to stabilize their metabolism and allow detoxification to occur.

There are several organs of elimination which can be supported for optimal detoxification. The skin is our largest organ of elimination, but the lungs, liver, intestines and kidneys do most of the real work. While we are targeting the digestive system in our detox programs, these other organs benefit by the addition of specific nutrients and herbs, psyllium bulking agents and special practices such as massage, steam baths, skin-brushing, and possibly enemas. A program specific for your needs can be designed.

During my years of practice, I have seen some profound improvements in the health of many patients as a result of detoxification. Chronic irritable bowel often clears and does not return once the offending food is identified, eliminated and the irritated tissue allowed to heal. Chronic eczema, so severe the patient had taken cortisone for years, cleared in days and the patient was able to be weaned off this potent drug. Arthritis also responds well to the detoxification process. These and many less severe conditions improve when the body is given the opportunity to be cleansed.

Now that summer is here, it is the perfect time for a cleansing program. During the summer, the body is naturally warmer and can better cope with an extremely light diet. If you're interested in feeling more energy, regulating your weight and exploring how the experience of detoxification may improve your health, I would be happy to design a program best suited for your lifestyle and body type.

Dr. Sally LaMont practices in Marin County, California and can be reached at (415) 267-7679

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 About The Author
Sally LaMont NDDr. Sally Blake LaMont is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, and educator who has devoted the last twenty-seven years to practicing and teaching the principles of healthy living. She blends the science of......more
 
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