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Detox, Cleansing & Fasting Benefits

The benefits of fasting and detoxifying...

Without a doubt, the single most effective and efficient tool for improving your overall health and wellbeing is a thorough and comprehensive fast or detoxification program. In the practice of natural medicine, the importance of fasting and detoxifying is well established.

On a cleansing & detoxifying program, the body's tissues will start to release stored toxins for excretion through the detoxification processes of the liver & kidneys. These organs need to function efficiently in order to prevent degenerative diseases.

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Fasting helps the body eliminate stored toxins...

The gut and liver are the body's primary defence barriers for protection from reactive toxins and infectious organisms. If these organs are not functioning efficiently, this will increase the amount of toxicity in the body, which will affect the immune and nervous systems, producing inflammatory reactions and neurological dysfunction.

On a cleansing and detoxifying program, the body's tissues and cells will start to release stored toxins, for excretion through the normal detoxification processes of the liver and kidneys. Ideally we want these body organs to be fully functional in their protective and eliminative processes and able to maintain our ongoing health and wellbeing - preventing the development of chronic degenerative diseases.

Fasting, toxins and 'toxicity'...

Toxicity generally relates to the accumulation of exogenous (originating outside) and endogenous toxins (developing or originating from within the body or arising from causes within the body), inhibiting certain functions (digestion, liver function, energy cycles) and causing a poor uptake of nutrients.

Ultimately, natural medicine agrees that the digestive process is the seat of health and disease today. A large proportion of people have inefficient digestive systems. This is a problem because when the food is not broken down properly, the imperfectly metabolised food substances can start to ferment and putrefy in the gut, contributing to toxic accumulations, which may be reabsorbed and distributed throughout the body in a process of 'autointoxication'.

Causes of digestive impairment...

The causes of digestive problems include:

  • Overeating
  • Eating before your previous meal has been completely digested
  • Drinking iced cold drinks
  • Overuse of alcohol
  • Eating spicy and pungent hot food
  • Eating a heavy meal at night
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating when stressed or emotionally upset Presence of parasites and infections
  • Low levels of beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus and bifidobacteria)
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Nutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, vitamin A)
  • Medications (antibiotics and NSAID's) Insufficient protein in diet due to trauma Surgery
  • Excessive exercise
  • Illness
  • Prolonged fasting

The basis of fasting...

Fasting is when no food is taken into the body, only water. This initiates a healing process. When only juice is taken into the body, this has a cleansing effect. This is not referred to as a fast, but a cleansing regime.

The water fast...

If you are going to do a water fast, it is recommended to take half a glass of water into the body every 1 1/2 hours. You can have more if you want, but NO LESS. If it is a hot day and you perspire, you should take more. It is important not to take big gulps and that the water is warm, not cold. Blood temperature is good.

Preparing to fast...

We would recommend that you start with a one-day-a-week cleansing regime and continue this until you feel you are ready to fast.

The cleansing regime involves once a week, for 12 hours, putting nothing in the body but juice. But you MUST have total REST.

Your body is not receiving any calories, therefore you are relying on a small amount of glycogen in your liver and muscles plus muscle tissue, which will be broken down to amino acids. If you find that your bowels do not move the following day, you should consider using an enema. A 1-day-a-week cleanse is a good way to work up to doing a full fast.

Fasting achieves quick detoxifying results...

Fasting seems to be the one way of getting quick results in terms of detoxifying the bowel. We do not have enough doctors who recognise that the body has its own recuperative power and if given an absolute chance, can normalise, regenerate and work at curing itself on its own accord. The body is always working for good. It is always working to rejuvenate itself and to be as perfect as it is possible to be.

Fasting is neither fad nor starvation...

Fasting is not fad; fasting is not starvation. While it cannot be called a cure-all, it comes closer to rejuvenating the body, than anything else. There has been considerable criticism of this type of treatment, but Bernard Jensen DC believes that more correction is accomplished through fasting than by any other therapeutic method.

Long term results of fasting are dependent on living habits...

Many people ask if fasting has lasting results. It depends on whether the patient goes back to their old living habits or whether they make some basic changes to correct an inappropriate diet. Many people turn to fasting only as a last resort, when they are suffering with chronic disease, such as arthritis deformities and certain cancers etc. In these cases, the results of fasting are very poor, as far as correction is involved. However, there should be definite signs of the body's effort to normalise itself, under a fast.

Fasting allows the body to rest...

Fasting is one process where the body is placed in a state of complete rest. Fasting allows the body to rest from food. You drink, but you take nothing but water into the system.

During a fast there is no work for the digestive juices and so the glands that make these juices can have a complete rest. When this happens, a complete chemical readjustment takes place. While the tissues seem to drop off in weight, we find that the body never eliminates anything that it can use.

In Iridology, we find many dark areas can develop in the iris of persons suffering from chronic disease conditions, indicating that these conditions have been developing over a period of years. During a fast, these dark areas disappear, as white healing lines gradually fill in the dark areas and we find these white lines appear much faster under a fast than under any other type of treatment or therapy.

General considerations when fasting...

1. You must not work during a fast. The whole idea of a fast is to heal or cleanse your body, depending on the type you pick to do. You must REST during the WHOLE thing. This is very important.

2. You will need to ensure your fluid intake is at a maximum. Low fluid levels during a detoxification program is one of the main reasons for problems. Consume NO LESS THAN 2.5 LITRES OF FLUID A DAY.

3. You will need to buy an enema and give yourself one every day. If you don't, you will find that your condition becomes worse and you may become sicker than you were before you started the fast. This is because during the fast, your body is eliminating toxins but your bowels will not work very well, if at all, during a fast. If you do not eliminate this waste matter by using an enema, you will reabsorb this.

4. How you finish a fast is just as important as how you start one and the things that you have during it. Some people have killed themselves by doing a fast, coming off and having what they would for dinner normally.

5. There are all different types of fasts and you should choose the one that sounds right for what you want to accomplish. Water fasts are healing, as there is no food going into the body, so it has a chance to heal itself, instead of having to handle food and digest it and all that. Fruit and vegetable juice fasts are cleansing. There are certain types of juices that are better for certain types of cleansing.

Overview of a detoxification program...

Where fasting promotes rapid bowel detoxification, a general detoxification program will work on the bowel, liver and also at a cellular level.

The main objectives of a detoxification program are to remove the pro-inflammatory effects produced from things, such as an unfriendly intestinal flora, poor digestion and allergic exposure - repairing any potential damage to the gut.

We do this by removing any potential 'bugs' in the digestive system and by re-populating the gut and bowel with beneficial bacteria. At the same time, certain herbs can be taken to help with membrane cleansing and if necessary, to correct acid and enzyme production in the stomach.

Dietary modifications are necessary, as exposure to any reactive foods and chemicals may induce mucosal stress, liver and digestive problems. This can be achieved by selecting an appropriate dietary program. At Ideal Health we can tailor make one specifically for you.

When the bowel is cleansed, the liver will directly benefit, as the blood circulates through the liver for the chemical modification of toxins. The overall removal of impurities is achieved by chelating toxins and changing their structure to render them more water soluble, ready for excretion via the kidneys and bile.

Various nutrients, herbs and foods of the cruciferous vegetable family can moderate the two phases of detoxification through the liver and should be consumed while on a detoxification program.

At Ideal Health we stock many products that can be used on a detoxification program. Contact us today to find out more.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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