By Jonathan Glass
Essentials of Cleansing
Never before in recorded history have we been so intensively exposed to such a barrage of toxins, including biological, dietary, chemical, heavy metal, electrical, and radioactive, as well as modern-day emotional, psychological, and spiritual stressors.
With thousands of man-made chemicals in our water and air–far too many of which have never been tested for human safety–and electrical smog in the form of electromagnetic and wireless frequencies clouding the ether, it is no wonder so many types of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and anxiety disorders are exponentially on the rise.
What Is Cleansing?
Cleansing is the art and process of making health-enhancing dietary and lifestyle changes. These changes aid in effectively managing stress, eliminating toxins, improving nutritional intake, and cultivating a deeper connection with our innate wisdom.
Cleansing is a natural opportunity to relieve the body and mind from the burden of toxicity and unhealthy stress. It is truly remarkable how positively the body and mind respond when given an opportunity. After a balanced cleanse, one normally experiences many subtle and not-so-subtle benefits, including:
• reduced aches and pains
• improved digestion
• enhanced energy
• stronger immunity
• calmer and more focused mind
• more pleasure from the taste of whole foods
• clearer skin
• loss of excess weight
• deeper internal connection
• sense of personal empowerment
• improved relationships
• deeper connection to one’s innate wisdom and life purpose
These are just a few of the rewards that come from cleansing and taking our health and our lives into our own hands!
We regularly clean our homes, our automobiles, our skin, and our teeth. How often does it occur to us to purify our internal organs, nervous system, mind, and heart?
In addition to environmental stressors and toxins, the nutritional quality of our food and produce has significantly diminished in the past fifty years. This synergistic effect of stress, toxicity, and nutritional depletion is devastating to our wellbeing.
The good news is that the principle of synergy–the property of combining elements to create an effect greater than the sum of their parts–works just as effectively in a positive direction. When we manage stress more effectively, heal the nervous system, improve our nutritional status, eliminate stored toxins, and reduce exposure to environmental and dietary toxins, we regain and enhance our potential for health, vitality, and mental and spiritual clarity.
Ayurveda and Cleansing
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of holistic medicine, which acknowledges and integrates knowledge of the body, the senses, the mind, and the soul into one meaningful system. It comprises highly sophisticated and advanced herbal, dietary, and lifestyle approaches to healing.
Cleansing and detoxification are fundamental practices of Ayurveda and were considered important even thousands of years ago when our water and air were pure and humankind was not challenged with our present levels of stress. In today’s challenging world, it is even more essential that we use this time-tested wisdom. If we wish to reach our greatest potential, we can no longer embrace the standard American diet (SAD) of refined sugars, bad fats, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, excess animal protein, and hormone and toxin-laden dairy.
Humankind would do well to embrace the tenets of Ayurveda, many of which are essential components of the cleansing techniques introduced here. Ayurveda teaches us that we are responsible for our ultimate well-being.
Our Organs of Detoxification
We have five essential organs of detoxification: lungs, liver, kidneys, large intestine, and skin. Each of these organs assists in the body’s natural process of detoxification.
When we are young, our organs of detoxification generally function with ease. According to Chinese medicine (and my experience concurs) long held or repeated negative emotions also adversely impact the organs they correspond with. Healing and managing mental/emotional stress is essential for good health. As we get older, dehydration, scar tissue, stiffness, stress, and toxins burden our organs. We can experience low-grade symptoms of dis-ease and may become increasingly ill. Eventually, many forget what quality life feels like. Quite often, poor diet and lifestyle end up decreasing one’s duration of life.
Severe or aggressive cleansing is generally not recommended. After many years of personal experimentation, I have found that a gradual and incremental approach, over a number of days, weeks, or even months, produces the greatest benefit. This is aligned with Ayurvedic cleansing principles. Gradual cleansing, however, is very powerful and can also have fast and remarkable results.
It usually doesn’t work to “hurry up and cleanse.” It’s kind of like trying to “hurry up and meditate.”
Removing toxins slowly and steadily is the most effective approach as it also avoids severe detoxification reactions. Detox reactions (such as stuffy noses, headaches, body aches, and digestive issues) arise when our cells release toxins faster than our body can eliminate them. This encourages toxins to relocate from one area of the body to another. This is known as the detox/retox syndrome. In overly aggressive cleansing, benefits gained can sometimes be quickly lost.
Becoming aware of the planetary toxicity problem increases our inclination to implement procedures that safely eliminate toxins from our bodies, minds, and environments. For many, seasonal cleansing becomes an ongoing process and can even become a way of life.