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Detoxification Cleansing Therapy

Detoxification is a broad term that encompasses many different ways of cleansing the body’s internal systems and organs. Major methods include chelation therapy (EDTA therapy), colonic irrigation, nutritional supplementation, several varieties of herbal medicine, dietary therapy, fasting, juicing, probiotics, hydrotherapy, sauna and exercise.

Four main types of toxins are addressed through detoxification: heavy metals, chemical toxins, microbial compounds, and byproducts from protein metabolism. Advocates believe detoxification cleanses the body, clears the skin, enhances the senses, helps weight loss, improves fertility, improves flexibility, increases vitamin and mineral absorption, purifies, reduces blood fat levels, reduces symptoms of toxicity, rejuvenates, rests organs, and slows aging.

Organs that perform detoxification functions for the body include the skin, liver, intestines and kidneys. Many methods of detoxification focus on strengthening or supporting the natural processes of these organs.

For many methods of detoxification, there is little or no evidence from clinical trials to enable recommendations for or against their use. See individual monographs on this site for reviews of the available evidence.


The various modalities of detoxification are thought to support the body’s natural systems of detoxification or augment them. These systems and their related detoxification functions include the skin (perspiration), the liver (filtration of blood, secretion of bile and enzymes), the intestines (mucosal detoxification, excretion of feces), and the kidneys (excretion of urine).

Supplementation is intended to provide vital nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that support and stimulate the body’s own detoxification mechanisms. One of the chief targets of nutritional supplements for detoxification is the liver.

Herbal approaches use "detoxifying herbs" to support the body’s detoxification systems, bind with toxins to aid in their excretion, or aid the breakdown of toxins. Traditions of herbal medicine differ in their beliefs of how herbs aid detoxification. Western approaches use herbs for their biochemical properties, while Eastern approaches think in terms of the energetic qualities of the herbs.

Foods and diet: A cleansing diet is believed to relieve the burden on the body’s detoxification systems by not introducing new toxins to be processed, and by allowing the body’s natural mechanisms to work more efficiently on clearing accumulated toxins. Specific foods such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, tangerines, and caraway and dill seeds are believed to aid the liver in its role of detoxification.

Fasting: In fasting the body utilizes non-essential tissue (e.g., fat, digestive enzymes, muscle fibers, and glycolytic enzymes) for fuel. In naturopathic medicine, fasting is regarded as a rapid method of eliminating wastes and enhancing the healing processes of the body. Fasting is thought to aid the release of fat-soluble toxins from the body.

Hydrotherapy: Hot water is believed to stimulate blood circulation and thereby stimulate filtration through the liver. It also works by excretion of toxins through perspiration.

Probiotics: Probiotics are thought to aid the detoxification functions of the colon by preserving the intestinal lining’s protective barrier and inhibiting harmful bacteria that produce toxins in the colon.

Sauna: Like hydrotherapy, heat is believed to stimulate blood circulation and thereby stimulate filtration through the liver. It also works by excretion through perspiration.

Colonic irrigation: The basis for colonic irrigation (flushing the colon with water, sometimes accompanied by herbs) is the belief that toxins accumulate in the lining of the intestinal tract and penetrate into the bloodstream from there. Colonic irrigation is believed to directly flush these toxins out.

Chelation therapy: Chelation therapy is believed to draw heavy metals out of the cells and tissues for filtration by the liver and kidneys and excretion from the body.

Exercise: Exercise is considered to aid detoxification by virtue of the increased pumping of blood and lymph through the body’s various filtration systems, as well as release of toxins through perspiration.

By Brad Sipes

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Comments (1) Comments
Comment By Sam - Wed, Nov 2nd, 2011 11:45 AM
This article is very informative
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