Detoxification is a process designed to eliminate harmful substances from the body, including those contained in certain foods, medications, and a polluted environment. A build-up of harmful toxins in the body can lead to muscle pain, gastrointestinal distress, or other forms of illness. Detoxification focuses on the removal of toxins and impurities from the body to restore health.

Methods of Detoxification

Detoxification encompasses many different practices which me be used alone or in combination. All methods of detoxification should be approved, and monitored by, a physician.

Dietary Alterations

One way to detoxify the body is to make serious changes to the diet, such as:

  • Avoiding all fats
  • Eliminating all sugars
  • Limiting intake to powdered or liquid supplements
  • Keeping to an all-liquid diet

In addition to changing their diet, some people decide to eliminate medications that may be harmful. This, too, should always be monitored by a medical professional.

Colon Cleansing

Sometimes colon cleansing is done by using products to assist in ridding the colon of its content. Some products,are orally ingested such as laxatives, herbal teas, enzymes and magnesium, are orally ingested and are usually available in health food stores or over the Internet.

Colon cleansing may also be done through the rectum with the use of enemas. High colonic cleansings are administered by colonic hygienists or colon hydrotherapists as irrigations through the rectum. They involve the use of several gallons of water and a low-pressure pump to propels that water through the colon while the patient is lying down. Some abdominal massage is also involved in the process.

A colon cleansing session usually take about an hour. In some instances, herbs, enzymes, probiotics, or coffee may be dissolved into the water. The practitioner may vary the temperature and pressure of the water as well.

The theory behind detoxification is that toxins build up in the intestinal tract, clinging to the walls of the colon and causing mucus to accumulate. The belief is that by clearing the intestinal tract of these waste products, the individual becomes healthier and more energetic.

Benefits of Detoxification

Those who support the benefits of detoxification, attribute the following to effective treatment:

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Weight loss
  • Improved mental attitude
  • Reduced risk of colon cancer
  • Improved brain function

While the benefits of detoxification have not been fully investigated or scientifically proven, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that some people feel healthier and more alert after undergoing the process.

Risks of Detoxification

Individuals undergoing one or another type of detoxification may suffer side effects, such as cramps, nausea, vomiting or dizziness. Serious risks are also associated with detoxification, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Difficulty with medication absorption
  • Bowel perforation
  • Infection
  • Depletion of helpful bacteria in the intestine

Because of the risks associated with it, detoxification should be attempted only with medical approval.

Additional Resources