When it comes to cleansing and detoxing, we often hear a lot about their health benefits. You know the usual things such as having younger looking skin, feeling better, having more stamina, eliminating toxins, ect…
But we don’t often hear about the side effects or dangers of these things which is what I want to cover here. Now don’t get me wrong, I am actually a fan of both these things and have actually done them throughout the years (and still do), but the truth is that not everyone is healthy enough to do them and if you don’t know whether or you can do one of these procedures, you really risk your health getting worse in the process. So let’s find out if you’re healthy enough to do a detox/cleanse and if you even need one at that!
So one thing we need to do is distinguish the difference between cleanses and detoxes.
While both methods are essentially ways to improve health, they aren’t the same.
Cleansing in general involves you going through a specific fast or drinking particular fluids that clean out the inside of your body, particularly your digestive system. In doing so, you eliminate undigested foods, toxins, help the colon clean out better and you can lose a lot of weight.
My first experience with this was with the master cleanse. I did it twice in my life and lost over 10 pounds in the 3-5 days I was doing it (my story), although the recommended usage was 10. Think of juicing as well as this is a good example of cleansing.
Usually you are aiming to clean out the digestive system when doing this, and the way you do is by drinking certain types of fluids that would be special juices, salt water drinks, or special types of pills like Mag 07 which help the body push out left overs in it’s digestive tract.
Now detoxing is a bit different, it is a form of cleaning out the body from the inside, but through different means such as sweat. Think of going into a sauna or sweating a lot as a means to clean out the system, that is a detox. The idea is that our bodies hold a lot of toxins within the skin and by sweating it out, we can get rid of it, feel better, have less issues such as joint pain, headaches, ect…
For weight loss purposes, cleansing is the better choice to go with (if you have only these 2 choices that is).
Ok, so what about the dangers/side effects? Who can do these things?
My ultimate answer is that it’s individually based, but generally speaking if you take medications, are past a certain age (I’d say 50), and/or you have serious health conditions such as diabetes, do not do cleanses, at least not without the supervision of a doctor.
The idea of cleansing is that you’re putting your body through an extreme shake up for a short period of time in order to help it reset it’s health and if your body is not used to extreme and sudden changes, then you should know that it may cause more harm than good. This is why first time cleansers, even those healthy enough to do it often have serious side effects. Because they’ve never done it, it’s normal for them to feel horrible. The second time I did a cleanse, I pushed it to 5 days pretty easily. The first time though, I was only able to get to 3 days, although it became easier by that time.
I would also say the same thing when it comes to detoxing. You should not do things like enter a sauna if you have heart problems or have never experienced this type of change up to your body. There’s a reason why every sauna for instance has warning labels for people who have heart conditions or are pregnant to NOT go in these things.
Absolutely speak with a doctor if you’re planing on doing some sort of detox and aren’t prepared for it. Do know that you are going in places with extreme temperatures that force your body to feel intense pressure and sweat more and that can cause big problems for the heart if you’re too old.
Do you even need to worry about doing these things in the first place?
I used to be on the bandwagon of cleansing and detoxing in it being a MUST. I would say I still am into it, just in moderation. I’ll enter a sauna maybe once a month and cleanse once a year, but in all honesty, my advice after evolving my position on the subject is that you really don’t need these things.
More often than not, a good dietary change and exercise regiment is more than enough to provide the same benefits, albeit though a longer period. But still, through a good, healthy diet and exercise regiment, you are still pushing your body to be healthier, just in a more stable manner, one in which you can adjust the diet and physical training to meet your body’s goals and not shock it.
The other thing I realized (at least from my time doing these things) is that people look at detoxing and cleansing as a way of cheating on living a healthy lifestyle. What I mean is that people from my experience look at reasons and excuses to live an unhealthy lifestyle (because it’s so easy to do) and think of cleansing/detoxing as the one button reset option they can use whenever they feel like it. If you believe this, you are wrong and are taking your body from one extreme to another over and over, and in the long run, this will have serious side effects.
A balanced approach to this subject makes the necessity of detoxing and cleansing unnecessary and it is the much better option I would seriously consider.
Now when it comes to things like dieting, you may want to look at good balanced ones like the lean belly breakthrough diet. Other than that, seriously stick to doing things the traditional way and you’ll find that your body will not need to go through such extreme issues.
If you’re still considering doing a cleanse…
Know that it can help. Considering you are good to go on trying it (that means healthy enough), I would honestly recommend you do them in a less extreme form. For example, the master cleanse is great, but when done this way, you have better chances of completing it.
If you’re still considering detoxing…
I would recommend gradually putting your body through “ordeals” that detox it. Don’t go into a hot sauna if you can’t stand it, start with less hotter ones and work your way up. If you can’t, stick to the one you’re already in. As long as you’re sweating, the job is being done.