Here are 10 simple, yet very effective methods for gentle support of the detoxification process. Some can be done right away when the patient enters a rehabilitation facility, while others may need to wait a couple weeks into the process to introduce them. Not all are appropriate for every patient every time, but the process of integrating holistic methods of healing into a recovery program is very easy to do, as well as cost-effective.
The idea is to introduce patients to loving self-care as part of their recovery toward being sober and healthy people. Creating simple habits that work immediately to produce feelings and sensations of comfort, energy and life-affirming vigor are crucial components in sustaining sobriety.
Enlightened self-care can be demonstrated, taught, encouraged and — most of all — modeled at any step in the recovery process.
- Emphasize drinking at least 2 quarts of filtered, purified water a day. There is nothing more effective that assists the body in eliminating toxins and waste.
- Offer a diet high in fiber content, including brown rice, steel cut oats and organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables. These help to eliminate toxins and absorb nutrients.
- Add beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella and seaweed to meal offerings. These excellent detoxifying foods, as well as being good for blood circulation, are high in vitamins, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. They can also be juiced for easier consumption.
- Use dandelion root to cleanse and protect the liver. It can be taken in capsule form or steeped into a tea, and does not interfere with the efficacy of other medications. Dandelion root works by stimulating the flow of bile, decongesting and energizing the function of the liver. It stimulates respiratory function at the cellular level and is a natural vitamin supplement, too. The root contains choline; vitamins A, B, C; iron; silica; magnesium and calcium — all welcome energy providers.
- Consume high doses of vitamin C (1,000 mg or more a day), which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
- Offer deep-breathing instruction and regular group practice sessions. Breathing deeply allows oxygen to circulate more completely through the body. Breath is the source of life. During inhalation, fresh energy is brought into the body, energy centers and pores to nourish the cells, tissues and organs. With exhalation, accumulated stress, stagnant energy and toxins are released.
- Hydrotherapy exploits the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body, where they are instrumental in stimulating the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, invigorating circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow and lessening pain sensitivity.
Simple instructions for effective hydrotherapy: Take a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on the back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Then wrap up in warm clothes, lie down in bed with plenty of warm blankets and stay prone for 30 minutes.
- Use Dead Sea salts mixed into warm baths. Soaking for 20-30 minutes in a warm (not hot) bath allows the minerals in the salts to draw out toxins in the body. When the salts are first mixed with essential oils, such as rosemary (antibacterial), juniper and cypress (blood purifiers) and lavender (calming), further benefits are realized.
- Dry-brush the skin. This removes toxins through the pores. Special brushes with natural bristles are available at natural products stores. This is a very low-tech yet time-tested technique used by people all over the world.
Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. Dry skin brushing also rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. It also helps the skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.
Teach the patient to brush their skin in long, sweeping strokes, starting from the bottom of his feet upward; from the hands toward the shoulders; and on the torso in an upward direction. Always brush toward the heart. Following the dry-brushing session with the hot-and-cold hydrotherapy suggested above provides remarkably good effects.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. The chosen method should be enough to elevate the heart to a safe level and break a sweat. Sweating pushes toxins out of the body, increases blood flow to the liver and helps restore normal functioning to all organs and systems.