I come from a pretty touchy family. Wait, that didn't come out right. We're the hugging type, and if you ever drop by a family get together, inevitably one of the four massage therapists in our fam will stand behind you after dinner and rub your shoulders for a couple minutes. So I'm no stranger to massage, and used to get massages quite often. Up until 2003, actually.
In October 2003, I was struggling with major anxiety, so I scheduled a massage hoping that it would help. I got on the massage table and just couldn't relax. Ten minutes in, my heart racing uncontrollably, I told the therapist that we would have to change the massage from an hour to thirty minutes. Five minutes later, I was having a full on panic attack, and I cut it short right then. It wasn't anything she did, I just couldn't get control over my anxiety. I was so embarrassed by what happened, I haven't scheduled a massage since.
Until last week. I worked up the nerve to go, and it was wonderful. But after, I started feeling sort of sick. Not sick to my stomach or anything, just kind of run down. As the day wore on, I felt even worse, and for the next two days I walked around feeling like I had been hit by a bus.
I mentioned this to my mom, who is a massage therapist, and she said it might be a detox. Apparently a massage works sort of like a sponge- the toxins are released from fat and tissue in your body into the circulatory system for elimination. The lymphatic system flushes out the toxins, but if it's moving slowly then it may affect how you feel after massage or exercise (it's often why people complain about feeling sick after yoga).
Anyway, it got me thinking about other ways to naturally detox the body, and here's what I came up with. What would you add?
9 Natural Ways to Detox the Body
1. Detox Tea - I love tea so much, and think it's an easy (and enjoyable) way to detox. Matcha is particularly powerful without being too intense on the body. For a little more detoxification, choose one of these detox teas based on your needs.
2. Oil pulling - Ok I haven't worked up the nerve to try this yet, but I have heard great things! Use coconut oil (it should be organic and cold pressed), and put a tablespoon in your mouth first thing in the morning. Swish around for 10 minutes, and spit. If your mouth feels oily, then you needed to go for a longer amount of time. Rinse with salt water and brush your teeth. Benefits of oil pulling include removing bacteria, parasites, and other toxins from the mouth and lymphatic system.
3. Detox baths - I absolutely love detox baths. I use about 2 cups of epsom salt and 10-12 drops of essential oil. The magnesium in the salts is absorbed through the skin, which is beneficial for sleep and total relaxation. For more of a detox, add 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar in as well. It won't smell as great, but it works to balance the pH of the skin and draw out toxins from the body.
4. & 5. Massage - This past summer my cousin made a video on the basics of giving a massage. Check it out, and use a high quality oil like jojoba oil. And don't forget the scalp! You can stimulate hair follicles with a scalp massage, and relieve headaches as well. I like this scalp massager.
6. Probiotics - Probiotics are just healthy bacteria to support gut health. A lot of illness originates in the gut, so populating the intestinal lining with good bacteria is helpful. Detoxing with probiotics is pretty simple as long as you choose a quality product. My doctor recommended VSL 3. It's therapeutic grade and unfortunately the price reflects it. If you're in serious need of a detox then I'd suggest this probiotic, otherwise any old refrigerated probiotic should do just fine.
7. Juicing - Juicing is a great way to aid in detoxification, just make sure you choose the right detox program for you. (My five day juice cleanse experience.) I own this juicer and love that it's easy to clean and easy to use.
8. Jumping - Ok I know this one seems a little out there, but gravity does a lot for our lymphatic system, and jumping is hugely beneficial. This is a foldable mini trampoline that I'd like to try out. Besides, who doesn't have fun on a trampoline?! Plus it burns calories. :)
9. Dry Skin Brushing - I blogged about this a few months ago, and I'm happy to report that I really like the effects this skin brush is having on my body. Besides having smoother skin, I also feel my circulation and overall skin tone have improved. To do it, just brush before showering. Don't brush in circles- rather, one long sweep toward the direction of the heart should do it. Don't press so hard that the skin is red, just a light sweep is all you need. Don't do the face, either.
TIP: I never experienced any physical signs of detox, but I bought my husband one and the first few weeks he used it he felt really dizzy and sort of sick to his stomach. It's different for everyone, but just a heads up that you might want to start it on a day you don't have too much going on in case you feel sick after.
Tell me, what would you add?