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Healing Systems > Detoxification

Detoxification is the term used for the process and the symptoms, both physical and mental that may appear when you alter your lifestyle by starting something new, such as a new diet or exercising, or discontinuing a current habit, such as eating chocolate or drinking coffee. These symptoms can include headaches, stomach aches, cough, diarrhoea, skin eruptions or rashes, sinus congestion and fever as well as muscular aches and pains and generally feeling run down and irritable. The symptoms may be of short duration and the irritation slight or may cause considerable discomfort and last longer.

Because these symptoms are the same as show up in certain illnesses, changing your diet or lifestyle can result in misunderstanding: If I am doing something that is supposed to be good for me, why do I have these symptoms? Why do I feel worse instead of better? Understanding this apparent contradiction is perhaps the first and most important hurdle you must understand when making a dietary or lifestyle change.

If you consider this carefully, it is easy to understand. Think of how you may have experienced this on a short term basis. If you do not regularly exercise, and then play some sport, then the next day you may feel bad, tired, sore muscles. This is your body reacting to something that it is not accustomed to. You can see the same thing if you stop a regular activity, if you are a coke drinker or cigarette smoker, and you stop for a while, you may notice that you have less energy and may even get headaches and other symptoms. When you change your diet or lifestyle your body reacts to the change.

Why Does This Happen?

As we live toxins accumulate in the body tissues. (These are waste products and poisons that the body is unable to utilise or eliminate). Some of these are from our diet and others are from the environment around us. Of course your lifestyle and environment is also an influence, if you smoke or use alcohol or if you live in or adjacent to an industrial area then you are likely to be accumulating even more toxins.

When you make a change in diet of lifestyle either through stopping a bad habit, exercising or eating better, the cells of your body begin eliminating toxic substances. To exit the body they are released into the blood stream and are carried through the circulatory system to be expelled from the body.

This process of release, transportation and elimination can produce the symptoms such as head aches diarrhoea, or constipation and often as some toxins are released through the skin, some rashes or eruptions may occur, especially if you are prone to such problems. You may feel a lack of energy, especially if eliminating meats from your diet as the proteins found in meat are more stimulating than those found in vegetables. You may also find that with the absence of toxins in the body that you absorb substances more easily so that the sugars and caffeine taken again may trigger a strong reaction.

A simple way is to say that the body always goes for quality. When the food coming in is of a higher quality than that which made up the present tissue, that the body will replace the old with the new higher quality food, and as the energy of the body is raised then also the body will clean out.

How Severe are the symptoms and how long do they last?
This largely depends on your lifestyle and diet before the change, and how quickly you have made the change. for example if you have a diet have that is heavy in red meats, alcohol, cigarettes and you are exposed to lots of chemical pollutants and then overnight you go on an elimination and live in a pristine or controlled pollution free environment, then you may expect more severe symptoms for a week to ten days. If changes are more gradual then the symptoms will also be less but likely spread over a longer period of time.

The duration of symptoms may not be linear; there is a chance that they will come in cycles. At first you may feel great and then feel some detoxification symptoms. After the initial release or cleanse, you will feel good again and probably better. However as you maintain the change the body goes deeper and finds more toxins to eliminate. The symptoms may reappear again and you will continue to feel better and as this process continues you'll find that the periods of symptoms will be shorter and the periods of well-being greater.

What Can I do during this period? Do realise that you are not sick and that the body is cleaning out. Once you get over this psychological barrier the rest is easy. The most important thing to do is rest when you feel the need. Reduce your worldly responsibilities as much as possible and eat lightly foods that are nutritious and easily digested. Focus on fresh fruits and vegies and drink plenty of water.

Need to flush your system fast? Then talk to your natural health consultant and arrange a managed detox program.

Further reading
Colon cleansing

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