Deciphering DETOX: Finding the Right Program
Feb 24, 2017 04:27PM
Exposure to toxins is an inescapable reality of our day-to-day lives and detoxification programs offer substantial benefits to the body and mind. The variety of programs and products on the market can make choosing the right one a challenge. Natural Awakenings connected with five local detox experts to find out what they recommend.
21-Day Guided Cleansing Programs
Brigitte Shotiminrin, owner of WellSpring Holistic & Green Health Center, in Larchmont, describes someone in desperate need of a detox as being, “cranky and sluggish with complaints of arthritis, fluid retention and gut issues.” For the many of us who feel some or all of these symptoms, she recommends a full systemic detox that addresses all vital organs.
“WellSpring offers two guided, personalized 21-day cleansing programs,” she explains. “One features a multifunctional approach of therapeutic treatments and cleansing remedies combined with a diet to purge and uproot those stubborn toxins. The other takes a synergistic approach to cleansing, using acupressure and reiki treatments to cleanse and accelerate the flow of Chi into your energy system and heal naturally.”
The benefits of both of these programs are far-reaching, claims Shotiminrin, helping to protect health and vision, lose weight and slow the process of aging. “Once the toxins leave the body, you will experience a significant health transformation,” she says. “You will gain strength and rejuvenation mentally, physically and emotionally. Some people even find that it turns their personality inside out, bringing out the gold hidden within the heart and highlighting your natural beauty.” Shotiminrin recommends cleansing on a regular basis to keep the body functioning at an optimal level.
Michael Finkelstein, M.D.
Comprehensive Gradual Detox
“Our bodies and minds tend to accumulate stuff,” explains Dr. Michael Finkelstein, medical director of SunRaven: The Home of Slow Medicine, in Bedford. “On the physical level, this is apparent with stiffness and discomfort or when we notice issues with our bowels and energy levels. Toxin build up is also associated with general fatigue, mood issues and low energy states. While the toxins themselves may not cause the condition, they can exacerbate the symptoms. Detoxification can help remove those toxins on the physical level and help us reset on the mental and emotional levels as well.”
Finkelstein recommends a comprehensive approach to detoxification with a technique that includes hydration, juice fasting, sweating, skin brushing and supplements to promote liver detoxification, as well as bowel regimens. He also encourages clients to prepare for the program by switching to a raw food diet several weeks before it begins. Recognizing the difficulty level of this intense detox, Finkelstein says, “It is an arduous process that requires self-discipline and often some interval discomfort. For those who experience resistance to the program, it is best to begin slowly by adding one element at a time or a shorter process and slowly graduating to a more comprehensive and thorough routine.”
For maximum health benefits, Finkelstein suggests doing some form of detox once per year. “Some people, particularly those dealing with a chronic inflammatory process, may benefit from more frequent detox programs,” he adds.
Dr. Michael Wald
Blood Detective/ DTOX
“Our bodies are detoxifying constantly. Every cell, tissue, organ and organ system is built to detoxify,” explains Dr. Michael Wald, of Integrated Nutrition of Mount Kisco. “We live in a toxic world and we have too much stress and toxic thoughts. Therefore, it is not a question as to whether to detoxify, but how to detoxify.”
The host of the Detox Deception radio show, Wald uses an extensive data set from each client to create a customized detox program for their individual needs. He created the DTOX product line and program, which begins with a detailed questionnaire followed by a 60-minute consultation to help determine what each patient’s goals and health issues are. Wald then conducts blood-detective evaluations that include urine, saliva and blood samples to figure out the biochemical and nutritional needs of each client. He then enters this data into his own software program to create a customized detox program. “I give clients my cell number and personal email so that we can make adjustments to their personalized programs on the fly,” adds Wald.
“Detox, in my view, is a daily gradual process when done to help offset and/or avoid various chronic degenerative conditions and to potentially extend quality, and perhaps length, of life,” explains Wald. “When a person is currently toxic, detoxification—if not done right—will lead to inflammation, oxidative stress, degeneration, premature aging and potentially a shorter length or quality of life.” The massive amount of data he collects on each patient helps to ensure that the detox process is done right and is effective.
Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
Panchakarma: Detox the Ayurvedic Way
Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Physician Somesh N. Kaushik specializes in Panchakarma, Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification process. He contends that anyone with a chronic condition, fatigue, fogginess or dragging can benefit from a detox, which helps improve and regain health, vibrancy, productivity and healing.
“Panchakarma combines five therapies used in Ayurveda to loosen deep-seated toxins and move them from tissues to the lymph system to be excreted from the body, either through the skin, urine or feces” Kaushik explains. The five therapies include Abhyanga, a full body oil treatment; Shirodhara, an oil drip on the pineal gland (third eye) to balance hormones; Nasya, a nasal drip oil; Swedana, ozone therapy, and Basti, an oil and herb enema.
Kaushik encourages individuals to seek expert help when detoxing. “It is important to speak with someone who has experience in conducting a detox and who will support you on your journey to health,” he says. “An experienced person may also suggest a diet plan, a lifestyle adjustment, supplements and a gentle approach. A detox that is done too fast or without the correct components may cause ill effects.”
Susan S. Blum, M.D.
Nutrient-Rich Juice Cleanse and Yoga
Founder and Director of the Blum Center for Health, in Rye Brook, Dr. Susan S. Blum supports detoxification programs for everyone, regardless of their lifestyle or health status. “We all have daily exposure to toxins through the environment—pesticides, plastic residues, heavy metals and pollution—and I believe even if you feel well, everyone will benefit from a reboot detox program yearly to help reduce the toxin load in the body. If you have symptoms of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, don’t feel like yourself or have a chronic illness, then you would certainly benefit from a detox program,” she says.
An ideal detoxification program, claims Blum, will support the liver’s detox pathways with food and supplements while using gentle yoga and exercise to promote lymphatic flow. This will help to support the body’s natural ability to clear toxins. She recommends juice programs that use organic juices and provide all the nutrients the liver needs to do its job, including enough protein and fat, along with antioxidants and vitamins. Blum warns against nutritionally defective programs. “Many juice cleanses can leave you feeling worse if they do not provide all of the nutrients you need,” she says.
A nutritionally sound juice cleanse can give the body a serious boost. “Reducing the toxin load in the body will help your immune system work better, reduce inflammation and help you have more energy and think more clearly,” claims Blum. “I believe it is a very important part of a preventative health program since we are all exposed to toxins everyday despite our best efforts to eat and live clean.”
Brigitte Shotiminrin, WellSpring Holistic & Green Health Center, 1415 Boston Post Rd. Ste. 5, Larchmont, 914.341.1246, WellSpringHHC.com.
Susan S Blum, MD, Blum Center for Health, 34 Rye Ridge Plaza, Rye Brook, 914.652.7800, BlumCenterForHealth.com.