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Earth, Air, Fire and Water: The Alchemy of Cleansing and Detoxification Part One

Every day, our bodies are working hard to stay on top of the process of internal housekeeping. Just as in our lives, we need to stay on top of the never-ending cycle of washing the dishes, doing the laundry and sweeping the floor, our body too goes through daily this routine.

We deal with toxins that have their origins both from within the body and from the environment around us - be it the air we breath, the water we drink and bathe in, the foods we eat, and the products we use on our skin.

The body itself produces waste products through normal metabolic functions that also need to be excreted. Other toxins that are produced within the body itself can originate from the metabolic waste products of the many microbes that live symbiotically within us, or from blocked detoxification pathways where the body may produce intermediate metabolites of detoxification that can be even more toxic than the original substance itself.

These toxins are eliminated on an ongoing basis through the normal routes of elimination - the lungs and the breath, the lymphatics and the skin, the kidneys and the urine, the liver and the bowel. When our body is in a balanced parasympathetic state - our rest, digest and elimination functions work optimally. Most of us however spend our lives in the fight or flight response, even when we sleep. This continually wound up state, interferes with the normal eliminative capacity of our body.

In order for the body's normal capacity of elimination to function properly there are a few prerequisites that need to be fulfilled:

1. Eat a clean nutrient dense diet that is geared to your body's individual biochemistry.

2. Balance your brain and autonomic nervous system function. My top picks here include earthing, breathing exercises, meditation, balancing blood sugars, spending time in nature, getting enough sleep, practicing gratitude, spending time with loved ones, being creative and doing what you love.

3. Drink plenty of water. Purify your water using a trusted method. If your kidneys ache or if you have lowered kidney function, seek out the help of a qualified health practitioner to identify the cause.

4. Get the breath, lymphatics and skin eliminating. Skin brush before your shower. Breathe deep, get active, go for a walk around the block, take the stairs, use a rebounder, run, jump, skip, dance, sweat, do short bursts of activity throughout your day.

5. Make sure your bowels are eliminating at least once per day. For some folks, 3 times per day is ideal. If this is not happening, figure out why. Is it dehydration or inadequate fiber? Do you need to be more physically active? Are you eating foods that you are sensitive to or that make your bowel sluggish? Are you too busy to stop? If these things don't do the trick, get to the root of the problem with the help of a qualified health care practitioner. Toxicity and liver issues are common contributing factors to constipation.

If our body's metabolism works efficiently and we are not overburdened with toxic exposure or a disrupted microbiome we can stay on top of the daily process of elimination through the normal routes of elimination: the lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and bowels. Many of us however, especially those whose health has tanked, who have had more severe toxic exposure, or who have genetic predispositions that make it more challenging to clear out the garbage, can benefit from ongoing detoxification support. See the next article in this series to find out more.

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