You may have been led to believe that in order to detox your body you need to follow an extreme diet plan—like fasting, removing all fats, or restricting yourself to only fresh-pressed juices for several days in a row. But did you know that it is possible to incorporate smaller and more realistic detox practices into your daily routine at home?
There are plenty of reasons why it is important that you incorporate detoxing into your daily life. While your body has powerful, built-in mechanisms to help it detoxify, you are now exposed to far more toxins than ever before. These toxins come from water, air pollution, plastic, cleaning products, makeup products, and food. This additional load of toxins that your body is dealing with on a consistent basis can affect your energy levels, digestion, skin health, weight, sleep, and more.
Try some of these simple, at-home detox techniques to support your body’s detoxification system.
1. Use a Tongue Scraper
This Ayurvedic tool helps to get rid of bacteria and toxins in the mouth. Getting rid of the toxins on your tongue helps to prevent reabsorption into the body.
- Using a tongue scraper, hold the two handles and press the metal U shape on your tongue.
- Continue the same soft scraping motion on your tongue 5 to 10 times or until you don’t see any more white or yellow coating.
2. Try Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing helps to move circulation through the lymphatic system that lives underneath your skin. Many toxins reside in your lymphatic system, which is why it’s important to help move them out. This is a practice that you can try before you get in the shower.
- Using the dry skin brush, start by making make small circular brush strokes against your skin in an upward direction toward your heart. This ensures you move the lymphatic tissue in the right direction.
- Start with your extremities first and work your way toward the center of the body.
3. Heat Up in an Infrared Sauna
One of the most effective ways that the body releases toxins is through your sweat. Infrared saunas heat the body from the inside to raise your core temperature. This drives toxins and heavy metals out of the largest organ in your body—your skin. Compared to other types of saunas, the infrared technology helps the body to get rid of up to seven times more toxins. Learn more about the different types of saunas that help you detox.
4. Practice Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is another Ayurvedic technique that helps clear toxins through the mouth. You have a lot of different bacteria in your mouth so this ancient technique can help get rid of bacteria and toxins. Note: This is best done on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Put a tablespoon of oil (you can use are coconut oil or sesame oil) in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes.
- Then spit out the oil and rinse out your mouth.
5. Increase Your Water Intake
Water helps to carry out waste and toxins out of the body. When you are hydrated, the water surrounds your cells and moves the toxins through your system. Being hydrated also helps you get rid of toxins through your urine and stool more effectively. It is important to drink filtered water instead of regular tap water to make sure you’re not ingesting any impurities. Ideally, you’ll want to have either a carbon block filter or a reverse osmosis filter installed in your kitchen.
6. Practice Deep-Breathing Exercises
Breathing is one of the more subtle ways that you eliminate toxins from your body. The same way that you can breathe toxins in from the air, you can also breathe them out through your lungs. Practice this simple “square" breathing pattern:
- Inhale for 4 counts
- Pause for 4 counts
- Exhale for 4 counts
- Pause for 4 counts
Repeat this exercise three times or set a timer for one minute. You can also practice simple ‘belly breathing’ by placing your hands on your belly and observing your inhales and exhales as the air fills up your body.
7. Try Self-Massage or Partner Massage
Massaging your muscles stimulates your circulatory and lymphatic system allowing your body to flush toxins out. Consider using coconut oil or avocado oil instead of conventional massage oils. You can practice 10 to 15 minutes of massage on yourself (legs, arms, stomach, etc.) two to three times per week or exchange a massage with your partner.
8. Incorporate More Leafy Green Vegetables into Your Diet
These vegetables have the fiber, water, and nutrient content that is helpful for detoxification. Including greens that have bitter flavors are also helpful to stimulate the detoxification and digestion process. Consider adding a new green in that you may not have tried before. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Mustard greens
9. Reduce Your Toxic Exposure
Detoxification entails a combination of getting rid of toxins in your body and reducing the overall toxic load that you are interacting with on a daily basis. Some ways that you can reduce your toxic exposure are:
- Replacing your conventional cleaning products with non-toxic cleaning products.
- Removing your shoes before you enter the house to avoid dragging in toxins from outside.
- Replacing your plastic Tupperware and water bottles with glass or stainless steel options.
- Installing a water filtration system in your kitchen and in your showers.
It’s easy to see how detoxification can have a big impact on your short-term and long-term health. Eating healthy and exercising are definitely both great places to start; however, they can also be complemented with any of the techniques listed above to help facilitate effective detoxification.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.