It's not Spring, but there's never a bad time for cleansing. Especially in the Fall. With that in mind. Today, let’s talk about Ayurvedic cleanses.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that believes health and wellness depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit is necessary to prevent disease. It also is one of the world's oldest medical systems.
The system is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine which is used to describe medical treatments used instead of traditional, mainstream therapies. More than half of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, reiki, herbal medicine, etc.). According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, about 240,000 American adults specifically use Ayurvedic medicine.
In Ayurveda, the belief is, every person is made of five basic elements found in the universe--space, air, fire, water, and earth--that combine in the human body to form energies that control how our bodies work. These energies--called doshas--are Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). Everyone has a unique mix of these three doshas and your health is linked to the balance of your doshas and the presence of toxins in your body.
In this case, toxins can be physical (found in food, household products, air, water, etc.) or emotional (negative thought patterns, self-criticism, stress, pain, etc.).
While there are plenty of people you can visit to have an Ayurvedic regimen created for your specific issues, there are several ways to also cleanse on your own.
A complete Ayurvedic detox often lasts several weeks, but you can start with as few as three days to determine your body's response. The process and elements--which you will see are forms of basic self-care--remain the same regardless of the length of the detox.
To prepare, you should consider the time you need to get yourself set up for the detox, the time the detox will take place, and how long your transition back will take.
Simplify your diet. Focus on eating only easy-to-digest foods. This allows your body to use energies to mobilize and release toxins as opposed to breaking down your food. Typically, freshly harvested vegetables or brothy soups that are low in calories are the best option. You want to stay away from animal and dairy products, sugar, flour, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and cold, raw, fermented, processed, or fried foods. When you prepare your meals, you also want to include all six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in every meal. This will balance the diet and ensure you're getting the nutrients you need.
Hydrate. It is vitally important you drink lots of water. You should aim to drink at least 64 ounces of pure, fresh water every day. Ginger tea is also recommended as tolerated.
Lubricate. Lubricating your digestive system means introducing healthy oils to your body. This will promote gentle elimination and facilitate the release of fat-soluble toxins and bile salts. Eating healthy fibers is a good way to do this. But some recommend combining 1/4 cup of sesame seeds with 1/4 cup golden raisins and eating one teaspoon of the mixture one hour before each meal or two hours after each meal.
Massage. Each day of detox, you need to set aside time for self-massage using aromatherapy oils. This is to increase circulation, calm the mind and enhance immune function. A partner or professional could help you with this as well. You may also want to consider tongue scraping and oil pulling (with coconut oil).
Sweat. Exercise is vital to a detox program. Increasing your body temperature and sweating help promote the release of toxins. Aim for at least 20 minutes per day of aerobic activity that gets you lightly sweating. If exercise isn't your thing, hot baths, saunas, and steam rooms produce the same results with less work.
Meditate. If you're new to this, start with just a few minutes each day and gradually build up to half an hour. Stillness and mindfulness is the objective.
Banish electronics. While we know it isn't fully reasonable to cut yourself off completely, try to reduce usage as much as possible during the time you're cleansing. Taking a break from overstimulation, blue light, and scrolling can only have rewarding benefits.
You can determine for yourself how long you want your cleanse/detox to last, but when it's time for it to end, gently begin the transition back to normal routines and heavier foods.
If you can't commit to a long-term cleanse, try integrating a few of the above activities and practices into your everyday life. Afterall, Ayurvedic is a way of life, not a quick fix.
A recommended, highly regimented, three day cleanse schedule that could be used, can be found below. Remember meals should consist of freshly harvested vegetables and brothy soups as well as additional water throughout the day.