13 Gentle Detox Methods to Promote Healing

Detox is so important to healing from Lyme or any chronic illness! Here are 13 gentle detox methods that carry a low risk of side effects.

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Toxicity is a huge problem for chronic Lyme patients (or anyone with a chronic illness). Biotoxins and environmental pollutants contribute cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms and can seriously impede the healing process. There are many ways of ushering these harmful substances out of the body, including chelation therapy, colonics, liver cleanses, IV flushes, and many more. These techniques may be useful and even vital to many Lyme patients, but some of them are pretty invasive and can be harmful if not done with the close oversight of a knowledgable physician. Here are thirteen simple, gentle, and effective ways to detox that you can do yourself with a low risk of side effects.

1. Give yourself a brush down.

The lymphatic system, a complex network of vessels and nodes that move lymph fluid around the body, is an important part of the immune system and is largely responsible for removing toxins from the blood. Unlike blood, lymph doesn’t move unless you move. There are numerous ways to encourage lymphatic drainage, some of which are on this list. Body or dry skin brushing is one such method.

To body brush, you’ll need a dry skin brush with firm, natural bristles. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I like this one by Yerba Prima because it’s inexpensive, has a detachable head (which makes brushing the legs, arms, and front of the torso less awkward), and has firm bristles. I recommend brushing in the morning before you hop in the shower or in the evening before a detox bath. Only brush once per day–any more might irritate your skin. Here is a video that explains how to brush properly:

2. Take a detox bath.

In addition to being super relaxing, baths are a great opportunity to do some gentle detox. Here are a couple of detox bath recipes for you to try:

Magnesium Bath

Many people use epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in detox baths, which is 100% fine, but not as effective as magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride). Lyme patients are usually deficient in magnesium, which, according to Daniel Reid in his book The Tao of Detox, is essential to the production of alkaline enzymes that play a critical role in the body’s detoxification processes. Magnesium is involved in numerous other bodily functions, so supplementing is generally a good idea.

Ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin c, will neutralize the chlorine in your bath water so you don’t inadvertently add to your body’s toxic load while trying to unburden it! I also recommend using a bath ball filter if you don’t have a whole house filtration system. This will reduce lead and other contaminants.

Clay Bath

While magnesium baths work by providing the body with the nutrients it needs to detox naturally, clay baths work by actually drawing toxins out of the body through the skin. When wet, bentonite clay has a strong negative ionic charge which bonds with the positive charge of most toxins. Some have even argued that clay baths are safer and faster than chelation therapy for removing heavy metals.

I like Aztec Secrets bentonite (which I linked to above), but if you plan to take clay baths on a regular basis, it’s much cheaper to buy in bulk. For that, I recommend GreenClays.com, which offers an exceptional blend of calcium bentonite and montmorillonite.

Clay is a more aggressive detoxifier than magnesium, so start slowly with only one cup per bath. I also recommend taking a binder (which we’ll discuss later in this article) to internally mop up any toxins that have been dislodged by the bath. You can also apply some magnesium cream after your bath to further support your body.

Warm (not hot) water is best for magnesium baths because it helps dilate the pores so they can  better absorb the magnesium. Warm or hot water can be used with clay baths depending on your ability to tolerate heat.

3. Bounce on a rebounder.

Rebounding, or bouncing on a mini-trampoline, is a powerful and highly effective way to get your lymph moving. There have been times when I’ve felt a sore throat or cold coming on and rebounding for fifteen minutes has completely cleared it up. It’s a huge boost to the immune system.

I strongly recommend investing in a Needak rebounder. There are lots of rebounder brands out there, but none compare to the quality and safety of Needak in my opinion.

If you’re too weak, dizzy, pain-ridden, etc. to rebound, have someone else rebound while you rest your feet on the edge of the trampoline. The passive movement of your legs will stimulate your lymphatic system. If you’re bedridden, even flexing and contracting your calf muscles can help pump lymph fluid in the leg area. Any movement is good!

4. Schedule a lymphatic massage.

A very relaxing and totally passive way to support detoxification is by going in for a lymphatic massage, also known as lymphatic drainage. Find a massage therapist in your area and find out if they offer lymphatic massage.

5. Sweat it out in an infrared sauna.

Infrared technology heats the body while keeping the surrounding air temperature comparatively low (as opposed to a traditional sauna). This is great for Lyme patients who often have trouble tolerating heat.

Sweating for 30-45 minutes a sauna will release trace amounts of toxins, but more importantly, it will warm up your lymph, which will enable it to flow better. Lyme patients often have low core body temperatures that contribute to overall stagnation and the proliferation of Borrelia burgdorferi. Temporarily raising your body temperature, as if you had a fever, may actually kill off some of the microbial nasties squirming around in your tissues. According to Robby Besner, who spoke on Lyme and infrared technology during the Chronic Lyme Disease Summit, Borrelia begins to die off when the body reaches 102ºF. Furthermore, sauna therapy helps increase circulation and oxygenate the tissues.

6. Juice some veggies.

Fresh raw vegetable and fruit juices can help support the liver and flush toxins out of your system. According to The Everything Juicing Book, green leafy vegetables help flush out environmental toxins, lemons help convert fat-soluble toxins into excretable water-soluble toxins, watercress acts as a diuretic, garlic activates liver enzymes, and beets cleanse and nourish the liver. Go easy on the beets though; they’re high in sugar.

7. Supplement with natural binders.

Negatively charged binders attach to positively charged toxins and usher them out of the body. Bentonite clay, mentioned above, is a binder, as is activated charcoal, chlorella, and apple pectin. All of these can be taken internally to bind toxins in the intestinal tract. Make sure to drink plenty of water, especially with clay, to avoid bowel obstruction, and don’t overdo it with the dosage. More is not always better.

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8. Take a few deep breaths.

Most people in the Western world have forgotten how to breath properly. Deep, cleansing breaths increase oxygenation, which helps the cells detox more efficiently. The movement produced by deep breathing also helps lymph flow. Here is an easy yogic breathing exercise you can do in just a couple of minutes.

9. Do a brief, gentle fast.

Most detox fasts advertised in the natural health community are too intense for weak, physiologically unbalanced Lyme patients. Instead, try an alternative fast, like going vegan for a few days. If you’re stronger, you might want to attempt a 12-hour juice or bone broth fast. The point is to give your body a break from digesting heavy foods so that it can focus on cleansing and healing. Just make sure to watch your blood sugar and talk to your LLMD before  attempting any kind of liquid fast.

10. Enhance your H20.

Supercharge your water by adding lemon or ACV to it. Both are alkalizing and support the body’s detoxification organs. Make sure to drink lots of water. If you have adrenal burnout, add a little pink salt to your water to avoid mineral depletion and potassium/sodium imbalance.

11. Double up on probiotics.

You know friendly bacteria help prevent infections like candida, H. pylori, and C. difficile, boost the immune system, improve digestion, and are generally really good for you, but what you may not know is that probiotics can actually break down some of the nastiest environmental toxins of the modern world. Here is an excellent guide to probiotic strains and their specific detoxification abilities.

You can increase your probiotic intake by supplementing and by adding more probiotic foods and beverages to your diet.

12. Break out the essential oils.

Applying essential oils to key areas of the body can help support the detoxification process. Try Young Living’s JuvaFlex and Juva Cleanse blends or Wellscent’s Rejuvenate blend for kidney and liver support. The Essential Oils Desk Reference recommends a blend of 2 drops Roman chamomile and 2 drops German chamomile for gallbladder support.

You can apply oils with a warm compress over the organ you want to support or you can apply them to the corresponding reflexology points on the soles of your feet.

13. Take some detox herbs.

Herbal tinctures and teas can offer great support to the detoxification organs and are an absolute must-have when herxing. Milk thistle and dandelion root are particularly good for the liver, and chanca piedra, uva-ursi, and horse tail are good for the kidneys.

Mountain Rose Herbs has some wonderful blends that can help you with detox. Liver Care Extract, Cleanse Care Extract, and Skin Care Extract are all good options. You can also buy single herb tinctures and make your own blend. Persephone’s Tea is a great liver-supporting blend.

Done individually and infrequently, these gentle detox methods probably won’t yield dramatic results, but combined and performed on a regular basis, they can have a big impact in the long run.

Which detoxification methods work best for you?

Kate Scott

Kate Scott is a native New Englander currently navigating life in the South, a [some would say radical] environmentalist, and a firm believer in the power and wisdom of alternative and holistic medicine. When she’s not writing or researching new treatments, Kate can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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