Techniques to aid detoxification

Sometimes when we are following a detoxification diet  we can experience uncomfortable side effects such as headaches, tiredness, abdominal pains, skin rashes and the like. Often this is due to the fact that toxins are being released from deep in the body tissues but are unable to escape to the outside fast enough with the result that they continue to circulate in the blood and lymph, causing these unpleasant symptoms.

When this is the case then there are some Naturopathic techniques which can be employed to help remove those toxins from the body.

Here are a few you could try.


An enema is self-administered colon cleansing. Enemas help to create movement in the colon and by doing so help to clear any congestion. In this process, water (or the prescribed liquid) is inserted into the rectum through a colon tube or nozzle. The colon tube or nozzle is connected through a hose to an enema bag or tub which holds the liquid.

The effect of the enema depends on how long the enema fluid is retained and the nature of the fluid. Types of enema include:

Coffee: these stimulate the liver to release toxic bile

Herbal: these have a milder effect than coffee

Garlic: very potent and good when strong cleansing is required, such as with candida, parasites or worms.

Linseed tea: this is hydrating, soothing and anti-inflammatory

Water: cleansing and hydrating and useful to clear the bowel before administering other types of enema.

Enemas are particularly useful and effective when strong detoxification programs are being followed and you might experiencing side effects such as headaches, nausea or abdominal discomfort.


A colonic is a cleansing procedure which is administered by a trained practitioner. It is performed less frequently than an enema, but is more powerful. Robert Gray M.D. estimated one colonic treatment to be the equivalent of thirty enemas.

A colonic is a safe, effective method of cleansing the colon of waste material by gentle, repeated flushing with water. Water is introduced into the bowel which then stimulates the muscles to contract thus encouraging the bowel to empty itself. Colonic Hydrotherapy has the ability to release waste from all areas of the colon.

Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing helps to promote detoxification in several ways:

It stimulates the flow of lymph which in turn helps to drain the toxins from the body.
It stimulates the skins ability to excrete toxins
It helps to increase blood circulation to the underlying organs and tissues of the body
And it is a very powerful way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin.

Dry skin brushing is carried out with a firm, natural bristle brush like that illustrated. The skin is brushed firmly all over with long, smooth, strokes. You cover the entire surface of your skin working from the extremities of the body towards the heart. It’s important to brush in the right direction (always towards the heart) starting with the soles of the feet and working upwards. If you have cellulite and dimpled skin then pay extra attention to the hips and thighs. Do not brush over damaged skin or over varicose veins.

Finish the sequence with clockwise circular strokes over the abdomen. The process should be carried out daily for about 5 minutes, preferably first thing in the morning before you take a shower or a bath. Start off with gentle strokes but gradually increase the pressure after the first few days or weeks as you get used to the sensation.

Hot / Cold Showers

When showering, use the technique of alternating hot and cold water. This really stimulates the skin’s eliminative capacity. It also stimulates blood flow and the circulatory system, as well as stimulating the lymphatic system. See if you can manage 30 seconds of each of hot and cold for up to 7 cycles.

Sauna / Steam

A hot sauna or steam room session really opens the pores of the skin.
By promoting sweating and encouraging circulation  a sauna or steam session assists the body in getting rid of toxic waste products.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt is the common name for Magnesium Sulphate. Sulphates have the ability to help process toxins and help them to leave the body. Magnesium sulphate helps the detoxification process by encouraging sweating, which then draws out toxins at a cellular level. By drawing out toxins in this way the stress is taken off the liver and kidneys.

Several of the symptoms which are a natural by-product of the body’s detoxification process such as headaches, nausea, tiredness or body odour can be helped with Epsom Salt baths.

To use add about 1-2 kilograms of Epsom Salt to a hot bath. When dissolved,  soak yourself for about 20 minutes.

[Note, Epsom salt baths are not suitable for people with high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetics].

Castor Oil packs

External use of castor oil can be highly effective for stimulating the liver, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, reducing inflammation, and improving digestion. Castor oil packs are a traditional naturopathic treatment for a range of conditions. They are made by soaking a piece of wool or flannel in castor oil and then placing the cloth on the skin. The cloth is covered with a sheet of plastic, and then a hot water bottle or other heat source is placed over the plastic to heat the pack. The pack is left in place for up to an hour.

A castor oil pack can be placed on the following body regions:

  • the right side of the abdomen to stimulate the liver
  • the abdomen to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders
  • the lower abdomen in cases of menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian  cysts
  • over inflamed  and swollen joints