Detox 101 – the Basics

The Body - Detox 101


It’s good to know the basics about things that you’re interested in – whether it’s sewing, kickboxing, fishing, or going on a cleanse or detoxification program. Many people associate detox with drugs and alcohol abuse, but this is not the only type of program out there. You don’t have to be a recovering addict to need or want to go on a detox program. We have four questions we are addressing for anyone interested in the topic of cleansing.

There are so many questions about detoxification and cleansing out there, and the opinions from media and medical doctors vary so greatly that it makes it hard to pin down good, quality answers about the subject. After doing some research on our own, we’ve decided to answer the following four questions for you:

  1. What is the purpose of detoxifying/cleansing the body?
  2. Why is detoxing/cleansing good for you?
  3. What types of cleanses are there, and what is the difference between them?
  4. Which types are good for the body, and why?

After speaking with many people, no one who had tried cleansing thought it was a total waste of time or money. Some people may not do it again – but not because they don’t think it was good for them. Other people continue using their program(s) of choice either throughout the year for maintenance, two to four times a year for a “good cleaning,” or some combination of the prior.

Many of the cleansers we spoke with have used the Vit-Ra-Tox (pronounced vi-tra-tox) Seven Day Cleansing Program, the Colema Board Home Enema Board kit, or some combination thereof. Other programs people mentioned were Bernard Jensen’s cleanse, Andreas Moritz’s gall bladder flush, and Jordan Rubin’s insight on dealing with Crohn’s disease – to name a few.

What is the purpose of detoxifying/cleansing the body?

The purpose of detoxifying – or cleansing – the body in the most basic definition is, well, pretty much just what it sounds like – cleaning (or helping clean) out the body. From what and to what end, though? Well, that answer is actually quite wide spread. Some people cleanse with a specific goal in mind while others do so for the overall effects that are meant to come from detoxing.

What types of effects? Some cleanses have been reported to increase energy, help the person feel better physically, and/or have more mental clarity. Other statements about results from cleansing are relief from chronic fatigue, food intolerance, and chronic ill health.

Cleanses and detox programs are said to have a key focus on helping with the removal of pollutants and toxins (toxins are anything that can potentially harm body tissue) that are inhaled in the air or absorbed via water or food. It is said that they help with washing out pesticides and chemicals the body is not naturally set up to deal with – or at least give the body and organs a break from constantly having to wash out the junk that is put into it.

Unfortunately, however, the concept has been abused by swindlers and con artists who claim miracle cures for innocent, naïve, ailing, and desperate people – thus giving critics ground to claim the whole idea is a hoax. Scams in the industry of natural and homeopathic health have given the industry – just as they do in all industries they intrude upon – a bad name for some people. This is why it is highly important to find a trustworthy program produced by a reputable manufacturer. If they promise miraculous, overnight results just from taking a dosage or two of their pills a day, please stop and remind yourself of the age-old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…”

However, the truth about cleansing and detoxification programs is very down to earth and quite basic. They are simply tools that help the body clean and maintain itself.

Why is detoxing/cleansing good for you?

One of the most important things going on one of these internal cleaning programs does for a body is give the immune system a break. The immune system is on call 24/7 and has to work overtime whenever we ingest foods that contain or carry harmful chemicals, pesticides, and toxins. These are also really great for giving the body essential nutrients without chemical additives, large quantities of sugar or sodium, or preservatives.

Other reasons people find going on a cleanse enhancing is for the results like those we mentioned above: increased energy, feeling better physically, having more mental clarity, relieving chronic fatigue, relieving food intolerance, and relieving chronic ill health.

There are other ways a person can benefit from going on a cleanse too, such as the potential to reduce weight a little bit. Now, a person’s expectations in this regard need to be very modest. Normally a person loses water weight, but occasionally they lose other types of weight that are undesirably stored in the body – like bloating from constipation. If you lose weight on a detox program, expect to gain some of it back once you start eating food like normal again.

Many people who have successfully gone through a cleansing program say they have experienced an increase in their quality of life and an increased ability to enjoy themselves and relax. Many of these same people reported they noticed improvement and increase in their work productivity as well.

Another upside to doing a cleanse or detox program – especially one that is three, five, or seven days long – is that it will give the person a sense of accomplishment once it is finished. If a person can get through it, it will give them the confidence and determination to make other healthy changes in their lifestyle – whether to meet temporary needs or for permanent maintenance.

Again, though, we would like to reiterate the importance of finding a solid, trustworthy program from a longstanding, reputable company. If you have questions, call them up and see if they can give you answers. If a company is difficult to get a hold of, or a manufacturer is not knowledgeable about their own products and how they realistically work for people – that is not a good sign. Don’t be wowed by fancy terminology – ask that the representative explain things to you in terms and words you can understand.

What types of cleanses are there, and what is the difference between them?

There are numerous types of cleanses out there. In fact, there is even interpretation required for what a person means by “type.” A person could be asking how the cleanse works, how it effects the body, or even what is involved in the program. So, where does one start in defining the “types” of cleanses out there? We figured we would do our best to list out the definitions of some of the variations out there and give you some solid, basic information to help determine what the type is when you are researching them yourself.

Types: How the cleanse works

Chemical: the body is triggered into cleansing – often using herbs or enhanced supplements

Mechanical: the body is given the opportunity to clean itself – often using fasting and food-based supplements

Types: How the cleanse effects the body

Colon Cleanse: cleans waste from the colon – may or may not include supplement products, diet changes, colon irrigation equipment (enema bag, enema board, professional colonic visits)

Detox Diet: process of neutralizing or eliminating toxins from the body – most likely will include supplement products, diet changes, and an increase in water intake

Heavy Metals Cleanse: cleanse heavy metals from the body – may or may not include supplement products, diet changes, colon irrigation equipment, and an increase in water intake

Types: What is involved in the program

Fasting Cleanse – Type 1 (none of specific food only): requires that certain foods are abstained from being eaten – supplements may be interjected to help with nutrition levels

Fasting Cleanse – Type 2 (no food only): requires that all foods are abstained from being eaten – supplements may be interjected to help with nutrition levels or juicing of certain directed foods may be used for nutrition

Fasting Cleanse – Type 3 (no beverage or food): requires that some or all foods and certain beverages (maybe all but water) are abstained from being ingested – supplements may be interjected to help with nutrition levels

Non-fasting Cleanse: has no food or beverage abstaining requirements

As you can see, there are a lot of determining factors that go into figuring out what “type” of a cleanse or detox program you are looking at. Be sure to ask these three questions when you are looking into a cleansing program:

  1. How does the cleanse work?
  2. How does the cleanse effect the body?
  3. What is involved in the program?

Which types are good for the body and why?

This is a very difficult question to answer in an extremely generic format. The reason for this? What is good for Joe isn’t always good for Sally. Good cleanses do well for a broad smattering of people, but there are some out there that would be very hard for one person though someone else could do it with little to no trouble. Please bear this in mind as you continue to read as our answer is for the vast majority and so, therefore, may not be properly addressing you if you have any kind of special contemplations or predicaments to take into consideration when looking at detox programs.

Between chemical and mechanical cleanses, we opt for mechanical. Both chemical and mechanical cleanses have been reported to do a great job cleaning people out, but mechanical cleanses are easier on the body. Cleansers often have less pain and/or bloating with mechanical cleanses, though this is not true 100% of the time.

The next thing that should be taken into consideration is what the target goal of the particular cleanse being looked into is. If you are looking into a cleanse that focuses primarily on flushing out the liver, but you need something that will help clear up bloating in your gut or skin acne, it may not be the type of cleanse you need. The best thing about doing your own research, however, is that you can take the time to call your prospective cleanse maker and ask questions about it to try and determine if their type of cleanse is right for you.

Keep in mind that some detox programs have a wide range of results – they have positive effects on multiple parts of your body such as skin, digestive system, and energy levels. Logically, this is perfectly possible since the body is all interrelated. However, let us reiterate to be cautious about manufacturers or programs that claim to have a cure all that can get at anything you have ailing you. Some companies may have a broad enough assortment of supplements and products to help with just about anything you could think of, but there should never be one little pill that can do it all.

The other thing we would strongly advise you to look into is what is involved in the program. This would be information like whether or not fasting is required for the cleansing program. Many detoxes have requirements for food and/or beverage restrictions, so this is not an uncommon feature. However, it is extremely good to know before buying the program and finding out at the time of receiving it that you aren’t ready to do what the product requires. Also, keep in mind any needs you have – like blood sugar level requirements, the need to eat certain foods or at a certain frequency, etc.

As far as whether or not a detox diet program versus a colon cleanse program is better than one or the other, that’s difficult to say. Some people prefer to use one over the other while some people opt to combine them and feel that doing this does a much more thorough job. However, again, you need to look at where you are at and see what your body is capable of doing. After certain surgeries, it is very difficult or impossible to do colon cleansing while after other surgeries it’s a life saving, God send. In the end, no matter how good a detoxification program could be, it still comes down to your own circumstances.

For questions, seek advice from a reputable, trustworthy naturopath or homeopath. Call companies and ask questions. Don’t be wowed by fancy terminology – get them to talk to you in a manner you can understand. In fact, why not ask them similar questions to ones we’ve looked into here? If the representative you speak with knows anything about their products, they should be able to modestly answer these four questions:

  1. What is the purpose of detoxifying/cleansing the body?
  2. Why is this product good for someone to use for cleansing?
  3. What type of cleanse is this and what is involved in completing it?
  4. Why is this detox program good for the body?

Now, just for the sake of review, we would like to remind you that of the people we spoke with, there was no one who had tried cleansing and thought it was a total waste of time or money. You, however, may personally know someone who had a horrible experience with an attempt at doing a detoxification or cleansing program. If this is the case, it is possible that perhaps the program or supplements were not very good – or maybe the person was either not physically or mentally prepared to tackle the feat of doing a cleanse. Either way, we encourage you to do your research thoroughly before you start anything because you should feel comfortable and confident with the choice you make.

Also, again, many of the cleansers we spoke with have used the Vit-Ra-Tox Seven Day Cleansing Program, the Colema Board Home Enema Board kit, or both. Other programs people mentioned either in conjunction with the two above or in addition to them were Bernard Jensen’s cleanse, Andreas Moritz’s gall bladder flush, and Jordan Rubin’s insight on dealing with Crohn’s disease. All three of the latter have books available on the subject of healing and detoxification.

We know it’s a struggle sometimes to find the information you are looking for. The inconsistency of the opinions of media and medical professionals offers no relief to this quandary. Despite these obstacles, we hope you continue to look for what you and your body need for a healthy life. We also hope this article has provided you with information that will prove helpful in that quest.

If you have experience with any particular type of cleansing or detoxification program (good or bad), please feel free to leave your comments below for others to find. After all, there is little that makes a body feel better than helping someone else!

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