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Cleansed by nature
Naturopathy can be one of the best ways to detoxify the system

Naturopathy or Nature Cure evolved as a system of medical science in comparatively recent years. It is rather seen as a way of life rather than a short term solution, much like Ayurveda.

Naturopathy believes that the accumulation of toxins is the root cause of all diseases affecting the body and mind. This toxic accumulation happens mainly due to wrong food. Removing the toxins is the way to health. Removal of toxins is possible through right eating and a healthy abstinence (Fasting Therapy), and through following the laws of nature.

Naturopathy believes in the power of 5 great elements of nature, namely Prithvi (Earth), Ap (Water), Tejas   (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Aakash (ether/space). We believe that the body, as a whole, is comprised of these 5 great elements. The treatment modalities are also based on these elements. The major treatments are Hydrotherapy, Mud therapy, Fasting therapy, Heliotherapy, Massage therapy and Yoga therapy. 

Hippocrates said “Food is thy medicine, medicine is thy food”. This thought is given utmost importance in Naturopathy. In Naturopathy there are no internal medications, and so food rightly serves as medicine.

Our body constantly undergoes biochemical reactions. These are for breaking down the food particles, utilization of gases, etc. During these processes there are a lot of harmful biochemicals, gases and waste products released. The body has an inbuilt mechanism, which tries to eliminate these wastes through urine, sweat, faeces, etc. This is an unending process and a certain amount of toxins are eliminated regularly. But a small amount is still left behind in our body either in the intestines or sinuses or various cells in the body. To add to this, toxins also get accumulated because of the change in lifestyles.

Toxic accumulation happens with low food quality, additives and preservatives used, low fiber in the food, irregular food timings, inadequate water intake, etc. This leads to improper digestion, assimilation and excretion. These form toxic chemicals and gases, which in turn lead to impaired metabolism, affecting the cells, tissues and organs in the body. If this is not taken care of, it could lead to diseases.

The diet of the present day has more refined flour, white sugar, food preservatives and additives. It is deficient in fibre, and micronutrients. Most of the food has saturated fatty acids, which are harmful for the heart. Also the general quality of food is low, due to the use of chemical fertilizers and genetic engineering.

The commonest symptoms experienced are nausea, vomiting, bloatedness, acidity, stomach ache, constipation, lethargy, weight loss or gain, irregular menstruation, dizziness etc.

Through detoxification, the liver and the digestive system functions better. This detoxification is possible through proper diet and some cleansing programmes.

Detox diet:

  • Minimizes the amount of chemicals ingested
  • Suggests food that provide vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that the body needs for detoxification
  • Contains food high in fibre and water that draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowels and urination

Toxins tend to accumulate in each and every cell of our body. Only a part of it is removed on a regular basis. This is because the energy in our body is diverted for various other functions. So it is recommended that every individual reduce the body’s workload periodically in order to divert this energy to the digestive system to enable complete detoxification and to provide rest to the digestive system.

By providing rest to the digestive system:

  • The heart, lungs, large intestines, skin, etc. can work more efficiently.
  • The nutrients supplied through fruits, raw vegetables, etc. help in the repair and growth of new cells and tissues.
  • There is a general sense of well-being.
  • This is reflected on the mind as well, where in one feels calmer and fresh in the mind.
  • One develops positive attitude and healthy thoughts

Fasting or abstinence from food is a treatment modality in naturopathic discipline.

It is explained in the Vedas, “Sarva rogah mala vasaha; langhanam paramoushadham”. This means all the diseases are caused due to the accumulation of toxins and abstaining from food is the ultimate medicine.

Fasting done therapeutically under the guidance of an expert can de-toxify the system, repair the cells and tissues, improve immunity and boost health.

Fasting, if done even occasionally, does help in de-toxification. Through fasting, we restrict the digestive activity and hence the energy is utilized to cleanse different systems in the body and also the mind.

Fasting improves metabolism, sharpens the senses, helps lose weight, improves general immunity, calms the mind, improves concentration and mental clarity etc.

There are different types of fast depending on the duration and the nature of food intake.

A smaller and easier version is the cleansing diet. Cleansing diet practiced periodically also ensure complete detoxification. Diet during cleansing is classified as eliminative, soothing and constructive.

Eliminative: Water, thin juices and light liquids help in eliminating the toxins by reducing the workload on the digestive system to minimum.

Soothing: Following the elimination, one should take fruits or thick juices which soothens the digestive tract.

Constructive: This diet includes raw vegetables, steamed vegetables and fruits. These help in repair and growth of the cells and tissues, this also includes chappatis, rice, kichdi etc, which prepares the body for further regular food intake.

  • The raw food has soluble and insoluble fibre.
  • The soluble fiber forms a gel and prevents the formation of cholesterol plaques.
  • The insoluble fibre has a sweeping action on the walls of the intestines.
  • The micronutrients, Ca+, Na+, Mg etc in the raw food strengthen the heart and the nervous system.

Water forms the main element in the functioning of various organ systems in our body. During cleansing, the utilization of water is increased in the body. One should consume at least 2 liters of water per day apart from the fluids.

In addition to the change in diet, treatments are also planned to ensure detoxification. Hydrotherapy is most efficient in helping the process of detoxification. Water by itself is a cleanser. At different temperatures, it exhibits different therapeutic effects. Water is used in the form of packs, compresses, douches, baths and jets.

  • A simple wet pack on the abdomen will ensure proper digestion which contributes to the process of detoxification.
  • Herbal packs like liver pack, kidney packs and gastro hepatic packs are also done regularly to ensure detoxification.
  • Steam bath and sun bath help the skin pores to open up. Skin is the largest organ in our body and it is a route of exit for toxins.
  • Regular cold hip bath and cold abdomen compress helps hasten the process of detoxification.

Colon hygiene plays a vital role in naturopathic principles. This is ensured through regular enemas and colonic irrigation, when a person is undergoing the program.

Colon is the seat of all toxic accumulations. The result of the wrong eating and habits affects the colon hygiene. The fecal matter gets accumulated, hardened and putrefied leading to the spread of toxins in the entire system, hampering the general health and metabolism.

Colon hydrotherapy is a natural hydrotherapic technique where 45-50 liters of water is passed through the colon over a period of 30-45 minutes, which enables the accumulated matter in the colon to get out of the body, thereby improving the intestinal hygiene. Most of the unhealthy bacteria could also be eliminated through this technique

Mud is cooling, healing and has the property of drawing circulation towards the region of application. Mud is applied either directly or as packs on the abdomen to improve the digestion and enhance the process of detoxification. This calms the digestive fire and removes sluggishness.

Massages help to improve the circulation to the digestive system. This helps the toxins to reach the outlets and enable its exit from the body.

Emotional detoxification is as important or more, than the physical detoxification. The emotional toxins are anger, guilt, jealousy, greed, vengeance, stress etc. Yoga is the answer for controlling these emotions. The various techniques like asanas, pranayama, meditation, kriyas etc, along with the relaxation techniques including savasana and yoga nidra, together help emotional detoxification.

Prayers are an integral part of the naturopathic principles. Prayer, introspection, self analysis and spiritual studies are included in our treatment approach.

The time required for naturopathic detoxification process varies according to individual condition. It could vary anywhere between 10-21 days. However as mentioned above, it is a way of life. Naturopathic living would not demand an intense detoxification program, though a yearly program is recommended to stay utmost healthy.

Some healthy naturopathic tips, to follow in day-to-day life are as follows:

  • —  Wake up at dawn.
  • —  Bathe twice a day.
  • —  Pray twice a day.
  • —  Eat 3 main meals a day.
  • —  Fasting with enema once a week.
  • —  Exercise for 30 minutes daily.
  • —  Sleep for 6-8 hours per day.
  • —  Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
  • —  Put wet pack on the abdomen twice aday.


About the writer:

Dr. Shubha R. graduated in Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS) from SDM college of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences in 1996. Since 2001, she has been the senior naturopathic physician in SOUKYA International Holistic Health Centre, Bangalore.

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