In August of 1979, I was at the end of my rope. I was 38 years old, but I felt helpless and hopeless. More than three years of rapidly declining health had left me nearly disabled by pain, fatigue, and depression; all of which were caused by a disease syndrome that no doctor could properly diagnose. The best that they could offer me was the management of my multiple symptoms with a host of prescription drugs. I had been on over 30 different medications in a year's time, each of which helped with its assigned symptom, but the side effects were becoming an illness unto themselves.
I was over-medicated, and hooked on sugar, caffeine, and fast food.
However, as it often does, a ray of light shone down into that darkness, although I didn't immediately recognize it as the blessing it was. I had the opportunity to meet a friend of a friend who had been experiencing some of the same health issues, and had found relief through the treatments of a Naturopathic Doctor in California. My immediate reaction to this news was a heavy dose of skepticism. I had been raised by my mother, a Registered Nurse, to believe that the answer to any health problems was contained in the vials of Penicillin in her refrigerator. Any "natural" or "folk" remedy was nothing more than snake oil and quackery, in her opinion.
But I had hit rock bottom. As the Buddhist Proverb states: "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear", and I was ready to try something new. I went to meet this Naturopath, and in the course of our discussion, my eyes were opened to processes that were going on all around me and within me that I never knew existed. He talked about toxins which permeated our daily lives, and how harmful they could be to our health. He told me of a natural body process called detoxification which worked to rid our bodies of these toxins before they could do us harm. He explained to me that these two concepts – toxins and detoxification – would determine whether I remained ill or became well.
Needless to say, I was intrigued. I began to focus all of my energies on educating myself about how the body really works, how to avoid harmful toxins, and how to embrace a cleansing lifestyle that would allow the body to rejuvenate and get well. My studies opened the doors to my own well-being, and eventually to a new life's mission. I wanted to share the gift of my newfound health with everyone, and I went back to school to become a Naturopathic Doctor myself so that I would be able to share that gift.
The Holistic belief is that 95 percent of all degenerative disease is caused by a toxic body. These toxins are all around us. Some are created within our bodies as by-products of respiration, exercise, and metabolism. Far more are introduced to us through the polluted air that we breathe, the treated water that we drink, the processed food that we eat, and the industrial products that fill our environment. In modern day life, it is impossible to avoid these toxins. If we cannot avoid them, we must have a process to remove them from our bodies, or we will suffer from the illnesses that they cause.
All of the organs and systems of the body are negatively impacted by toxins, but I'll focus on two topics closely related to aesthetics: toxic effects on the skin, and toxic contribution to cellulite.
Detoxification and the Skin
Your skin is the largest organ of the body and it is considered one of the major detoxifying methods to keep the body clean and healthy. On an average person, the skin covers about 22 square feet and weighs about nine pounds. (Usually about seven percent of body weight.) The skin acts as a semi-permeable membrane and a front line defense against toxic external substances, as well as an important organ of detoxification and elimination. Approximately 10 percent of body elimination occurs through the skin. The saying, "Beautiful skin begins within," explains the connection to leading a toxic lifestyle and being unhealthy to the direct connection of many skin disorders.
Signs of a toxic body reflected in the skin:
- Grey, dull, sallow skin
- Age spots
- Acne; uneven skin texture and coloration
- Loss of collagen and elastin (wrinkles and sagging skin)
- Dark circles under the eyes; puffy eyes
- Psoriasis; eczema; dermatitis
- Rashes; allergic skin responses
As you go through an internal detoxification program, many times there is a healing crisis where the skin is in accelerated detoxifying. Your symptoms may get more pronounced during this process. As the body clears, the skin also clears. To maintain beautiful skin, all skin types and all skin conditions respond to these simple steps:
- Regular internal detoxification – do this a minimum of four times a year, with the change of seasons. More often until your health and skin is maintained.
- Proper hydration – Drinking half your body weight in ounces each day of pure water.
- Essential supplementation – 100 percent vitamin and mineral, absorbable calcium, anti-oxidant supplementation, and omega 3-6-9 supplementation.
- Daily exercise
- Stress maintenance
Detoxification and Cellulite
All of the muscles of the body are wrapped in a padding of fatty connective tissue. Constantly circulating through this connective tissue are the bodies cleansing systems, blood, lymphatic fluid, and water. These systems are the cleansing systems that keep the tissues healthy. These tissues change when the cleansing systems slow down and are toxic. As a result, the connective tissue thickens, hardens, and forms uneven pockets.
Cellulite is a collection of toxic waste materials caused by a toxic body. The only permanent way to reverse the cellulite cycle is to reverse the cellulite building cycle. This can be done through detoxification, increasing circulation (freeing trapped toxins), and increasing the lymphatic flow (removing the toxins through the body's normal elimination process).
If you are toxic, if you have been constipated regularly, if you don't drink enough water, if you don't exercise, if you eat improperly – you will always have cellulite.
How to Detoxify Your Body
The body has a natural inclination to detoxify itself. In particular, the liver and the kidneys constantly filter the blood to remove harmful substances and waste materials, and the eliminatory systems of the body do their best to excrete these harmful substances. However, due to the immense volume of toxins that we absorb in our modern lives, typically these natural processes are overwhelmed. Toxins begin to saturate the cells of the tissues of the muscles and organs. Fat soluble toxins permeate our fat cells, and our body responds by surrounding these cells with water in an attempt to prevent the toxins from damaging other tissues. The water retention causes increased weight and inches around our midsections.
Even the waste removal process of our colons is compromised. Heavy, tough-to-digest foods slow the processes of nutrient absorption and elimination. The natural rhythmic peristaltic action of our colons is slowed, and waste materials build-up and putrefy within our intestines. Nutrients and water then have to filter through the buildup to be absorbed by our bodies. Along the way, they pick up additional toxins and bacteria that they carry into the bloodstream.
Our bodies need help to break this toxic build-up! Luckily, there are a number of healthy choices you can make to help your body:
Make sure to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.
Eating fresh, raw fruits and vegetables will provide fiber to help absorb toxins and carry them out of the body.
Daily exercise stimulates the circulation of the lymphatic fluid.
Exfoliation of the skin aids in skin elimination.
Incorporation of a holistic detoxifying aid accelerates and improves the body's natural processes.
It has been said that almost all of degenerative disease and chronic disease is caused by the build-up of toxins in the body. Learning to detoxify and lead a cleansing lifestyle can save your life.
Dr. Linda Nelson, PhD, ND has been educating using the benefits of detoxification and living a healthy lifestyle for 27 years. She has a PhD in Preventive Health practices and is a Naturopath. Nelson is President and CEO of The M'Lis Company. She is also the author of Living Symptom Free - Fibromyalgia and Candida, and Losing Mom, Preventive lifestyles for Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Wallace Nelson PhD has a doctorate in Preventive Health practices. Wallace is Executive Vice President of the M'Lis Company and is the author of a forthcoming book on detoxification. He has been teaching detoxification therapies for 14 years.