So yes it’s been a while since I’ve put up a post. Partly because I’ve spent the last few months in self-care mode and also because I find the subject of detoxifying fascinating and wanted to explore it more before posting. Recently I engaged in a 14 day cleanse with a wonderful health coach, which worked wonders for cleaning up my diet after overindulging during the winter months. You know what I mean – eating because it’s cold, eating because it gets dark early, eating because you don’t get enough outdoor activity – basically eating even if you’re not even hungry, as if it’s your last meal!
This ultimately led me to explore how to incorporate my essential oils into a detoxification plan. First I had to investigate all the sources of toxic exposure and then try to detect toxin accumulation. The first part was relatively easy, but the detection part, i.e. looking for signs and symptoms, took a bit of work. Mainly because there are two primary kinds of reactions to toxins: acute and cumulative. An acute reaction would be when you come in contact with a toxin, like getting a pesticide on your skin, and you’ll likely suffer an immediate effect, like a rash. A cumulative reaction can be a bit trickery to ascertain. For example when you’re exposed to low levels of a toxin over a long period of time, such as eating produce sprayed with pesticides, the side effects will likely take time to develop.
Now you would be correct in assuming that in a healthy body normal toxic exposure would be eliminated. After all your body was designed to expel toxins, right? But what’s normal? If we look at all of the pollutants in our air, our water, our food, our thoughts – basically our entire environment – it is not surprising that no matter how “healthy” you are, our bodies are no longer able to handle the load. Here is just a short list, and I emphasize the word short, of the regular sources of toxins we encounter on a daily basis:
- Non-stick cookware
- Food additives
- Artificial sweeteners
- Genetically modified food
- Off-gassing from carpets, fabrics and furniture
- Pesticide and herbicide residue on our food
- Chemicals in our water (when you’re drinking it and bathing in it)
- Computers and other electronics
- Air pollution
- Cleaning products
- Cosmetic additives
- Dental amalgams
As you can see, this is stuff we are all exposed to ALL THE TIME. So what does toxic overload look like? It looks a lot like those unexplained symptoms many of us develop over time like anemia, hypertension, constipation, infertility, diabetes, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, muscle and joint pain, mood swings, learning problems, insomnia, memory loss, allergies, immune disorders, skin rashes and dermatitis. Okay so that sounds totally overwhelming and exhausting, but here’s what I’ve come to.
Detoxing is a lifestyle – not something we do once in a while. You can definitely make major headway through nutrition and making some of your own body care products and household cleaners. But you can also clear the gunk out of your system with the help of essential oils. Clearly your oils won’t counter the effects of a really bad diet, smoking, and slathering your body with chemicals, but they can be very effective when used in concert with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
There are a number ways to detox with essential oils, but first you need to understand that not all essential oil brands are created equal. You need to ensure that the brand you’re using is made from non-GMO pesticide-free plants and that the oils do not contain any synthetic additives. I’ve chosen Young Living as a brand I can trust. Here are some of the oils I’ve included in my “lifestyle detox” and the way in which I use them:
- Lemon – I put a drop or two in every glass of water I drink (remember no drinking from plastic). Lemon detoxifies the blood and liver, stimulates white blood cells and is effective against viruses.
- Grapefruit – When I’m not using lemon in my water I’m using grapefruit. Grapefruit is a diuretic and speeds up lymphatic circulation which allows detoxification to occur through the skin, urinary tract, liver, gall bladder and lymphatic system.
- Digize – A Young Living blend which consists of Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Fennel, Lemongrass, Anise Seed and Patchouli. I will apply this topically to my belly to aid in digestion and elimination. I also know some people add a drop to their water along with Lemon and/or Peppermint.
- Patchouli – A couple of drops directly on my face and neck which helps to detoxify the skin and strengthen the immune system, not to mention its wonderful stress relieving properties.
- Juniper – A few drops over my bladder and kidneys. Juniper can help in eliminating toxins from fatty tissues, expel uric acid from the system and detoxify through the kidneys and urinary tract.
- Ylang Ylang – I love to diffuse this one. It is extremely relaxing and detoxifies the nervous system.
- Thieves – Also a Young Living blend consisting of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus and Rosemary. A drop or two on the bottom of my feet every single night before bed for immune support. This blend is super high in antioxidants, in part due to the first ingredient, Clove. Clove essential oil is arguably the most potent antioxidant on the planet. If I’m feeling a bit under the weather, I’ll make a tea by putting a drop of Thieves in a cup of hot water along with a teaspoon of raw honey, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and two drops of lemon, which works like a charm for me.
- Peppermint – I’ll put a drop or two on the bottom of my feet along with the Thieves and will often add a drop to my water. Peppermint helps to detoxify through the respiratory and digestive systems.
These are just a few of the essential oils I’m using to enhance my body’s natural detoxification process. And because essential oils work on many levels, as toxins are expelled from the body, we are better equipped to release negative thoughts and emotions as well. To me that’s a win win!