Sunday, July 22, 2012

Detoxification Baths

Detoxification Baths

Most people who do not have access to a sauna have a bathtub and can take detoxification baths - sometimes called the "poor man's sauna." Baths are especially useful for people with a toxic bioaccumulation of xenobiotics. The hot water increases blood flow and capillary action near the surface of the skin, causing faster release of toxins. The heat also increases sweating and opens pores, allowing toxin-containing perspiration to be excreted more readily. Although using filtered water or safe well water is preferable for these baths, city water, even if it contains chlorine, is still effective and helpful.
Approach these baths with caution and common sense. It is preferable to have a healthcare professional supervise your detoxification program. If your chemical load is high, baths can make you feel very ill. Have someone in the house with you when you take your detoxification bath in case you develop symptoms and require assistance. Should you experience dizziness, headache, exhaustion, fatigue, nausea, or weakness, stop your bath.
Clean your bathtub with tolerated cleaning products. It should be spotlessly clean for a detoxification bath; you are trying to rid your body of toxins, not absorb more.
Follow these general instructions for both the plain-water baths and the detox baths:
  • Wash your body thoroughly with tolerated soap in the shower before you take your bath and scrub with a loofa sponge, sisal mitt, skin brush, or rough washcloth to remove excess body oils, dead skin, and any accumulated toxins. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Fill the tub with water as hot as you can tolerate without burning your skin. Cover the tub's overflow valve so the water level will be high enough to immerse your body up to your neck.
  • Begin with a 5-minute soak in hot water. Do not exceed 5 minutes for your first bath. Gradually increase the time by 5-minute increments until you can soak for 30 minutes without experiencing symptoms. You may feel deceptively well while soaking, but it is extremely important that you do not overstay your time limit. Symptoms sometimes do not occur until the next day.
  • Gently massage your muscles with a skin brush while soaking to increase circulation to the skin.
  • After soaking, take a cleansing shower. Scrub thoroughly with tolerated soap and rinse well in order to remove any toxins deposited on your skin during the bath. Be sure to also wash your hair. Your body will reabsorb any unremoved toxins. If you continue to perspire, or begin perspiring again, repeat the shower.
  • Take your tolerated dose of vitamin C before and after each bath. This will help your body remove the toxins released into your blood-stream. If you are taking antioxidant nutritional supplements, take them before your bath.
  • Drink an 8-ounce glass of water before, during, and after your bath.
Take detox baths three times a week until your general health has improved. Then, use the baths once or twice a week to prevent the accumulation of toxins. If you have unusual chemical exposures, increase the frequency and duration of your baths. This should be done only under the supervision of a health-care professional.

Types of detoxification baths

When you can take a plain hot-water bath for 30 minutes with no symptoms, you may begin detoxification baths. Various substances may be added to the bath to aid in detoxification. Follow the general bath instructions above, adding one of the substances listed below to the bath water. Except for Epsom salts, you may need to rotate the other substances, as their effectiveness may subside quickly if some time is not allowed between their use.
Epsom salts
Epsom salts help eliminate toxins by activating fluid movement in the tissues and increasing perspiration. The salts work as a counter-irritant on the skin to increase blood supply, and also change the pH of the skin surface. In addition, the sulfur component of Epsom salts aids in detoxifying. Sulfur springs have always been recognized for their medicinal and cleansing properties.
Begin with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts. Gradually increase the amount with each bath until you are using 4 cups per tub. Should you experience symptoms at any level, stay at that level until you can soak for 30 minutes with no symptoms.
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar also works as a counter-irritant, increasing blood supply to the skin and changing the skin's pH. Begin with 1/4 cup of apple cider. Gradually increase the amount to 1 cup per tub. Be certain you use only apple cider vinegar, as white vinegar is a chemical product.
Hydrogen peroxide
Use up to 8 ounces of food-grade 35% hydrogen peroxide in a bathtub half-full of warm water. (Hot water causes the hydrogen peroxide to deteriorate too rapidly.) Be aware that this bath taken at bedtime may cause you difficulty getting to sleep. The increase of oxygen at cellular levels can increase the sense of alertness.
Baking soda
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, creates an alkalinizing bath to restore acid/alkaline balance through osmosis. Use 8 ounces of baking soda to a full bath. These baths are particularly good for cleansing and drying weeping, open sores, and relieving skin irritation and itching.
Soda and sea salt
Soda baths with sea salt are effective for detoxifying X-ray and radiation exposure. Use equal amounts of baking soda and non-iodized sea salt, building up to 1 pound of each.
Clay is most frequently used in compresses or packs. However, the drawing and alkalizing action of clay baths is also helpful in detoxification baths. Use 1/2 cup of clay to a full bath. Several types of clay are available from health food stores, all appropriate for bathing.
Ginger root
Ginger's heating property causes sweating and improves circulation. Ginger also stimulates and draws toxins to the skin surface. Cut a thumb-size piece of ginger root into small pieces, place in a pot of water on the stove, and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and pour the liquid into a full bath.
Burdock root
Burdock root baths help the body to excrete uric acid. They also aid in cleansing boils and clearing rashes. Simmer a level handful of burdock root in 2 quarts of water for 30 minutes. Strain and pour the liquid into a full bath. Herbal shops and health food stores carry burdock.
Oat straw
Oat straw baths improve skin metabolism, which helps the body to detoxify more quickly. Simmer a heaping handful of oat straw in 2 quarts of water for 25 minutes. Strain and pour the liquid into a full bath. Oat straw is available at health food stores and herbal shops.
Herbal tea
A number of herbal teas may be used in detoxification baths to aid in eliminating chemicals: catnip, yarrow, peppermint, boneset, blessed thistle, pleurisy root, chamomile, blue vervain, and horsetail. Most of these teas are diaphoretic and promote sweating. Use 1 cup of brewed tea per tub of hot, clean water. Use only one of these teas per bath. Sensitive individuals may not tolerate the use of some of these herbs.

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