Note: This article was originally published on ProHealth.com.
Environmental toxins contribute to symptoms in chronic Lyme disease so many doctors consider toxin removal to be an essential component of healing. Detoxifying the body can be a costly and complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be.
Below I share a few of my favorite toxin-removal strategies, which I like because they are (mostly) inexpensive, give you great bang for the buck, and are highly effective at removing a variety of toxins, including industrial chemicals, plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, pathogens and many others that we come into contact with through our food, water, air and household cleaning and personal care products. So if you can’t afford expensive toxin binders or detox strategies—don’t worry! You can often “spring clean” your body quite effectively by doing some, or most, of the below.
I advocate doing as many of these strategies as possible for a well-rounded toxin-removal protocol that can help you to heal faster from Lyme disease or whatever chronic condition ails you. Your doctor may want you to do different or additional therapies, so please don't take the following recommendations as medical advice, and consult your doctor before beginning any of the below. We all have unique needs, although I have found that the tools that I share below are beneficial for most people.
1) Sauna Therapy- Sauna therapy is the one item on this list that isn’t inexpensive in the short term, since you may have to buy a piece of equipment, or join your local gym, where you can have access to a sauna. Yet over the long haul, sauna therapy is actually less expensive than many other detox methods because it only involves a one-time purchase. I bought my sauna in new condition on craigslist.org for $800. New, two-person far infrared saunas can cost more than twice that, but you can sometimes find used ones on websites such as Ebay, Amazon or craigslist. There are even portable fabric infrared saunas that you can get for less than $200, and while they may not be as effective as other types, they help you to sweat, which is the most important thing. Far infrared saunas mobilize toxins from deep within the tissues, and are excellent for removing chemicals such as phthalates (which come from plastics), heavy metals and other environmental toxins.
2) Liver Cleanse- In people with Lyme disease, liver function is often compromised. Many of us have gallstones in our livers, which makes them even less efficient at detoxifying the body. You can dramatically improve your liver function by removing these stones with a liver cleanse every 3-4 months. There are many cleanses out there, but I personally like those developed by Dr. Steve Hines, ND. To access Dr. Hines’ cleanses, click here. Liver cleanses can make you a bit tired or nauseous, and are contraindicated in a few health conditions, so consult your doctor before doing them. Dr. Hines claims that he's seen many of his clients' symptoms dramatically improve after doing multiple liver cleanses.
3) Coffee enema- Coffee enemas cleanse the liver, gallbladder and colon. They are a great detox option for when you just need a fast, superficial cleanse that isn’t hard on the body. They don't remove as many gallstones as a liver cleanse but they can remove some stones, along with lot of other toxins from your body. Many reputable integrative medical doctors now recommend enemas to their patients. To learn how to do a coffee enema, click here.
4) Ball bouncing/body brushing - Your lymphatic system may be your body’s most underrated system, yet it’s responsible for helping to get toxins from your cells to their final destination in the body, which is the excretory organs, and finally, out of the body. The lymphatic system is like a superhighway of vessels that get easily clogged with stagnant lymph fluid. To keep your lymph flowing and toxins moving onward and outward, I recommend bouncing up and down on a large rubber ball for 10 minutes daily, which stimulates the flow of lymph. You can also buy an inexpensive, long-handled body brush made of stiff natural fibers and brush your skin in long, broad strokes toward the direction of your heart, which also moves stagnant lymph.
5) Exercise- Any type of exercise that gets your body moving will aid it in its detoxification processes, since exercise increases oxygen delivery to the tissues and encourages the movement of toxins through and out of the body. Exercise can be challenging for people with chronic Lyme disease, but even a 20-minute walk or rebounding for 10 minutes daily or every other day can go a long way toward helping the body to remove toxins. If you are a bit stronger, you could try some low-impact exercises such as biking, Pilate’s or swimming. If you can’t exercise, simply practicing deep breathing can also aid in tissue oxygenation and toxin removal. For information on how to deep breathe, I recommend Michael Lam, MDs Adrenal Breathing Exercise CD.
6) Clay Mud Treatments- Bentonite clay, as well as green, red and some other types of clay can bind toxins and carry them out of the body. Clay can be taken orally, or diluted with water to make a paste, which you can then rub on your skin, and allow to dry. The paste pulls toxins out through your skin. Clay is inexpensive and relatively safe compared to some other toxin binders, which is why I recommend it. Clay can be found at most health food stores, as well as online.
7) Juicing- Juicing is a fantastic way to load up your body with nutrients while also eliminating toxins. Certain vegetables and fruits are especially cleansing and nourishing to the detox organs; among these, carrots, beets, cucumbers, lemons, limes, parsley, dandelion greens, and granny apples. When you juice daily or periodically, you can eliminate an abundance of toxins, and help your body to function better than ever. As a final note, use only organic vegetables and fruits, so that you don't re-toxify yourself with pesticides that are found in all non-organic food. Avoid high-glycemic fruits that can spike your blood sugar and feed the Lyme organisms. This includes things like melons, bananas and even pears, peaches and apricots.
By doing detoxification strategies on a regular basis, you’re likely to find yourself feeling better over time; with more energy, less pain, better sleep and mood, and fewer problems overall.