Recognizing the fact that we’re all unique in terms of our body types, stages of life, issues going on with our health, climates we live in and foods we eat daily – it makes sense then to approach detoxing in a way that takes these factors into consideration. Just because one method of detoxing may work for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.
Fasting, for example, is a very quick and effective way to detox but it may actually be quite unhealthy for certain body types. Hence, in my view and from my experience, it’s fairly critical to have an intelligent, individual-focused approach to detoxing, in the same way it is important to recognize individual needs for diet in general and yoga practices for that matter.
I recently completed a 7-day detox at Samahita Retreat where I’m lucky enough to work with all the facilities at my fingertips. I had a choice of 3 main detoxes with further tailoring possible depending on my needs. The Yogi’s, Nature’s and Faster’s detoxes were designed with the 3 Ayurvedic body types in mind: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The Yogi’s detox includes cleansing food like kitchari for more Vata types, those who need more substance to support their yoga practice, those who don’t need to lose weight, or those who have never detoxed before.
The Nature’s detox is typically for Pitta types who may have inflammation issues or excess acidity in the body and so the food is cooling, cleansing salads and juices. The Faster’s Detox is for Kapha types, those who want to deal with excess weight or heat in the body causing allergies and infections, and is suitable for those whose body can handle fasting i.e. they have detoxed before. It consists of liquids only such as juices and broth therefore gives the digestive system a complete break. This is the most intense way to detox. All programs include plenty of supplements, liquids plus therapeutic treatments.
Now of course we’re all a blend of all 3 body-types and so it’s more important to assess what’s out of balance at the time. My reasons for detoxing included heat rashes, potential food intolerances and a yeast imbalance. So having detoxed numerous times before I decided to go for a low sugar version (no fruit juices) of the Faster’s detox. Within a few days my heat rashes had calmed down significantly and afterwards I truly felt like I reset my body to its natural state. I was also able to effectively test intolerances post detox by using an elimination diet and adding foods back in very slowly (see previous piece on this). A few weeks later I still feel fantastic and clean.
There’s so much choice when it comes to detoxing, it’s a minefield, but with proper preparation it can be an excellent tool for rebooting the system and kick starting some new healthy habits, when used intelligently, tailored to individual needs and with the right support in place. The traditional Ayurvedic ‘Panchakarma’ approach always considers the patient’s body type and imbalances which makes complete sense. If you’re thinking of detoxing for the first time do your research, be wary of the new cleanse on the block, and try to go somewhere where the program is tailored, with support in place throughout what can be a very intense process!