Many people think that a body cleanse and a detox program are the same thing, but this is not the case. Let’s look at what each entails.
A Body Cleanse
The origin of the word “cleanse” is clean, so the goal of a cleanse is to clean your body in a particular way. Some people will use pills or supplements to eliminate unhealthy substances directly. Cleanses normally focus on the digestive tract, such as the stomach, small intestine, and colon. The idea is to clean out any accumulated waste so these parts of the body will operate more efficiently and without hindrance from the waste.
The stomach is where our food starts to get broken down, through the churning of the stomach and via the stomach acids. People with stomach trouble will often feel they are suffering from poor digestion, and want to ensure that all their food is being broken down properly so it can be used fully once it goes to the next stage of digestion – the small intestine.
The small intestine is responsible for most of our digestion. The broken-down food from the stomach sits in the small intestine, and the nutrients and liquid from it are absorbed and then distributed to all parts of the body that need them. However, some people believe in leaky gut syndrome, in which the small intestine leaks the food we digest into the body, causing inflammation and even autoimmune disorders. Cleansing the small intestine could strengthen it and stop leaks.
The large intestine removes the last of the nutrients and water and turns the remainder of the food you have eaten into solid waste which is removed from the body as feces during a bowel movement. However, some people suffer from constipation, while others have diarrhea. These are signs something is malfunctioning in the colon. In this case, people would do a colon cleanse. This might involve taking fiber or laxatives, or various forms of enema to flush waste out of the colon and rectum via the anus.
Cleansing can be gentle, or extreme. Some people will go to a spa for these services, while others will try them at home. They feel it is worth the time and money because they feel cleaner inside, and healthier outside.
A Detox Program
Detox programs try to support your body’s natural toxin-eliminating processes in a number of ways. We eliminate toxins through our skin, liver, kidneys and digestive tract. The body’s main detoxing centers are the liver and the kidneys. They serve as filters to help eliminate toxins in the body, but if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you could be putting them under a lot of strain.
A good detox program focuses on supporting your liver and kidneys by giving them the nutrients and supplements they need to function optimally.
Typical toxins that affect the delicate liver and kidneys include heavy metals like mercury (found in canned tuna) and arsenic (found in “health drinks” like Muscle Milk). Then there are pesticides on the foods we eat if we do not wash them carefully or buy organic, and plastic coatings like BPA that can leach into our food and water if we put them into containers with this ingredient.
How Do You Know If You Need a Cleanse or Detox?
A cleanse or detox might be a good idea if you experience one or more of the following:
- Tiredness all the time, even after resting
- Aches and pains
- Joint pain or swelling
- Feeling down or depressed all the time
- Feeling agitated and anxious for no known reason
In this case, try a cleanse or detox and see what a difference it can make to your health. It is also a good idea to check any persistent symptoms with your doctor.