Essential Oils For A Summer Detox
With the warmer weather finally arriving here in the UK, it’s the perfect time to begin making the usual seasonal changes to your skin care regimen.
But this time we’re starting on the inside with a 5 day, quick and easy summer detox – done the gentle aromatherapy way. True beauty really does come from within.
Just like your kitchen sink after pouring all sorts of things down it over a period of time, a blockage can also begin to build up in your body, so you need to flush out your system. When done correctly, detoxification is safe and beneficial for our health, and many health experts suggest that we should aim to embark upon at least one detox program annually.
However, children, nursing mothers, and patients with cancer, chronic degenerative illness and tuberculosis should consult their physician first for approval.
The science bit
Providing we are in good health and not already suffering from the effects of toxicity, our body transforms, neutralises or eliminates toxins very efficiently. Toxicity only begins to build up in our bodies when we take in more than our body can use or eliminate, or when we are run-down. Modern lifestyles mean that most of us do not take enough exercise, and in combination with stressful lifestyles and unhealthy diet this all contributes to lymphatic congestion and a build-up of toxins.
The lymphatic system consists of a network of tubes that drain excess liquid called ‘lymph’ from your body tissues into your bloodstream. The lymph then travels to lymph nodes where it is cleansed of toxins, bacteria and other waste products before re-entering the bloodstream. Symptoms caused by a build up of toxins include gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation and bloating, aches and pains, coughs, fatigue, headaches, catarrh, skin problems and a breakdown in the immune system.
Aromatherapy is such a tremendous aid to detoxifying because essential oils can assist lymphatic drainage which is vital for the efficient elimination of toxins. All of the essential oils listed in the sidebar below help to cleanse the body by either accelerating lymph and tissue circulation, or by stimulating the circulatory system. This is a non-aggressive cleansing regime and only takes 5 days, although you can continue for a few more days if you wish.
Process of elimination
The liver is the main organ responsible for detoxification in the body due to its multiple metabolic functions, although the kidneys play an important role as well. The colon is responsible for the elimination of toxins, and an effective cleansing treatment will take this into account. The ideal detox treatment encourages the body to deal with toxins in a natural way, without putting the body under any strain.
Effective detox treatments include exercise, fasting, skin brushing, colonic irrigation and of course, aromatherapy using detoxifying, cleansing, and stimulating essential oils. Incorporating 2 or more of these methods into one detox routine produces the very best results, especially when one of them is aromatherapy.
Skin is the largest organ of the body and it plays a major role in eliminating toxins. The simple technique of skin brushing is a highly effective strategy in your battle against toxins. It stimulates the circulation and superficial glands, thereby improving lymph drainage, helping to flush out those toxins.
Using a natural bristle brush or loofah mit, start at your toes and gently brush upwards towards your heart using quick sweeping motions. A long handled brush is best since it enables you to reach further, but don’t worry about the areas that you can’t reach.
Exercise and diet
Fasting has always been the traditional way to detoxify the body, but for many busy people these days it is too extreme and simply not practical. I find that exercise is a great way to start your summer detox since it steps up the body’s metabolic rate. Just 15 minutes on a rebounder helps to stimulate the lymph nodes which drain the lymphatic system.
Amazingly, during exercise the lymph can drain about 20mls of waste per minute, whereas at rest this figure falls to only 1-2mls per minute. Swimming, jogging, circuit training and even just brisk walking really help to increase your metabolic rate and boost your circulatory system.
A less strenuous approach to detoxifying involves eating foods that help with the body’s efficient elimination of a toxic build-up. This is my preferred alternative to fasting, and I’m betting it’s likely to be yours too! Cleansing foods that you should eat over the 5 day detox period include raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, fruit, whole-grains, juices and filtered water.
I know you’ve heard it all before, but the single most important and effective detoxifier of all is water, which should be taken during every type of internal cleansing program, and continued beyond. According to experts, during your detox routine you should drink up to 10 glasses of water a day to help the body flush out those nasty toxins.
Foods that you should avoid during your summer detox include meat, milk and yeast products, bread, refined sugar and carbohydrate products which cause an increase in the production of mucous. These foods really should be avoided during your cleansing and revitalising program. Also cut down on all types of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, replacing them with herbal teas. Sorry!
Detox massage and baths
Massage offers the most benefits in an aromatherapy detox routine due to the beneficial effects it has on the circulatory system. Choose any 3 of the essential oils from the chart and you will have a potent cleansing and detoxifying massage blend that will be sure to bring you positive results. For a really powerful detoxifying treatment, mix 2 drops of Juniper, 1 drop of Fennel, 1 drop of Grapefruit, and 1 drop of Cypress into 10mls of your chosen carrier oil. For the very best results this should be massaged on to the back, abdomen and legs.
You can also use your essential oils in a hot bath, since the heat draws toxins to the surface of the skin, and as the water begins to cool the toxins are drawn into the water due to the process of osmosis. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all understood the healing and cleansing properties of bathing, and in Japan they still believe it is a spiritual act, connecting the bather with nature cleansing both the mind and body.
To vary your treatments you can select different essential oils for a bath than those you are using in massage treatments. This can often increase the effect of drawing out toxins. If you prefer your treatments ready-made, you should try our luxury Detox Bath Soak containing detoxifying marine botanicals and organic essential oils.
Ideally, you need to have at least 2 detox massage treatments during the 5 days, and to achieve the maximum results you should also have a couple of bath treatments with combinations of the listed essential oils on alternate days to massage treatments. Of course, if you want to include traditional fasting in your summer detox that’s even better, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you include everything covered in this article.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2015. Written by Sue Charles