Discover the powerful little ways to boost your well-being whether you are on a detox or just feel like your body is run-down and needs a little extra care.
Hop in your bathtub.
Slipping into a steamy bath is not only a blissful treat, it’s highly cleansing from the inside out — and just four 10-minute soaks a week are all it takes to benefit, per research in the journal Age and Ageing. Soaking in water as hot as is comfortable opens pores and encourages perspiration, releasing toxins through the skin, says study coauthor Tom Laukkanen, Ph.D
Tip: Add two cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salts to the water. You’ll absorb the mineral through your skin, boosting levels by 35 percent. And that’s a very good thing since magnesium helps relax tense muscles and neutralize the effect of toxins!
Take cleansing breaths.
We all know that taking a few deep breaths can help restore calm and tranquility in anxious moments. And some well-timed deep breaths can also help reduce the body’s toxic load. Research has shown that a couple minutes of deep breathing when we feel overwhelmed can instantly and dramatically lower stress hormones that would otherwise block enzymes needed to break down fat and neutralize toxins.
Natural health pioneer Andrew Weil, M.D., is a fan of 4-7-8 breathing, which he calls a “natural tranquilizer.” To do: Blow any air out of your lungs with a whoosh, close your lips, and inhale deeply through your nose as you silently count to four. Hold your breath as you count to seven. Then release your breath from your mouth with a whoosh, counting to eight as you do so. Repeat two to three times.
Bask in sunshine.
Toxin buildup during darker winter months or long periods spent indoors has been shown to trigger chronic low-grade inflammation, along with muscle aches and pains for 67 percent of us. But spending 20 minutes a day outside (sans sunscreen) can spur a natural detoxification and ease achiness in as little as a week.
As Cornell University scientists explain, UV light increases the production of serotonin and melatonin — hormones that not only boost mood and improve sleep but also speed the breakdown and release of pain-triggering inflammatory toxins.
Try a DIY massage.
Daily self-massage can ease puffiness, plus boost energy, brainpower, and moods in 48 hours, University of Miami scientists say. It coaxes fluids and dissolved toxins that have leaked into your extremities back into your bloodstream so they’re shuttled to the kidneys for disposal.
To do: Take 10 minutes to relax and rub your scalp, hands, and feet using firm, circular motions. To take it to the next level, integrative medicine advocate Frank Lipman, MD, author of How to Be Well, advises using a dry brush to make short, rapid strokes toward your heart, which ups circulation and sloughs off dead cells so more toxins are released through the skin.
Create a sleep cave.
“The body’s most important repair work, including detoxification, happens during sleep,” says functional medicine expert Alejandro Junger, MD, author of detox guide Clean. The easiest way to do that: Add “blackout” shades or curtains (Buy on Amazon, $19.89). The detox connection? According to a Harvard study, exposure to light as you sleep suppresses the production of sleep-inducing hormones by more than 50 percent, which interrupts deep sleep and detoxification.
To further enhance sleep quality, consider turning on a fan — the white noise prevents ambient sounds from disrupting sleep, plus it keeps the temperature of a room cool, increasing production of the sound-sleep hormone melatonin.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Detox Your Way (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).