“In traditional medicine, a fast or a cleanse is generally a mind, body and spirit experience,” says Jacqueline Engel, ND, LMT, a naturopathic doctor and licensed massage therapist in Portland, Oregon. Too often, she says, people fast or cleanse physically but not emotionally or spiritually—and they miss the opportunity to let go of emotions and other thoughts they no longer need. Engel’s tips for making the most of your next cleanse are on the next page.
Plan ahead. Look at your calendar and plan to cleanse or fast when you have time to truly take care of yourself. Don’t detox during a weekend with the kids or an especially hectic workweek.
Walk more. While you detox, enjoy a mindful walk outdoors each day instead of working out at the gym. Feel the sun helping to naturally build your Vitamin D supply. You’ll notice your mood lift, but
you’ll also boost your immunity and improve bone health. Breathe the fresh air, be present and really look around you.
Write it down. Journaling can help you develop greater self awareness about your relationship with food as you identify emotions that come up during the cleanse. You may find that you react to stress by wanting to eat a lot, or you might feel anger in response to some aspect of the experience. Note it all. Self-awareness helps you make more conscious decisions about what foods you choose.
Savor a spa treatment. Spa treatments help with detoxification and let you relax and feel nurtured. Try an exfoliating salt scrub, mud or clay mask or an Epsom salt bath. “The salt goes into your skin, and magnesium helps detoxify,” Engel explains. “It also helps muscles relax and calms down the heart.”
Retreat. If you can,find a spa or retreat center that specializes in detoxing and cleansing. In addition to expert guidance and support, you’ll benefit from having someone take care of your daily needs so you can focus on looking inward and caring for yourself. Another bonus: a blessed absence of everyday distractions.
LIZ ROBINS is a health, spa and travel writer whose favorite ways to detox mentally include yoga, hot springs soaks and forest hikes.