Every ancient spiritual and healing tradition has ideas about rejuvenation. Included in each of the world’s traditions of health and rejuvenation are methods of cleansing. For all ancient healing traditions, cleansing body and mind is the sine qua non of a healthy as well as a spiritual existence.
The American Indians would periodically purify themselves through their sweat lodges. Communally, the Indians would subject themselves to intense heat, thus eliminating accumulated bodily toxins, while also entering a state of meditative calm, facilitating the removal of psychic stresses.
Similarly, the Ayurvedic tradition recommends Panchakarma cleansing three times a year, at the change of the seasons, in order to maintain well-being in healthy individuals or to restore balance in those who are ill. Panchakarma consists of a series of therapies, including colon cleansing, designed to remove deep-rooted biological and psychological toxins.
The yogic tradition, too, has developed techniques for purification that lead to rejuvenation. In Sivinanda Yoga, these techniques are called kriyas, a word that means sacrifice. Yogis spend many years mastering elaborate techniques of muscular control in order to cleanse even deep internal organs. The Jewish tradition devotes one day a week — the Shabbos – to eating lightly and resting; Jews fast all day on Yom Kippur, allowing their bodies to detoxify as they turn their mental and spiritual attention to atonement, release from guilt and from negative thinking. Catholicism embraces the concept of abstinence in its celebration of Lent, also known as The Big Fast, a period of 40 days in which participants cleanse themselves of desire.
These beliefs in abstinence, cleansing and rest are not frivolous notions. They are based on sound understandings of the nature of health. Ancient peoples understood that without setting aside specific times for periodic purification, vitality and regeneration were not possible. They understood, as well, the notion that the occasional denial of pleasure and desire leads to the greater benefit of consciousness and healing. This notion is the essence of detoxification.
Unfortunately, most of us in contemporary culture have lost our knowledge of many of these techniques. Today, rather than being interested in the process of elimination, and rather than understand the need to not eat, we seem to be exclusively preoccupied with what we do eat (and how it tastes).
Western dietary habits uniquely ignore the body’s need to rid itself of its waste products. It has been estimated that the body contains somewhere between 70 and 100 trillion cells. To illustrate the absolute necessity of each of these cells needing to stay clean and waste-free in order to stay healthy, there is no better story than that of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Alexis Carrel. Carrel had kept cells from the heart of a chicken embryo alive by simply immersing the cells in a nutrient solution and changing the solution. Each day new nutrients were added and waste was cleaned out. This experiment continued for 29 years without a hitch. It was beginning to seem as though with the right nutrients and with proper waste elimination, the cells would go on living forever. Until a fatal mistake was made! Carrel’s lab technician accidentally forgot to change the solution, and the cells died from being immersed in their own waste products. The cells were, in effect, lethally auto-intoxicated. To clean out the over 70 trillion cells that comprise the human body, we need to pay a lot of attention to waste elimination.
And so, we need methods of detoxification. Detoxification is La Casa’s first principle of health. We consider it to be primary, above even our need for nourishing food. All the nutrients in the world won’t do one whit of good in a toxic body.
The advantage of a detox/rejuvenation program is that you can do it at your leisure, in between all your other activities, or you can devote a whole slice of time to it — hours or even days. You get to pick your time and your level of commitment. For instance, you can decide to go on a rigorous fast for several days, including intensive colon cleansing. For this you would want to commit full time to your program and do a lot of resting. But you can also do something as simple as dry skin brushing — a procedure that takes only about three minutes. Even this brief activity can make a significant difference in how you look and feel. Bernard Jensen, who we consider to have been one of this nation’s leading nutritionist, told his story of recovering from cancer at the age of 85 (he was 88 when he told the story with great vigor). He showed us the skin on his arms and legs; there was not a single wrinkle, line or blemish anywhere on this man’s body. He attributed the beauty of his skin, its tautness and elasticity, to his daily regimen of skin brushing.
Exercise is certainly a good way of detoxifying. Sweating cleans out the largest organ we have in our body — the skin. When our skin is able to breathe more efficiently, the pores are better able to do their job of serving as a huge protective membrane, letting out what is supposed to be out, and keeping in what is supposed to be in. Aerobic exercise cleans out the lungs; mere movement of muscles releases stored lactic acid.
But exercise alone doesn’t give the organs a thorough cleansing. For instance, after years of eating processed foods and too much meat, the colon has almost always become so clogged as to be inefficient, at best, or worse, dangerously toxic, like Carrel’s chicken heart cells after the lab technician forgot about them. The cleanliness of the colon is tremendously important — so important that we can say with great certainty that health cannot be achieved without it. The reason for this is that the colon has a large vein, the portal vein, that crosses from the colon to the liver. If the colon has malignant bacteria or toxic residue sitting in it, the portal vein carries this material to the liver. Then the liver, the organ whose specific job in the body is to detoxify, cannot do its job. It has become too overloaded from junk that was the purview of the colon. So we need to think about the colon, and how to assure its cleanliness in a direct way. Similarly, each of the body’s organs and tissues can become overloaded with toxins and this condition of toxicity will interfere with proper functioning of the organ.
At La Casa, we avail ourselves of health principles from all over the world, from ancient traditions, some 5000 years old, to state-of-the-art modern-day devices. For instance, we clean out our nostrils the same way they do it in India today and the way they have been doing it for eons. We clean out our colons, however, through the use of a system that was only invented thirty years ago.
This is the real meaning of the holistic health revolution: for most of us, even those of us who are ill, our bodies still retain a resiliency for healing; the knowledge of how to heal ourselves remains a long-ago, forgotten memory. But we are able to access our memory through studying the healing traditions of other cultures that have been passed down through the ages. The health revolution is not about new learning; it is about coming to remember what we already know.
The Toxifying of America Today
Toxic has become a catch-word in today’s parlance. References to “toxic” have become almost ubiquitous – referring to psychological states: stress is toxic; overwork is toxic; relationships can be toxic; television shows, depicting murder and mayhem, can be toxic; even mothers can be toxic. And for all those sources of psychological toxicity, we are encouraged to de-stress, de-tox, de-compress, de-fuse in order to make ourselves more comfortable with our own selves.
But for the body, detoxification is not just about getting more comfortable; it is essential and life-saving. We are all exposed to thousands of toxins and chemicals on a daily basis both at work and in the home. We breathe in toxins, we eat toxins, and we drink toxins. We live in a virtual sea of biological and biochemical toxins. Nearly every person in the United States has at least 125 toxic chemicals in their blood. Recent studies have found rocket fuel in 100% of breast milk samples taken from women across 18 states. One study identified 287 industrial chemicals in babies’ umbilical-cord blood, including 180 known to cause cancer and 217 that are toxic to the brain and nervous system.
Biological detox programs usually refer to four different kinds of bodily toxicity:1) the body’s metabolic waste products, from feces to free radicals (unstable molecules believed to speed up aging); 2) dietary bugaboos such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat; 3) environmental pollutants such as mercury in fish and petrochemicals in textiles; finally, 4) all the little critters that live inside you – parasites, bacteria and viruses, microorganisms that wreak havoc with our bodies in a myriad of ways.
In addition, we are eating more sugar and processed foods than ever before in human history. Each year the average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar and 566 cans of soft drinks (“liquid candy”). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is equal to “52 teaspoonfuls of added sugars per person per day.” Imagine yourself sitting at the kitchen table, gobbling down 52 teaspoons of white sugar every day. Yet, as horrifying as this scene may be, many of us are doing the equivalent. Our modern unhealthy diet and lifestyle has a devastating effect, first on the colon, before other organs are damaged. This is why it is said: “death begins in the colon.” As reported in the Vegetarian Times, autopsies often reveal colons that are plugged up to 80 percent with waste material.
Mark Hyman, M.D., editor in chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and former co-medical director of Canyon Ranch, maintains that detoxification has become an essential practice in contemporary life because, the fact is, we’re poisoning ourselves. “Most people don’t realize that the top four things bought in supermarkets are drugs: caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and sugar. We use them to modulate our energy and our mood. They’re all chemical substances, with the potential to be toxic.” It’s the buildup of these substances in the system that poses a threat, according to Dr. Hyman. “There are some laws of nature we have to follow, some basic operations that have to be functioning efficiently for us to be healthy,” he says, “and getting rid of garbage is one of them. If you’re not effective in getting rid of toxins, they can accumulate and make you sick.”
Dr. Hyman further states that detox should not be a short-term purge but, rather, a lifestyle, one that includes drinking filtered water, eating cruciferous vegetables, using houseplants as natural air filters, avoiding dry-cleaning solvents, practicing yoga or some other form of exercise, and the at least-sometime unplugging from cyberspace and Starbucks. He suggests a diet including broccoli, garlic, and cilantro because of the detoxifying chemicals in them. He recommends green tea to stimulate the biochemical pathways and supplements–milk thistle, magnesium, vitamin C–that facilitate the extremely hard labor the body does to get rid of garbage. Getting a massage or doing yoga increases circulation and reduces stress hormones. Dr. Hyman refers to the very real and very harmful physiological response in the alarm state. Finally, he emphasizes finding a “pause button.” And, he concludes that a spa can help facilitate that pause-button experience.
La Casa provides its clients with a pause button. We offer therapies for detoxification for all of the sources of toxicity, both biological and psychological. La Casa’s detoxification procedures have the ability to bring the body/mind level of toxicity down by using a multi-level approach. We offer therapies that facilitate detoxification through each of the body’s five channels of elimination: the colon, skin, lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys as well as the bloodstream, cells and tissues. And, several of our therapies activate the pause button of your ever-active mind.
La Casa’s detoxification therapies:
● Colon Therapy
Although La Casa has many detoxification therapies, colon therapy remains the cornerstone of our healing system. We offer four different kinds of colonics, two of which were developed by our Director, Jane Goldberg, in conjunction with La Casa’s colon staff.
It is unfortunate that American doctors have contended for decades that the number of bowel movements an individual has is unrelated to health. They have convinced most of us that they are correct. Most people think that they are not constipated if they are having one bowel movement a day. Yet, we eat three meals a day. Where are the other two meals going if they’re not being eliminated through the colon? The answer actually is somewhat frightening. The rest of the food that is not absorbed by the body as nutrients stays around the body in unlikely places — against the colon walls, in tissues and organs, in arteries — any place at all in the body can serve as a receptacle for uneliminated waste.
● Colon Therapy (click here for more information on colon therapy and colon health)
● Salt Sauna (click here for more information on salt sauna and salt therapy)
● Lymphatic Cleansing (click here for more information on lymphatic cleansing)
● Pedi-Detox (click here for more information on ionic cleansing through the feet)
● Oxidative Therapies (click here for more information on oxygen and oxidative therapies)