One seemingly uneventful day in May of 2003 I was driving to my chiropractor’s office when a car on the opposite side of the road made an unexpected left turn in front of my car, causing a head-on collision. My chest smashed into the steering wheel and suddenly I found myself wondering if I was going to have a heart attack.

The impact caused my lungs to heave in such a way that I was taking deeper breaths than I had ever taken in my life. What happened next is still a mystery to me. I heard a very clear commanding directive that said, “You need to do a liver cleanse!”

What???

Answering a Call

That command bubbled up into my thoughts from time to time that summer as I continued to heal, but it wasn’t until October when a good friend who was 39 at the time was diagnosed with breast cancer that my new mission got any traction.

Being a chiropractor myself, I had a network of colleagues to speak with about breast cancer. I contacted my teachers and holistic doctors around the country, looking for answers and research.

I read up on everything I could find on the causes and complementary treatments beyond the medical therapies. I looked at statistics and compiled lists of strategies for healing and came to one conclusion. Although we don’t know for sure what causes breast cancer, everyone included a strategy for helping the liver to detoxify more efficiently. I was intrigued.

What is a Liver Cleansing?

A healthy body could be defined as one that has energy and vitality and the natural capacity to heal, detoxify and repair itself. Said in another way, our bodies are self-healing. We have several mechanisms and pathways for “taking out the garbage” and over the years they can become sluggish.

It isn’t so far-fetched that we need to upgrade our detoxifying systems in our own body. Detoxifying or cleansing means ridding the body of toxins – those internally made or ones that get in – and waste products that get stuck and can’t find their way out.

These toxins accumulate in the cells, tissues and especially the fat molecules and cause congestion, sluggishness and a whole array of symptoms. The gift of cleansing the body is that there is restoration of the self-healing mechanisms, which allows the body to repair itself.

What is a Toxin?

Toxins in the body affect the cellular engines in negative ways. For example, pesticides are considered xenoestrogens (foreign estrogen) because they mimic the activity of estrogen at the cellular level.

Estrogen is considered the fattening hormone. It gives women contours and increases the size and number of specific cells, which is why women might experience swelling and tenderness in the breasts, fibrocystic breasts and weight gain when taking HRT or birth control pills.

Hormones and xenoestrogens both need to be completely broken down in the liver so that their effect on estrogen sensitive cells becomes null and void.

The Pathways of Elimination

We must eliminate, for example urinate and sweat, for toxins to be removed from the body. Making sure you have regular bowel movements may be more important then getting your liver to work more efficiently. Bowel transit time is a term that refers to how long it takes for food that you have consumed to end up in the toilet.

In a certain way, the body likes to recycle so if the transit time is really slow, the body will reabsorb the water, hormones, cholesterol and toxins and make it harder to have normal bowel movements.

Making sure you are hydrated and having a good balance of plant-based soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet is essential. Try eliminating dairy and gluten from your diet if you are chronically constipated, get checked for parasites and have a chiropractor see if your ileocecal valve (a sphincter between your small and large intestine) is stuck shut. A simple manipulation can open the valve and give great relief.

As part of the cleanse program I run at my office, our participants use our infrared sauna which enables sweating from below the skin’s surface. As the core body temperature elevates one to three degrees, the fat cells that store toxins soften up and chemicals and heavy metals are released through the sweat. Research shows that 20% of the sweat collected from using an infrared sauna contains toxins while only 3% of the sweat collected from traditional saunas contains toxins.

5 Things You Can do Right NOW to Support Your Body in Detoxifying

Hydrate your body. Drink about half your body weight in ounces of water. Coffee is not water and is dehydrating so take that into consideration.

If you are constipated, you must find a solution to moving your bowels at least once or twice a day. Drink water, and eat prunes and beets. Try Senna tea and make sure you are getting fiber in your diet. If you have tried all of these things and nothing has worked, consult with a doctor who can help you.

Green up. Alkalize your body by adding more green leafy vegetables to your diet. Eat salads, put greens in smoothies and sauté greens with olive oil and garlic for a delicious treat then add them to soups.

Eat cruciferous vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Research shows that adding daily Brussels sprouts to the diet insures that circulating estrogens are broken down safely in the liver.

Whenever possible eat organic. Fewer toxins in means less work your body has to do to break down and eliminate them.

Have you ever considered a liver cleanse? What foods do you find help you stay regular? Please join the conversation and share your experience and ideas.

Devorah FeinbloomDr. Devorah Feinbloom is a chiropractor and holistic health educator located near Boston. She is a certified mindfulness teacher and an advocate of experiential and body-centered learning. She is the creator of “The Mindful Nutritional Re-Boot Camp Cleanse” and “Mindfulness-Based Self-Healing” workshops. At 60, Devorah became a mosaic artist, something she dreamed about since she was a child. Visit her website here.

Editor’s note: nothing in this article is intended to be medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

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