We all know that heavy, sluggish feeling we get when we’ve indulged a little too much. For some of us, it sets in after a carefree holiday, a weekend of partying or when we’ve skipped the gym more times than we’ve gone. Oops. For others, it’s the result of our vices, whether that’s sipping on sugary coffees, downing cocktails at happy hour, or ordering late-night pizza. Life is meant to be lived, but no one wants to feel like crap day after day.
The body detoxes naturally, but when you’ve been a bit naughty, it needs a helping hand. There are plenty of detox techniques to try, and dieting doesn’t have to be one of them.
Here’s how to clear out those toxins and feel lighter and brighter (and annoyingly perky). No juice cleanse necessary – because ain’t nobody got time for that!
Sweat it out in an infrared sauna…
Sweating is a sure-fire way to flush out toxins, and while the steam room at your gym is fine, you can really amp up your results with an infrared sauna sesh. These high-tech saunas heat the body instead of the room, so you’ll sweat more and be able to stay in longer – 40 minutes is the sweet spot. They’re the masters of detoxification, and said to be up to seven times more cleansing than classic saunas. They can also burn up to 600 calories per session, but who’s counting? Along with detoxifying, they help to relax the muscles, decrease stress, and purify the skin. Hello, glow!
Top tip: Toxins rise to the surface of your skin when you sweat, so towel off while you’re in the sauna, and shower afterwards.
Dry body brush a few mornings a week…
Before you shower, give your skin some TLC with a dry body brush. By sloughing off dead skin cells, it invigorates your skin and helps it to release toxins. Plus, it stimulates blood circulation and speeds up your body’s lymphatic flow, which nixes toxins too. The best bit? It takes two minutes! And bonus: since the brush strokes break down fatty deposits under the skin, they can also work wonders on cellulite. You can buy dry body brushes at health stores and some supermarkets. To use, start at your feet, and brush your bod in small, upward movements towards your heart.
Love the idea of detoxing… while lying down? Boost the results of your dry body brushing by booking in for a lymphatic drainage massage. This gentle massage helps to push out excess fluid, so it’s great if your body is a sucker for fluid retention (like at that oh-so-glorious time of the month).
Make the most of your shower…
When you shower, alternate between hot and cold water. Start with hot water for two minutes, and then switch to a cold burst for 30 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times, dry off, then rug up in cosy knitwear. While those blasts of icy water aren’t always welcome, this technique – called ‘hydrotherapy’ – helps to reduce inflammation, and boost the metabolism and lymphatic flow. In other words, it’s very detoxifying!
Soak in an Epsom salt bath…
Think of this as a bath-with-benefits. Fill up your tub with warm water, a few drops of your favourite essential oil (lavender is ours), and two cups of Epsom salts. Then, chill for 20-30 minutes. The natural salts are made up of magnesium sulfate, which draws toxins from the muscles. They’re brilliant for de-stressing and debloating, which is why you’ll hear about celebs soaking in baths before events. Epsom salts also maintain the warm temperature of the bath water, which promotes sweating – and as you know, sweating is great for detoxing! As with the infrared sauna, drink plenty of water and keep warm afterwards.
Don’t have a bath at home? Soak in a float tank instead. You’ve probably seen these all over Instagram – it involves lying in a float pod filled with 1000 litres of water and 600kg of Epsom salt. It’s amazing for detoxing and relaxing, and you’ll sleep like a log afterwards.
As a bubbly blonde once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Exercise is also another way to cleanse toxins from the body – and not just by making you sweat. Many toxins are stored in the fat tissue (which is normal), and working out helps to break those down so your body can filter them out. Try to do something active every day. And listen to your body: if you’re in the mood for a high-intensity workout, like spinning, running or boot camp, go nuts. If you’re tired, opt for pilates or yoga – all that twisting is fab.
Sleep more and reduce stress…
When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which puts your systems on hold while you deal with that stress. So, it leaves little time to do things like detox. To get your body detoxing naturally again, take steps to reduce your stress. This could mean switching off your emails after work, going to yoga, swimming in the ocean, having a bath, reading a book, or watching a rom-com. Whatever makes you happy. Part of this is sleeping well, and often. Aim for eight hours every night, even if it means tucking yourself in two hours earlier than usual.
Still feeling sluggish? Your gut might be slowing you down. Check out our post on gut health – those tips work a treat.
Be smart with your supplements…
There’s no need to pop every pill on the health store’s shelf. For detoxing, these supplements can be really helpful:
- Probiotic – cleans up the gut and improves digestion, energy, and metabolism
- Magnesium – great for stress, sleep, blood sugar balance and constipation
- B complex – detoxifies the liver and supports stress
- Potassium – flushes out extra fluids (bye, bloating!)
With all this sweating and cleansing going on, you need to put hydration back into your body. H2O, the clever thing, helps the body to flush out toxins, and revs up the metabolism, lifts energy, and gives skin that lit-from-within glow. Kick off your day with warm water and a squeeze of lemon (the vitamin C wakes up your liver, the biggest detoxing organ). Then try to sip on eight glasses of water a day, plus herbal teas. How do you know if you’re hydrated enough? You should need to pee every couple of hours, and the clearer it is, the smugger you can be.
Consider getting a colonic…
Yep, that involves putting a tube up your butt. YAY! WHERE DO WE SIGN UP? But seriously, if you want to deepen your detox, the colonic craze is legit. Managed by professionals, there’s not much else to say except it’s discreet and does a killer job of getting rid of stuff your body was holding onto.
On that note, have fun!
Words by Katia Iervasi.