As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I’m always looking for all-natural and alternative ways to detox and de-stress and by doing so, up-level my self-care. Last year, I decided that it was time to get serious about and invest in some alternative self-care practices that would support me in body, mind and spirit. A healthy diet and exercise, isn’t always enough and for me, it was time on my own wellness journey to do more beyond my usual acupuncture and meditation.
In my quest to experiment with a number of different natural and alternative ways to detox and de-stress, I tried almost everything. Some of these you may be familiar with, others may be new to you, but I encourage you to keep an open mind. If something interests you, give it a try!
Infrared Sauna // The hottest (no pun intended) therapy on the wellness scene as of late, the infrared sauna is my favorite! While infrared saunas are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance, there’s nothing new about them. Sweating in a heated space is a centuries-old practice that dates as far back as Ancient Greek and Roman times. Similar to a traditional sauna, in an infrared sauna your body is exposed to extreme heat in an enclosed space to stimulate sweating. The resulting sweat assists with eliminating toxins, increasing blood flow and boosting immunity. Where infrared saunas excel compared to traditional ones is in the infrared spectrum of light, which allows the body to sweat at lower temperatures, meaning you can stay in the sauna longer. A typical infrared sauna session is 30 – 60 minutes, but sometimes as short as 15 minutes and sessions can occur daily. A final benefit of the infrared sauna is that the infrared spectrum penetrates the skin deeper to burn fat. In this way, they assist with detoxification and can also be an effective tool for weight loss (but not to be abused for that purpose).
Salt Therapy // Also a centuries-old healing practice, alt kills bacteria, mold spores, dries mucous membranes and clears toxins and other pollutants. Salt therapy uses a Halogenerator to grind pharmaceutical-grade salt into miniscule particles and disperse them into the air. You may experience salt therapy in a “salt room” or “salt cave” or more privately in a salt bed. Sessions are 25-50 minutes and I typically use my time to meditate. By breathing the air deeply, the salt reaches into your lungs and sinuses and the salt particles on your skin balances its pH and promotes circulation. The benefits of salt therapy include, overall relaxation, detoxification of the lungs and improved skin.
Flotation Therapy // Flotation therapy is a powerful way to rejuvenate, relax and detoxify the body. Floaters typically spend one hour in a sound-proof flotation tank which is filled with skin-temperature water and Epsom salt. One flotation session is said to be the equivalent of 5 hours of total relaxation for the body and mind and have the cleansing effect of a three-day fast. Other benefits of flotation: lowering blood pressure, helps treat insomnia and jet lag, slow the pulse, decreases the level of stress hormones in the body, balances pH levels and releases heavy metals and toxins from the body. Not everyone will have the same experience floating, and it may take several attempts to be able to fully relax into the experience.
Cryotherapy // From heat-powered to cold-powered, there’s an option for any preference. In just three minutes of extreme cold exposure (-200-something degrees F), cryotherapy is said to deliver all the benefits of natural detoxification, anti-aging, and support metabolism. I visited an electro-powered (i.e. nitrogen-free) cryotherapy facility, which is reportedly safer and more reliable than the nitrogen-based cryo-saunas. Of all the therapies, this one gave me the most reservations, because exposing myself naked (your hands and feet are covered with really thick socks and gloves for protection), to below freezing temperatures doesn’t seem pleasant – and it wasn’t. That three minutes seemed like forever and the cold was hard to tolerate. After, I was shivering uncontrollably, as my body normalized to its natural temperature. My technician explained the shivering was part of the process of detoxing and revving my metabolism. Again, cold therapy isn’t new. It’s a technique that’s been used to treat pain and some cancers since as early as the 1700’s and more recently, athletes have been using it to recover faster from injuries and intense exercise. However, using cold temperatures to reap everyday health benefits is recently trending with some skepticism and criticism. Do your research to decide if this of type of therapy is right for you.
Have you tried any of these alternative ways to detox and de-stress? Which is your favorite or which would you like to try?