Dr. Kristen Halland Explains the Benefits of Detoxification
Dr. Kristen Halland
Our bodies work hard to eliminate toxins that are slowing us down, but sometimes we need a little boost. At Balance Chiropractic & Wellness, in Hoffman Estates, detoxification is an important part of overall health and wellness. Founder Dr. Kristen Halland, a chiropractic and functional medicine physician with specialties in acupuncture and nutrition, recommends that clients partake in a detox on a regular basis. She focuses on finding the root cause of what is causing a client’s symptoms, which can often be traced to a toxin overload. When the body is able to properly cleanse and detoxify, everything works better together.
Why is a regular detoxification so important?
A toxin is any barrier to our health. They can come from chemicals, what we eat or drink, our thoughts and relationships or any other source. According to the Environmental Working Group, the top three sources for toxins in the United States are air, food and water, and we have over 700 pollutants in our bodies at any given time.
BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor, is commonly found in canned foods and beverages. A lot of fish has added mercury. Persistent organic pollutants (POP) such as pesticides and DDT are abundant in the air. Having too many toxins in the body can lead to low energy, poor gut health, genotoxicity [destruction of DNA], endocrine interruption and early aging. The body and organs are overworked and tired, and everything gets out of sync.
What can people do on a daily basis to lighten their toxic load?
Eat a variety of colorful foods, which are high in antioxidants. Purple carrots, orange peppers, and red raspberries are all great choices and help the body process the bad stuff. Reduce the amount of sugar, heavy meat and refined carbohydrates in your diet. Eliminate artificial sweeteners, which are full of POPs. Environmental toxins play a big role, too. Our skin is the body’s largest organ, and what we absorb through it goes directly into our bloodstream before it has a chance to get filtered through the liver.
Avoid soaps, shampoos and lotions that contain parabens, artificial fragrances and other chemicals. Use natural cleaning supplies like vinegar and essential oils. In general, the list of ingredients should be as short and easy to pronounce as possible.
How can a more thorough detox be beneficial?
The majority of normal detoxification happens in the liver through a two-phase pathway. The rest of the process happens through the skin, kidneys and bowels. Exercise, sweating and even crying will help move toxins out of the body. Meditation, guided breathing, biofeedback and other emotional releases have been proven beneficial as well, and there are a number of apps available to help with this.
I recommend my patients undergo a deeper detoxification several times a year to make sure that everything is working as efficiently as possible. This starts with a food plan that is easy for the body to digest. Although cleanses and fasts have become trendy recently, the organs actually need nutrients to work properly. Fish, vegetables and rice are all good choices, complemented with physician-grade supplements like B vitamins, antioxidants and magnesium. Programs like Clear Change can help provide proper nutrition while enhancing the body’s natural metabolic detoxification process.
What natural and holistic treatments help with detoxification?
I recommend my clients start their deep detox with at least one acupuncture session. It can help mitigate any symptoms that might arise and also can reduce stress, which adds to toxicity. Chiropractic care can also be beneficial because the whole purpose of taking care of the spine is to make the entire body work better together.
One of the most basic things people can do is to get adequate sleep. That is when the body repairs and rebuilds, and the system gets rid of the extra toxins that are accumulating. Sleep also encourages nutrients like vitamins and minerals to get into the discs in our back and puff up with hydration, which is what we want. This helps eliminate back pain that can lead to misalignment. Regular exercise, even 30 minutes of walking a day, helps with detoxification and improves the aging process, helping everything work better.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect with her at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.