Dive into the World of Detoxification

Steam, sweat, and supplement your clients to better health

When you think of detoxification, do visions of women crunching on carrots come to mind? Detox doesn't mean deprivation, though some fast to give the digestive system a break. Au contraire, detoxing involves supporting the body through toxin elimination with balanced nutrition, supplements, and treatments. Detoxes can last from a day to three days to 30 days and beyond.

Trends such as juice fasts and slimming wraps fluctuate in popularity. Hydrotherapy has been used for centuries throughout the world. Some spas offer treatments such as steams and massages while others offer overnight stays and services ranging from colonics to cooking classes. Whatever your spa's focus, there are many ways to support your clients through the detox process. Just make sure there is always plenty of fresh, filtered water around.

The detox process

"When I think about the detox system, what I think about with patients mostly is the liver, the digestive system and the skin. I like to do things to support elimination through all those organs at the same time," says Dr. Natasha Turner, a naturopathic doctor, author, and founder of the Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique in Toronto. Turner usually uses a combination of foods, supplements, and sauna sessions to support her clients. She also advises them to reduce their exposure to chemicals.

Some people spa to relax or get away, but there are those who spa to kick start the weight loss process. "If you have toxins in your system, they can interfere with the weight loss process. Your liver is your number one fat burning organ. If it's not being properly supported or it's getting bogged down, then the weight loss process will be slower," explains Turner.

Foods high in fibre such as leafy greens are liver-friendly. Supplements such as milk thistle and dandelion Root are also great for liver detoxification. You are welcome to share your knowledge with your clients, however, unless you're a medical practitioner, do not prescribe specific vitamins and special diets for specific ailments. Your lawyer will thank you.


Sweat it out

Whether through vigorous exercise or a relaxing steam, sweating is an effective way to release toxins from the body. Scandinave Vieux-Montreal offers hydrotherapy, which is hugely popular throughout the province. Clients first settle into a eucalyptus steam bath, Finnish sauna, or hydro-jet baths to sweat. Next, the client is immersed in cold water to cleanse the skin and close the pores. Finally, there is a resting period to allow the cardiovascular system to regulate itself, and the option then to repeat the cycle. Hydrotherapy is often combined with massage therapy or body scrubs. "When you have massages, for example, toxins are released because you're working on the skin," says Paula Aveling from Hammam Spa in Toronto. "The benefit of the hammam after a massage is it allows all those toxins to release. They're not just coming to the surface and sitting there." Some people complain of pain such as headaches after a massage because toxins have been brought to the surface but not released—this prevents such agony or irritation.


All wrapped up

From ingredients found in the ocean such as seaweed and algae to earthly elements such as mud and clay, there's a wide range of substances to wrap your clients in. Hammam Spa recently introduced a Rhassoul Wrap Treatment which uses Rhassoul, a mineral-rich clay from Morocco. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Keep in mind that clients are attracted to treatments that sound exotic and rare. The treatment begins in the steam room to allow the body and mind to relax and start the detox. Then the wrap is performed.

Gina Lopez, aesthetician and supervisor at Urban Oasis Mineral Spa in Winnipeg, suggests wraps be done in a series. "People want immediate results, but it takes time. It took time to get the cellulite, so you have to take time to get rid of it." Lopez recommends a series of treatments with an at-home care plan to enhance the benefits.


Caution

Pregnant women and those with conditions such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes should avoid hydrotherapy, saunas, and steam rooms. Hydration is essential throughout the detox process, so ensure water is readily available. Light snacks such as apples may also be kept nearby. And as always, advise your clients to consult their medical practitioner before they book a detoxification treatment or package.


Benefits of detox

Some question the benefits of detox, maintaining that the body can eliminate waste on its own. However, factors such as daily chemical and pollutant exposure, poor diet, and stress can reduce the body's ability to effectively do so. Whatever the argument, after a five-day juice fast, a friend said she had skin like a baby's bottom. What woman doesn't want that?


Additional benefits include: ✔ Increased energy
✔ Increased circulation
✔ Increased metabolism
✔ Decreased stress
✔ Improved sleep
✔ Improved mood

by Jennifer Armel | Summer 2012