7-DAY DETOX MIRACLE

7-Day Detox Miracle

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by Peter Bennett, ND, Stephen Barrie, ND with Sara Faye

Prima Publishing, P.O. Box 1260BK, Rocklin, California 95677 USA; 916-632-4400 Softcover, 1999, $15.95 US $23.50 Canada, 300 pp.

During the last fifty years we have seen the addition of tens of thousands of chemicals to every aspect of our environment. The fact is, we are all now living in an atmosphere that has never existed in the history of this planet. To meet those toxic challenges, it would seem reasonable our bodies' detoxification systems could use some assistance. In that effort, 7-Day Detox Miracle by Peter Bennett, ND, Stephen Barrie, ND, with Sara Faye, is a book for our times.

The authors seek remedy for our overloaded detoxification systems through their EcoTox Detoxification Program, a mechanisms for managing and eliminating toxins, while addressing the whole person and the connections between mind, body and spirit as well.

The book begins with an introduction to the principles of detoxification medicine, a therapy that has been practiced since ancient times and is a part of many healthcare systems around the world. Detoxification is a non-invasive process of cleansing, nourishing and resting the body from the inside out with the intention of decreasing the impact of xenobiotics (chemicals and molecules foreign to biological systems) at the cell level. By cleaning the blood of toxins, the body can then heal itself. To understand the vital components of detoxification, the authors offer these Six Steps of Detoxification in order of importance:

Remove the obstacles to health
Improve circulation
Enhance elimination
Repair the gastrointestinal system
Stimulate the liver
Transform stress
Understanding these steps is essential for achieving the best outcome when attempting detoxification, and this is where this book excels. In describing each of these steps the authors get straight to the point, using clear and concise language that makes even the discussion of the complex mechanisms of the liver and the effects of toxins on cell function accessible to most readers. Even if one were to skip the detoxification program, these discussions alone make this book worthwhile reading. As an example, we learn that there are many substances that can inhibit the processing of toxins by the liver, including such commonly used drugs as antidepressants and antihistamines and the spices tumeric and clove.

A body in need of detoxification has been years in the making. Standard medical tests that are designed to detect acute illnesses will not reveal when a person is suffering toxic stress but there are obvious physical signs. The authors advise a daily checkup and provide easy-to-follow guidelines for an evaluation of one's mental, emotional and energy status, skin, tongue, eyes, digestion, joints, abdominal muscle tone, posture and nails for signs of toxic stress. Another way to detect toxicity is through laboratory testing. The tests for heavy metals through hair and urine analysis, functional liver detoxification profile, oxidative stress testing, intestinal permeability testing and more are available, but relatively new and may not be easy to locate. In this case the authors advise seeking the assistance of a physician knowledgeable about detoxification medicine, such as a naturopathic doctor.

The EcoTox Detoxification Program consists of three modules. The first focuses on diet, the second on nutritional supplements and the third on improving circulation through hydrotherapy and exercise. Each module has a variety of choices so the plan one adopts can bo tailor-made. The diet is a seven-day plan that starts with a two-day liquid fast and continues to day seven with a menu plan of recommended foods, such as rice and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Supplementation is meant to address the higher nutritional needs a person will experience during detoxification but this does not necessarily mean high doses of supplements. The authors recommend a baseline supplementation program that should be complemented using their strategy groups. Here the authors have identified key functions, such as "protect body tissues" and "assist in breakdown of toxins," and paired a strategy group from which one would select at least one supplement to aid in those functions.

The final module is Circulation Therapy which involves increasing circulation and metabolic rate using four methods: hydrotherapy, dry skin brushing, exercise and mind and breath training. Hydrotherapy, which could be the most challenging part of the program, consists of using hot and cold water to increase blood flow to various parts of the body and should be used at least once a day during the Program. There are several methods to accomplish hydrotherapy and the instructions are included for using the shower, bath, sauna and wet sheet methods.

The term "Detox Miracle" in the book's title probably refers to the improved state of health one should experience after using the Program. For me though, the miracle is in the elegance of our bodies' systems to keep us alive and functioning. The growing toxic exposures of our modern world are assaults on those systems, and if pushed to the limit, could lead us into a chronic disease state. Bennett and Barrie have given us tools to keep healthy, and they have educated us to respect the importance of making wiser choices to avoid toxic stresses in the first place. This is a book you will want to share with loved ones.

Article copyright Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.

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By Katherine Duff