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How-To Boost Your Recovery Through Sweat Detox, and Renewal

Detoxification is a vital process associated with maintaining your good health. And let’s be honest, today’s world is loaded with pollutants, and known toxins. Just taking a look at the air quality, or ingredient list on common foods would reveal that your body could probably use a detox. Today, it is estimated that the average American eats a diet that includes large amounts of red meat, processed foods, and fast food.1 These types of foods may contain any number of known toxins including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury – just to name a few.2

However, there is good news! Your skin is the largest detoxification organ of your body, and as such it is fully prepared to help remove residue of environmental pollutants, as well as toxins from your body. For this reason, sweating through your skin acts as a powerful tool during the detox phase of your recovery. You see, one of the most common ways to boost the natural detox power of your skin is to heat things up by increasing your body temperature, or performing exercise. This is a simple way to also increase your own physical energy, strength, lean physique, and even your good mood!

The Many Health Benefits of Sweating

While it is very clear to see the physical benefits of exercise like that of stronger, more defined muscles, or fat loss, the internal improvements in your health may be harder to see.

Here are just a few ways sweating for detox may boost your health:

  • Less toxic residue in the body3
  • Increase in “feel-good” brain chemicals (serotonin, dopamine)
  • Fewer feelings of sadness, or anxiety4
  • Less stress
  • More restful sleep5

Does Sweating Really Renew Your Health?

Clinical trials have confirmed that the detox benefits of exercise are very real. In fact, one study showed that along with essential minerals, the sweat, and sebum of participants also contained toxins including that of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.6

“Regular physical exercise, whether in the gym, on a yoga mat or pulling weeds in the garden, has important benefits for those in recovery,” says Dr. Meredith Sagan of Prominence Treatment, a non 12-step rehab center. “Developing a regular schedule of recovery-centric activities is key to shifting the recovery addict’s mindset from addictive or sobriety-focused thinking, feeling and behavior. Regular exercise is also an excellent form of self-care and self-soothing, replacing the old, addictive response to stress.”

How to Sweat More, Even if You Don’t Like Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to include a painful session in the gym, long hours on the treadmill, or a loud fitness trainer barking in your ear. It can come in the form of a very rejuvenating practice known as yoga. This ancient exercise integrates slow movements, deep stretching, and the art of mindful breathing, also known as Pranayama.  

“The term yoga in Sanskrit means to yoke,” says Dr. Sagan. “The idea of yoking, or bringing the mind and body into balance so they can work better together, is integral to holistic forms of addiction treatment. Developing long-term recovery requires individuals to find non-using coping techniques in ways that are balanced and consistent over time.”

Dr. Sagan continues, “There is well-documented evidence that mindful meditation and diaphragmatic breathing used when doing yoga promotes emotional, psychological, neurobiological and spiritual well-being, in addition to previously mentioned physiological benefits.”

How Can I Start My Yoga Practice?

Yoga is an exercise that can be performed at all skill levels however, it is highly recommended that if you are just beginning yoga that you practice under the supervision of a trained instructor. You see, injuries are common during yoga because the ancient asanas (body positions) while gentle, must be performed correctly to avoid pulling your muscles, or tendons, straining joints, or tweaking your overall posture.

It is best to start a yoga practice from the very beginning so, try this short breathing meditation to prepare yourself by developing your Pranayama (mindful breathing) first.

Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)

  • Take a seated position, keeping your back aligned with your neck. Turn your gaze straight ahead, and fix your eyes on a point that keeps your eyes facing forward. Once you have set your body position, close your eyes, and keep them gently shut.
  • Then, place the soft pads of the tip of both of your index fingers on your ears, to completely shut them. Press your fingers into the cartilage area, and then gently hold them there.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose for 5 full seconds, as you count silently in your head (1-2-3-4-5).
  • Then, exhale the breath fully out of your mouth as you quietly hum (hmmmmmmm). You may hear the sound inside your head as more of a BZZZZZZ, just like a bee.
  • Repeat this breathing technique for up to 5 cycles.

 

This is how you perform the yoga bee breath! And you can do it any place, and any time you choose to.

If you are just starting a yoga practice, or you are a seasoned guru, there are still some tips you should follow any time you perform an asana. And remember, your breath is linked to your emotions so, if you feel distracted during your yoga practice for any reason, don’t worry about it. Just focus on your breath, and let those thoughts pass over you. This way you can keep going, and really get your sweat on!


Follow these 3 tips any time you practice yoga:

  1. Mind Your Instructor. Even if you do not have a yoga instructor present with you when you perform yoga asanas, it is imperative that you always mind the instructors tips. Gently clear your mind before any yoga exercise, and remember to pay close attention to performing the asanas correctly to avoid injury.
  2. Team Up. Today, you can find many different places where yoga exercises are performed. You may even enjoy taking a “hot” yoga class, also known as Bikram Yoga in which temperatures of the yoga studio can reach 105° Fahrenheit (40.5 Celsius). So, try a group yoga class, or join others online who want to talk about their detox experience. After all, exercise is always better with a buddy.
  3. Set a Realistic Goal. For most people, exercise for the sake of sweating isn’t enough motivation to step foot in a gym. So, create a small, realistic goal to help keep you keep moving. It could simply be – sweat for 15 minutes to remove toxins on Wednesday. That’s all it takes to accomplish one step towards your best health!

A Final Note on Renewal Through Sweat Detox

Sweating is a wonderful, and effective way to open your pores, and stimulate the natural detoxification process of your body. As you sweat, your skin will do it’s work to remove any lingering residue from environmental pollutants, and other toxins. So, never fear taking that first step on the road to recovery. All you need to do to renew your life in recovery is to start out with a powerful, sweat-induced detox. It may be a hard step to take, but it is one of the easiest ways to restore your natural health, while also nourishing your mind all at once.

References:

  1. NutritionFacts.org. Standard American Diet.
  2. FDA Posts Updated Results for its Total Diet Study. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  3. Margaret E. Sears, Kathleen J. Kerr. Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.
  4. Simon N. Young. How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Nov.
  5. Zoe L. Hewett, Birinder S. Cheema. The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 428427.
  6. Margaret E. Sears, Kathleen J. Kerr. Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.

 

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