Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Busting the myths on Naturopathy and Detox

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Give yourself permission to slow down

These days DETOX seems to have become a buzz word in all gatherings. It seems fashionable to talk about it. Earlier we all lived a healthy lifestyle and didn’t need to talk about it. With our current life full of stress, comfort foods and a highly polluted environment, it is not only important to talk about it but to actually start practicing it through Naturopathy.

What is Naturopathy and how does it work?

Nature is the greatest healer. Our body has the capacity to prevent itself from diseases and regain health automatically if unhealthy, for which an appropriate environment has to be created by us.

The principle of Nature Cure is based on Panch Mahababhuta theory. Our body is made of five universal elements: Space Akash, Air Vayu, Fire Agni, Water Jal and Earth Prithvi. Most of the diseases are caused due to an imbalance in any of these elements.

Natural therapies restore the balance of the elements when removing the causative factors and bring the elements back to their natural state. Therefore it is not only a healing system but is a way of living in accordance with the laws of nature to enjoy a healthy and disease free life.

In naturopathy it is believed that many diseases of the body are born due to the accumulation of toxins produced during the process of digestion. Normally these toxins are excreted as body waste but due to incorrect diet and lifestyle, negative mental attitude, stress and lack of proper exercise these toxins start accumulating in the body and eventually cause the disease. The basis of all the treatments in naturopathy is to assist the body in removing accumulated toxins and restoring the vital forces called Jeevan Shakti. Proper relaxation, stress management, physical detoxification, nourishing diet and moderate exercises are all part of traditional naturopathy.

Naturopathy had always been the way of life for ancient Indians, but somewhere in the name of modernisation and status living, we forgot all about it and started copying the West blindly. Thankfully, now once again there is a wave of awareness and a resurgence in India’s time tested practices and therapies, be it Yoga, Meditation or Naturopathy.

Many big and small centres have come up all over the country and they cater to people from different economic strata. There are some fancy ones with 5 star facilities while there are many modest ones providing the same services on a more pocket friendly budget.

What do they do?

  • They provide natural therapies based on integrative and holistic approaches.
  • They provide easily accessible high quality traditional natural therapies.
  • They endeavour to develop awareness in the society towards the therapeutic and preventive scope of Nature Cure and Healthy lifestyle.
  • They provide information and education through health awareness programs about the scope of natural therapies and benefits of a healthy lifestyle, natural and simple diet, proper exercise and relaxation and a balanced daily routine.

One must arrest the sickness before expecting any cure. Arresting the sickness itself would initiate the self-healing. The healing in actual fact is self-healing therefore the individual has to be educated, empowered and encouraged so that he or she can take control of his or her own life and that’s the healing process itself. One has to learn to discipline the body and mind, which isn’t easy after we have spoilt ourselves like crazy, but if we understand the benefits and make up our mind, slowly, one step at a time, we will surely be able to adopt and adapt to healthy lifestyle practices by overcoming our cravings and desires. The main Naturopathy treatment modalities applied are:


Detox or purification with the help of Naturopathy diet and fasting.

Diet and fasting play an important role in Nature Cure regimes as they result in faster removal of toxins and facilitate the healing process. Various types of cleansing and rejuvenating diet plans are offered as per the patient’s conditions and needs. Recipes are scientifically developed with a variety of options.

Whenever necessary fasting of various kinds is advised and administered under the strict supervision of well-trained naturopath doctors.

A herbal oil with kadi patta

Naturopathy treatments are administered to remove the toxins and bodily wastes from the body by natural means. Commonly used Nature Cure treatments include steam therapy, hydrotherapy (hip bath, immersion bath, jet sprays), enema therapy, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, hot and cold fomentations, (the basic rule is to use a hot compress on chronic muscle pain and stiffness and a cold compress on inflammation and swelling) shirodhara,
castor oil pack, steam inhalation, nasyaa etc.  Exercises, physiotherapy and yogic practices such as sukshmakriya, surya namaskar and some aasanas.

Nasyaa being administered

Adapting to a healthy and natural lifestyle requires adapting to a natural and balanced diet and eating habits, correct exercise regime, regularising daily routines, giving up harmful and unhealthy habits, taking adequate rest and relaxation, improving the mental attitude, attaining a higher level of awareness and reducing dependency on modern gadgets.


Healthy Lifestyle

In most centres every patient receives the highest level of care and attention. A comprehensive lifestyle advice including diet and exercise depending on your age and gender are given to every individual during the stay and at the time of discharge from the centre.

Detoxifying the Mind

In naturopathy the approach of treating a patient is holistic and preventive. The individual is treated as a whole and not just the disease or the affected organ. Since the body and the mind are believed to be interrelated the holistic approach involves healing the mind, body and soul by attaining physical and mental balance. Thus purifying the mental and psychological processes is an integral part of naturopathic treatment. Yoga, Pranayam, yogic relaxation, meditation, counselling, affirmations and auto suggestions are applied as tools to purify and balance the mind.

Conditions that can be treated by Naturopathy are diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, thyroid issues, PCOD, constipation, hyper acidity, in digestion, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, sciatica, cervical spondylitis, knee pain, psoriasis, eczema, hair fall, sleep disturbance and many more.

Importance of Food

Proper food is the basis of a healthy and long life. Any therapy is incomplete without improving the diet. The food that we consume, makes our blood and muscles, so while choosing food items it should be kept in mind that our body is to be formed by it. Naturopathy presents a new concept of food which incorporates modern research along with ancient Indian practices.

We have often heard that when it comes to health there are no shortcuts. Perfect health comes from sustainable, long term, persistent following the diet and lifestyle programs. Nutritional food plays a vital role in sustainable weight loss revising lifestyle disorders and managing stress.

The Greek physician Hypocrites said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The quality of food should be such that it takes care of the body to its optimum level, preventing the accumulation of toxins resulting in the manifestation of diseases. On the other hand if there are any acute and chronic conditions in the body, the method and combination of dietary intake should be adapted so as to eliminate the toxins and fix the vitiation of the bodily functions.

We know that food and nutrition are sometimes used synonymously though it is not completely correct, food is the mixture of ingredients that is consumed for the nutrition. The quality of food will decide the quality of nourishment to the body resulting either in health or illness. Food is the source of energy for the functioning of the building blocks to grow and repair the body tissues. Each second millions of cells undergo wear and tear. This mechanism is dependent on the quality of the body and vitality is majorly dependent on the digestion and metabolism in the body. Hence food plays an important role in the promotion of health and disease prevention.

According to the fundamentals of Naturopathy diet can be divided into three stages. Eliminative diet, Soothing diet and Constructive diet. Certain recipes which are prepared with specific cooking methods with the usage of all grains and vegetables which suit the cells and tissues of the body, helps to balance and revitalise the cells and tissues, along with mindful naturopathic diet and fasting.

The effectiveness of their cooking methods and ingredients are that they have anti-inflammatory properties which eliminate the risk of infections in inflammation from the body from the cellular levels. Some of the recipes are useful for detoxification by clearing the capillaries and channels of the entire body. This way it is the digestion absorption assimilation and elimination of toxins better on the cellular level thus increasing our vitality.

While some foods provide nutrients and nourishment to us, compensating the nutritional deficit in the body if any. The specific food preparations are tried and tested and cooking methods are scientifically proven. These eating habits, if re-adopted, help provide natural healing if consumed for a longer period of time as there are no side effects or contraindications. Most of the food that was served during my stay had no milk or milk products except ghee. All the foods are completely gluten free. Chillies in any form are not added and no garam masalas are used. The spices and other ingredients used like, kadi patta, pudina, methi, saunf, ajwain, jeera, ginger/saund, haldi, hing assist our digestion process. The combinations are made to keep the complete check on the balancing of the needs of the physiology of the body.

Intake of the healthy and balanced meals prepared with healthy cooking methods, helps maintain the nutritional levels in the body improving all the vitals – hair, skin and nails. Aging process can be delayed by incorporating balanced food preparations.

Avoiding non-vegetarian food, eggs and liquor, avoid excessive use of sugar and eating too many sweets, avoid eating out, avoid consumption of processed food wherever possible avoid consumption of stale food whenever possible, avoid fried foods, avoid items made from white flour including bakery products, eat only when you are hungry, strictly avoid over eating and keeping a fast once every week with only fruit and fresh fruit juices are some of the recommendations to be adopted by us in the long run.

Many of these things and food habits we have heard about, and we know that our elders used to follow and they lived healthy long lives, but we lost them somewhere along the way. Now whether we want to live long or not is not in our hands, but we all definitely want to be healthy and strong as long as we live. Worth re-discovering naturopathy and getting hooked to it, to be able to live a vibrant life and enjoy it to the fullest.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a medical practitioner, what I have written is purely from my experience as a participant and my observations thereof.

Malti Gaekwad
Malti Gaekwad is an artist at heart, graphic designer by profession and a well-known Public Relations practitioner based in Vadodara

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