Wouldn’t it be great if whenever you find yourself livin’ la vida loca (chowing on junk food, skimping on sleep and not taking enough time for exercise and relaxation), you could just press a magic button and — poof! — it’s like you hadn’t done any of the above? While body and mind cleansing isn’t magic, it can help you recover from an abundance of bad habits and put you back on the path to wellness. Or if you simply want to jump-start a new, healthy lifestyle, a mind and body cleanse is a great way to get going.
“A cleansing program that addresses diet, exercise and stress reduction can be particularly effective at making you feel better, both physically and mentally,” says Elizabeth Ricanati, MD, medical director for the Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program. “And when you feel better, it’s easier to continue to make smart choices that can reduce your risk of many diseases and conditions, as well as improve your overall health.”
Some Western practitioners frown on the idea of cleansing because it’s a foreign concept to them, and indeed, little research has been done on the topic. But cleansing — or “detoxing” — is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine (a more than 5,000-year-old traditional medicine practice native to India), and it’s often recommended by physicians who integrate alternative medicine into their practice. Just remember that not all cleansing or detoxifying regimes are created equal. “Cleansing shouldn’t be painful, and it needn’t be extreme to be effective,” Dr. Ricanati says. “If you’re uncertain about what it entails, or have doubts about its safety, it’s best to skip it.”