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3 Detox Mistakes to Avoid

By Jodi Cohen

Three refreshing smoothies in vibrant pink, green, and purple colors, garnished with fresh mint leaves and served with colorful straws, on a rustic slate surface scattered with ice cubes.

I don’t know about you, but I totally over-indulged over Thanksgiving, even breaking my normally impeccable gluten free streak to try the stuffing (my childhood favorite).  I have been hearing from a lot of clients and friends who are jumping into a post- holiday detox, armed with the best intentions, but possibly not the best information.

I am a huge fan of detoxifying the body and the brain, when a detox is done correctly.  Unfortunately,  there is a danger of mobilizing toxins during a detox that may not leave the body, possibly recirculating to a more dangerous location.  To safely detoxify, be sure to avoid these 3 Detox Mistakes.


3 Detox Mistakes to Avoid


Failure to Support the Parasympathetic State

The autonomic nervous system has two states: the “fight-or flight” sympathetic state and the “rest-and-digest” parasympathetic state. The “fight-or flight” sympathetic state reduces the elimination of all toxins from the body by inhibiting the important organs of elimination, including the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, lungs, gut and skin. All of these organs are associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and the body needs to be in a parasympathetic state to successfully detoxify and heal. Your body cannot detoxify and heal when you are under stress.  Another key stressor and toxin creator is an impaired digestive system. If you are not absorbing and assimilating nutrients, it puts another stress on the body, and the undigested food particles add to the toxic burden.


Parasympathetic®:  To ensure optimal detoxification, you can apply the Parasympathetic® blend to the vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone) before meals to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system “rest-and-digest” state.  To learn more about how Parasympathetic® can support detoxification of the brain, click here.


Not Supporting ALL Organs of Detoxification

The detoxification system supports the removal of toxins.  Many detoxification protocols focus on the liver and the gall bladder, but forget about other important organs of detoxification such as the kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system and skin.  All of these organs need to be supported for a successful detoxification protocol.  The following oils help to support optimal detoxification:


Lymph™: The lymphatic system removes toxins from every cell in the body. It works as the body’s septic system, removing the byproducts and wastes created from metabolizing nutrients. Just like the drains in your home, the lymphatic system can get congested and stagnant, and toxins can build up. The more you can help the lymph fluid flow, the more quickly you can move toxins out of the body.  Attempts to detoxify the body when the lymph system is congested often lead to detox and healing reactions. The lymphatic system helps remove toxins, excess fluid, and waste products from the cells and the interstitial spaces between the cells.

Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a central pump—it only moves as the muscles squeeze it along. So the lack of movement makes the lymphatic system stagnant, with waste accumulating and excessive toxins building up.  Lymph™ blend helps keep lymph flowing to move toxins out of the body. Liberally apply 2 to 3 drops of Lymph™ to both sides of the neck, the lymph nodes under the arms, over the clavicles and around inguinal ligament (bikini line area—think where your leg creases when you lift it) to ensure optimal drainage and health.


Liver™: The liver is the primary organ of detoxification. It filters toxins and bacteria from blood and neutralizes the toxins in preparation for elimination. The liver needs energy and vitality to keep up with the increased toxic burden.  Liver™ helps support optimal health and vitality of the liver and is ideal during a detoxification or any kind of digestive repair effort that might release extra toxins (like yeast die-off ).  Apply 2 to 3 drops of Liver™ directly over the liver (right side of the body, under the breast) two to three times daily. The blend is especially helpful when applied before sleep during a detoxification effort as so much of the liver’s work occurs while we are sleeping.


Gall Bladder™: The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile which helps us emulsify fat for digestion and carries toxins and old hormones out of the body. Ideally, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine where it breaks down the fat for the body to absorb, before being eliminated from the body in the stool. When we eliminate the bile, we eliminate toxins with it.  Unfortunately, stress, toxicity, hormones, or diets too low or too high in fat can make the bile thick, viscous, and stagnant which impedes its ability to flow both to the small intestine and out of the body.  If toxins, do not exit the body, they can be reabsorbed, further adding to the body’s toxic burden and contributing to hormonal imbalances and gallbladder challenges. Applying Gall Bladder™ on the right side of the body under the bra under-wire or along and slightly under the right rib cage two to three times daily may help support optimal flow of bile.


Kidney Support™:  The kidneys play a vital role in detoxification, regulating the flow and balance of fluids in the body, filtering the blood, and helping remove waste from the body through urination.  In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered the seat of courage and willpower. They control the volume, composition, and pressure of fluids in all the cells. Blood flows through the kidneys at its highest pressure, filtering out toxins and directing nourishing materials to where they are needed.  Kidney Support™ applied over the kidneys (lower back, size of a fist starting at bottom rib), over the forehead or around the outside of earlobes can help support the kidney’s ability to release toxins.  It also helps to support the kidneys with electrolytes. Electrolytes, particularly sodium, help the body maintain normal fluid levels with helps the kidneys.  I like the brand Matrix Electrolyte.  Binders also help protect the kidneys by routing the majority of the toxins out through the gastrointestinal system in the feces, rather than excreting them through the kidneys in the urine.


Lung Support™: The lungs are sponge-like organs located near the backbone on either side of the heart. They function as a fundamental source of life energy –transporting oxygen from the atmosphere into the capillaries so they can oxygenate blood – as well as an important channel of elimination – releasing carbon dioxide and other toxins from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. Applying 2 -3 drops of Lung Support™ over the lungs can help release toxins.


In addition, improved circulation  can help the lungs function more efficiently, which promotes detoxification.  Applying 2 -3 drops of Circulation™ over the lungs (especially over the left clavicle), on the sides or back of the neck, on the wrists or ankles to support healthy circulation and help eliminate toxins and waste.


Failure to Take Binders

This is a critical mistake as intestinal binders, like Chlorella, charcoal, or clays, like Zeolite or bentonite, are necessary to ensure that toxins leave the body!  Toxins are carried by the bile into the small intestine to be eliminated. If the toxins are not bound to anything, they will often be reabsorbed in the gut, in a process called enterohepatic recirculation.  Binders attach to the toxins and help carry them out of the system.  They can also bind to nutrients and are best taken away from food (Ideally 30 minutes before, or 1 hour after eating or taking any supplements or medications).   It’s important to buy high-quality binders as algaes, clays, and charcoal can be contaminated with toxins.  My favorite binders include the following.


Chlorella is algae that has a high affinity for heavy metals, but also volatile organic compounds, pesticides, herbicides, and mycotoxins. Because chlorella is a living organism, it has evolved to bind only to toxic metals, not essential minerals. I like this brand – Chlorella Pyrenoidosa.


Charcoal will bind to everything – vitamins and minerals as well as toxins. Clays, including Zeolite, Bentonite, and Pyrophyllite, are more selective to binding toxins than charcoal, but can still bind to nutrients. They are a good choice for binding to mold biotoxins and other microbes. I like this brand that combines Charcoal and Pyrophyllite Clay – GI Detox.


 Modified Citrus Pectin is a fiber made from the peel of citrus fruits that has a high affinity for lead, but also other heavy metals. It also has some immune-modulating properties.  I like this brand – Econugenics Pectasol-C Modified Citrus Pectin.



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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.