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Combining Emotional and Physical Detoxification

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The word “detox” has taken on a much broader and more dynamic meaning over the past two decades. It now encompasses the removal of both the everyday physical and emotional toxins of life. Pollutants regularly permeate our food, air, water, personal care products, even the clothes we wear – all impacting how the body functions. 

In the United States, it is estimated that there are over 80,000 chemicals presently in use.[1] Alarmingly, as we age, our toxic load continues to compound and scientists predict that everyone alive today carries within her or his body at least 700 contaminants. 

When it comes to planning a well-rounded detoxification program, it’s important to consider not just the physical removal of toxins, but also the emotional health tolls that may need to be released as well. Toxicity can manifest from many areas of life, including the social networks we keep[2], the stress we experience or the quantity and quality of our sleep. 

Before embarking on detoxification, ensure you assess exposure and implement gentle changes to diet and lifestyle that aid in the cleansing processes. 

Supporting the Channels of Elimination


It’s best to begin any type of cleansing program by first ensuring that the intestines are functioning optimally. They need to be in good shape, as they carry a considerable load of the burden of being able to excrete toxins effectively. Fibre is critical to effective detoxification. Fibre sources include: legumes, non-starchy vegetables, beans, fruit, seeds, nuts, and flaxseed meal. The general recommendations for fibre is about 30 to 35 grams daily. 

When it comes to the emotional aspects of the gut, consider any outdated emotions that are stored in the body and need to be “excreted.” When we don’t properly “eliminate” unhealthy emotions, we can experience increased levels of stress. Stress not only causes inflammation, but can elicit poor digestive function. 
Deep breathing is an example of one way to aid in moving the gut. When we breathe in deeply, the diaphragm moves down gently, massaging our intestines, and when we exhale, we create space in the gut area, allowing waste to move through us. 


If toxins aren’t being excreted effectively in stools, they can end up accumulating in urine and sweat. For this reason, drinking adequate water is an imperative for healthy detoxification. Fibre works best in combination with adequate fluid intake, furthermore, being properly hydrated allows toxins to move in and out of cells more freely. 

From an emotional perspective, tears are thought to help the body release inflammatory cytokines. In one clinical study by Dr. Ishii and colleagues at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, showed that being easily brought to tears is associated with a better response for the immune and neuroendocrine systems.[3]


The liver is the classic “hub” of metabolic detoxification and invariably heads up the “army of attack” against toxins. One of the most fundamental requirements of the liver to function properly is protein. High-quality, hypoallergenic protein such as rice protein with added amino acids is one example of a protein source that can provide the raw materials to get toxins packaged appropriately for their exit out of the body. Other food-oriented interventions that can help streamline the processing of toxins through the liver include: green tea, curry, and cruciferous vegetables. It is recommended to get at least one serving daily.

When it comes to emotions, traditional medicine would say the liver is about action, which is why anger is often associated with this organ. Anger is simply a “call to act.” It is a catalyst that prompts us to change something or make a statement about our boundaries. During the detoxification process, note the presence of anger. Is it easily expressed or stuffed down inside? Finding healthy ways to vent anger can be more beneficial than just reacting in a volatile way. 

Detoxification is an essential process for most individuals nowadays due to the increased toxic burdens we carry. There are ways to make the most of daily detoxification through selecting appropriate foods and drinks that assist in the functioning of the gut and liver. Include the emotions in conjunction with the physical body for deeper elimination. My detox program, Whole Detox, addresses the physical and emotional aspects of detox for a full-spectrum transformation.



  1. Weiss B, Landrigan P. The developing brain and the environment: an introduction.  Environ Health Perspect 2000;108(3):373-374. [Full Text
  2. Kiecolt-Glaser J, Gouin J, Hantsoo L. Close relationships, inflammation, and health. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2010;35(1):33-38. [Full Text
  3. Tanno M, Nakajima A, Ishiwata T, et al. Effect of general anesthesia on the abnormal immune response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2004;22(6):727-732. [Abstract


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Deanna Minich
Dr Deanna Minich is an internationally recognized health expert with more than twenty years of experience in nutrition, mind-body health, and functional medicine. Dr. Minich holds Master’s and Doctorate degrees in nutrition and has lectured extensively throughout the world on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals about nutrition. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Currently, Dr. Minich teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the graduate program in functional medicine at the University of Western States. Her passion is bringing forth a whole-self approach to nourishment and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine.  Visit her at: www.drdeannaminich.com