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To detox or not to detox?

That is the question!


Once Christmas is over and we’ve made all the New Year’s resolutions we know we’ll never keep… it’s time to strip naked and take a good look at ourselves in the mirror.

Has that sixth helping of mum’s famous plum pudding, the entire box of Ferrero Rocher (because these days they aren’t just for the Ambassador and his guests) and the quadrillionth double Bailey’s taken their collective toll on your sagging body?  If yes… you might just be contemplating doing something about it and, having deciding that perhaps surgery is a little expensive… and invasive, you’ve resolved to take Carol Vorderman’s advice and go for a quick detox.

If you tap ‘detox’ into Google and wait for the resulting list of possible sites you may be a little put off by the fact that a lot of the detox sites, if you’re not too careful, will take you to alcohol dependency units or a few weeks at the Priory. However, you can flit through a number of these and find some real gems, including information about programmes you can follow yourself in the comfort of your own home, looking at diet, lifestyle and motivation. There are other places in the UK where you can go and get pampered… if your idea of being pampered is getting a colonic irrigation or having meals that a rabbit would turn its nose up at. Of course there are venues around the country where pampering is tailoring your bodily needs to a suitable regimen of seaweed baths, yoga instruction, dietary advice and relaxation techniques which can all be obtained… at a price.

In truth our bodies are already well designed to protect against toxins. Two of the most powerful weapons it has, namely the liver and kidney, work hard every day helping to keep us healthy. And no matter what detox treatments a person might try, simply drinking enough water is the really essential key to maintaining health.

So, are detox treatments just a load of trendy hype? Is the idea of a quick-fix against the excesses we put our bodies through really too good to be true?

As Dr Marsden explains on a BBC website: “A person taking a sauna would have to sweat profusely for over ten hours just to remove the same amount of toxins released when they take a pee!”.

Although the claims of many detox treatments can’t be backed up scientifically it doesn’t mean they don’t offer benefits. There’s no doubt that massages, body wraps, saunas etc. feel wonderful and are a great way to relax from the stresses and strains of daily life. The psychological benefits of detox shouldn’t be underestimated then, but it’s probably worth being a little bit more realistic about what we believe they’ll achieve.