You might think that December is a strange time to detox. Most of us think of spring as the season to let go and start anew. December is also a great time to detox! Why? Because we are bombarded with stimuli that can throw off our sense of balance; between the shopping craze, family gatherings, rich food, constant parties, and expectations, that can throw off our sense of balance.
Statistically, New Year’s Eve is the holiday that Americans drink the most alcohol, though Christmas is not very far behind. Drinking alcohol can have inflammatory effects, including fatigue, tremors, anxiety, restlessness, and even increased blood pressure, that are often felt during a “hangover”. Aside from moderating your intake of adult beverages, you can “pre-detox” by following these steps:
Taking the following supplements before drinking have been proven to stave off the effects of over-indulgence: Thiamine, Milk Thistle, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). NAC is particularly helpful. It is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It is known to help increase glutathione and reduce the acetaldehyde toxicity that causes many hangover symptoms. Try taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink to help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects.
1) Try this age old Mediterranean remedy: take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking to help prevent hangover.
2) Stay hydrated before and after drinking: coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes.
A relaxing way to detox and wind down in December is to take a nice, hot bath. Detox baths are great when you feel like you need to reset your body. Plus, detox baths have health benefits that last long after the bath is over. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Essential Oil Detox Bath– Combine a handful of Epsom salt, ½ cup of baking soda and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. Our suggestions are organic lavender oil for calming, chamomile for soothing an aching head, and rosemary for rejuvenation. Add all ingredients to the bath, then soak for 20 minutes. This combination draws out toxins and lowers stress-related hormones, while balancing your pH levels.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Bath– This bath only has one superstar ingredient. Pour 1-2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar into a hot bath. Apple cider vinegar baths are great when you feel like you want to sweat out toxins and reduce inflammation. Soak for 30 minutes in the hot bath, and make sure you rehydrate with plenty of water: this bath will make you sweat! Apple cider vinegar baths are particularly helpful with certain conditions, like arthritis and gout. Check with your doctor if you have any health conditions, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition before using this natural apple cider vinegar detox bath recipe.
3) Baking Soda Detox Bath– That little box you usually keep in your fridge can actually help neutralize the chlorine added to many urban water sources! And just as it absorbs odors, it can absorb toxins from your body. Add 1 cup Epsom salt, 2 cups baking soda, and (optional) 10 drops glycerin to hot bath water, then soak for at least 30 minutes.
4) Ginger Detox Bath- This one is GREAT for December since it helps invigorate the body and may help stave off the common cold. Add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger or ½ cup of freshly grated ginger to a hot or warm bath. Soak for 15-20 minutes, and drink plenty of water afterwards! Please keep in mind that the ginger bath will likely make you sweat for at least an hour afterwards, so wear a bathrobe. If you are allergy-prone or have sensitive skin, test ginger on your skin for irritation before dipping into the bath.
Taking a bath will prep you for one of the most interesting and overlooked ways we can detox in December: get more sleep. Did you know that your brain has a unique waste management system, similar to the lymphatic system in your body? This system, dubbed the glymphatic system, is activated during sleep! By pumping cerebral spinal fluid through your brain’s tissues, the glymphatic system flushes the waste from your brain and back into your body’s circulatory system. From there, the waste eventually reaches your liver, where it’s ultimately eliminated. The season of winter is the time to rest in Chinese medicine, so make time for yourself amidst the chaos of December to let yourself get some good quality zzzzz’s.
Lastly, we offer a variety of detox treatments at Balance Integrative Health. Acupuncture, nutrition and massage work very well together to provide a complete detox experience. Try one of our package specials to help you detox mind, body and spirit this season!