Vail health: Spring clean your body |

Vail health: Spring clean your body

VAIL, Colorado ” Every year, sometime near the middle of March, I sign up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. It’s the one time in my busy schedule when I give myself permission to release my worldly responsibilities and to simply meditate for 12 hours each day. Over the years, this spring retreat has become my annual ritual for simplifying my life, purifying my body and mind, and starting anew.

Almost every culture and religion has some form of physical purification and cleansing ritual. For example, Native Americans participate in various ceremonies that involve fasting and strenuous sweat lodges. Traditional Catholicism recommends fasting and dietary restriction on Fridays and during the holy season of Lent. Islamic followers fast extensively during the month of Ramadan. Hindus typically fast one day per week and utilize Ayurvedic oil massages and sweating therapies to remove toxic build-up. Scientologists undergo a specific course called “purification rundown” that combines exercise, supplements, and lengthy sauna immersions to detoxify the body. In Europe, water and heat treatments are ubiquitous in the form of hot springs and spas.

Cleansing is truly an ancient and cross-cultural phenomenon.

Unfortunately, most of us have lost our connection to this time-honored ritual. And we have fallen out of alignment with the optimal state of health and happiness. Today, more than ever, we are in need of periodic detoxification. We live in an extremely toxic world that makes it impossible to completely avoid coming into contact with toxins from our environment. Exposure takes place daily and in common forms such as chemicals in our food, heavy metals in our water, chemically-laden hygiene products, automobile exhaust, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, stress from work and family, and electromagnetic radiation from computers, cell phones, televisions, and microwave ovens ” just to name a few sources.

Our ability to detoxify the substances we encounter on a daily basis is fundamental to our well-being. We mainly rely on the liver, kidneys, and colon to process and excrete these toxicants from the body. Secondarily, we depend on the skin, lungs, and mucous membranes. When any of these pathways become overloaded or blocked, this can potentially lead to the unnatural accumulation of toxins in our bloodstream and tissues.

According to the naturopathic perspective, this toxic build-up may be the cause of many different symptoms and diseases in the body. That is to say that your present health concerns may be the result of intoxication.

Fortunately, your body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, given the chance to do so. When you remove the obstacles to cure and support the body’s elimination processes, you spontaneously move towards greater health.

It is my belief that a yearly detoxification is a panacea for the modern world. I’ve seen it reverse chronic illness, re-establish the basis for good health, increase energy and vitality, and eliminate the need for vices.

Spring is considered the most auspicious time to undertake such an endeavor. Therefore, I encourage you to be proactive in your healthcare this season and to establish your own spring cleansing ritual. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Nick Bitz is a naturopathic doctor at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic in Edwards. He can be reached by phone at 970-926-7606, or via e-mail at

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