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Detox therapy: The pros and cons
Kanchana Banerjee
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June 26, 2007

For the sake of 'getting a life', we often forget to live. I truly had, though I had never known or realised it. A hyperactive person, ever juggling multiple tasks at a time I was stressed, exhausted and irritable, and too busy to notice or do anything about it. That was until destiny led me to a spa to interview the expert who works magic with her fingers -- releasing the bottled up tension and soothing the frayed nerves of others like me.

A die-hard cynic, I would smirk at alternate therapies such as naturopathy, reflexology and the like, dispelling them as mere mumbo-jumbo. Let me be the first to admit how wrong I was! The experience was an eye-opener and a revelation of sorts!

For the uninitiated, naturopathy is the science that recognises the vital forces that heal the body from within. It believes in aiding this vital force by cleansing the body and improving its many functions. Osteopathy is the manipulation of the skeletal and muscular systems, and activation of vital energy points in the body. Reflexology is a holistic treatment involving the application of pressure to reflex points on feet and hands.

A combination of osteopathy and reflexology relaxes the nervous system, enhances elimination of toxins from within, improves blood circulation, tones the digestive system and improves the efficiency of the respiratory system. When all systems of the body function at their optimal best, a state of calm and balance is achieved.

Well, nirvana doesn't come easy as I discovered. I opted for an hour-long body therapy, which included osteopathy and reflexology.

As directed, I lay supine in a semi-darkened room. Lying still, trying to calm my mind in the middle of a workday with two deadlines looming large wasn't exactly easy. I had to control the growing urge to check the time and my mobile.

The session involved the application of pressure at various points -- some of which had me yelping in pain. It's not really painful; I just don't have a high threshold of pain. But most of it is because of bad lifestyle, and incorrect sitting and sleeping postures. I was told that there would be some side effects but I was not adequately prepared for what I actually went through.

The effects of the session began surfacing within two hours. Restlessness, discomfort and excessive thirst marred whatever was left of the day. The morning after was difficult worse. The severity of symptoms depends on the lifestyle you have led and how much you have abused your body with stress, overwork and other toxins. Mine reacted strongly, to put it mildly.

My uneasiness heightened as the day progressed making me doubt the efficacy of the session and question her technique. Panic calls to the spa followed. The doctor, on hearing my list of complaints, was (to my surprise) ecstatic! "The toxins from your body are coming out," is what she said. By the measure of my misery, I was a reservoir of toxins though I never had any complaints before.

Day 2 dragged by and I had to resist reaching out for a pill. Doctor's orders: do not take any medication to relieve the aches; they will interfere with what has been done. Cranky and irritable, I spent much of the day gulping endless bottles water while vowing never to have a detox session again.

Day 3 was when it finally kicked in. I awoke renewed, refreshed and recharged. It was as though I had woken after having slept for a hundred years. I worked at breakneck speed, not tiring at all and felt I do much more.

The energy and peace it brought was well worth the two days of restlessness and discomfort and I'm looking forward to the second session.

If you would like to try the detox experience, here are some things to keep in mind:

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