Spa detox programs try to remove environmental and dietary toxins from the body in order to promote health. People who detox at spas generally lose weight, gain energy, and become calmer. But not all detox programs are alike, so do your research on the best detox spas to make sure you get into the right detox program for you.
What Is Detoxing?
It's important to understand what spas mean when they talk about detoxing the body. Detox can be overused as a buzzword....and many doctors dismiss the idea of detoxing altogether. But it makes more sense if you think about four kinds of toxicity, and how detox spas target them.
- The body's waste products are targeted through treatments that support the body's own detoxification systems. These treatments include colon hydrotherapy and herbal enemas, which cleanse the colon, along with detoxifying spa treatments like lymphatic drainage massage, and body wraps. The idea here is that you are helping your body excrete waste products in a safe way that leaves you feeling better.
- Dietary toxins like alcohol, caffeine and white sugar are removed. Any destination spa will help you add healthy fruits and vegetables and cut out unhealthy foods, but true detox spas specialize in juice fasting and other programs intended to give your digestive system a break.
- Psychological toxins like stress and worry are countered by meditation, yoga and other techniques that help you change negative mental habits.
- The most difficult toxins in our body to get rid of are the environmental pollutants and chemicals that have entered through diet (pesticides, mercury in fish, chemical-lined cookware, drinking water, etc.) and lifestyle (dry-cleaned clothes, home furnishings with chemicals, etc.) These can be addressed at spas primarily with panchakarma, the Ayurvedic detox available at special panchakarma spas.
Considering What You Want
Many detox diets rely on juice fasting, which can stimulate motivation, creativity, and spiritual awareness, and be a boost during life transitions. At a spa, you do get group support, which can make it much easier, but not everyone will want to drink their meals. You will probably want to do some research on the benefits of juice fasting, how to prepare for a fast, side effects, who should not try a fast, and why some critics don't like fasting before you commit to a stay at a juice fasting spa.
There are other styles of detox spas or destination spas that have detox programs. When considering a detox spa, ask yourself these questions:
- What's the detox diet: juice fast, raw food, vegetarian/vegan, or meals with a meat option?
- Is there medical supervision?
- Are you going through the detox program with other people, or is it self-directed?
- Is there colon hydrotherapy available?
- Do you want the Ayurvedic detox called panchakarma, and will you commit to major dietary changes for 3-4 weeks or longer?
- Does the detox spa offer educational lectures, and what are the qualifications of the lecturers?
- Are the surroundings luxurious or rustic?
- How much does it cost?
Ideally, detox should not be a short-term purge, but a lifestyle. The best detox spas give you the tools to maintain a healthier lifestyle through better food choices, stress reduction techniques like meditation, and knowledge of how to reduce your exposure to chemicals.