by Dr. Premal Patel: Do you ever experience feeling “not quite right,” even though nobody can tell you exactly what’s wrong? In Ayurveda, there are several early warning signs when an imbalance is present, and these happen long before an actual labeled disease or illness sets in. One of the most frequent triggers for these imbalances is when the body is unable to adequately rid itself of toxic materials that tend to accumulate, both in gross and subtle ways.
This toxic buildup happens for a variety of reasons. Internally, if your digestion isn’t up to snuff, the body’s inability to process and transform food can leave undigested residue that putrefies and blocks channels. Simultaneously, if the body’s waste removal systems, particularly bowel movements, aren’t optimal, then further toxicity accumulates in the system. And finally, there are numerous external exposures to pollutant and irritant materials that also settle in the system.
You can assess the level of toxic buildup in your body using the following five signs culled from Ayurvedic tradition:
1. Thick coating on the tongue.
Ayurveda recommends looking at your tongue every day to gauge your overall health. A thick white coating (or sometimes even yellow) indicates the presence of toxicity. The heavier and more prevalent the coating, the deeper the clogging runs in your system. Using a tongue cleaner helps clear the tongue and also starts to stimulate the digestive system to support natural cleansing.
2. Unexplained body aches.
While muscle, joint, and other general body aches can happen for a number of reasons which should be evaluated by your health care practitioner, when there’s no other identifiable cause, it often means there’s toxic waste built up in the system. If there’s also excess heat in the system, there may even be associated inflammation and very low-grade fever.
3. Lethargy after eating.
Eating provides the body with fuel. When digestion is optimal, you should feel energized and content after eating. But when your digestive fire is struggling, eating a full meal may leave you lethargic, dull and even exhausted. If this happens frequently, it means your body isn’t able to deal with what’s being put into the system, and undigested food residue is surely accumulating and turning toxic.
4. Foggy thinking.
Do you find that when you need to be on your toes and make sharp, accurate decisions, your mind is in a fog and you can’t think clearly? This can also be a sign that there’s toxic buildup in the system.
5. Foul odors.
Does your breath frequently smell bad, even after you’re careful to brush, floss and gargle? Do you find yourself emitting a foul body odor, even sour or putrid in nature? Do you have frequent flatulence that is smelly? All of these body odors are signs that there is toxicity in the body that needs cleansing.
If you find that these signs describe you, and consider a cleansing program to help bring your system back into balance. You can find an Ayurvedic center to complete the Ayurvedic cleansing process called Panchakarma, or you can even start with a simple home cleanse. You’ll soon find yourself feeling (and smelling and thinking and looking) better!
To read more about the why’s and how’s of Ayurvedic cleansing read my e-book, Ayurvedic Waste Be Gone!