Faith, relaxation and detoxification

Faith, relaxation and detoxification

Ten years after a friend first put it in my hands, I’m finally reading Conscious Eating by Gabrielle Cousens. In my past, I rejected books pontificating godliness or daring to use biblical quotes to support an argument. Maybe this spurning was a hangover from rebelling against the nuns at secondary school or the remnants of an adolescent, cynical atheistic stance. I’ve obviously cleared those patterns, as now I’m reading Cousens’ book with interest and growing inspiration.

Although I don’t quite feel the need to sing Hallelujah out loud, I do recognise intellectually, physically and emotionally how fundamental faith is to health, wellbeing and detoxification.

Cousens mixes nutritional science, traditional healing systems and Essene spiritualism. The Essenes were the Jewish sect Jesus was born into. They were vegetarian and peace-loving during that brutal period. Conscious Eating focuses on assisting individuals to create their own unique, living wholefood diets, based on their oxidative patterns, nervous system tendencies and predominant Aryuvedic doshas. Crafting an individualised path has the aim of enhancing personal clarity, vitality and spiritual atonement.

The effect of faith on health and healing has many dimensions, though it’s difficult to quantify. The Women’s Health Initiative, a study of 100,000 women over 50 years of age since 1994, established that women who are optimistic are 30 per cent less likely to have heart disease and have a 44 per cent reduced risk of dying of cancer. Although there was no direct report regarding faith, it did show that the optimistic women were more trusting which, in such a large study, implies some health benefits of trust. The Seventh Day Adventists boast impressive health statistics compared with the average American, in particular over 60 per cent reduced risk of cancer. Adventists follow a plant-based diet, don’t smoke and regularly exercise, so it certainly isn’t their faith alone protecting them.

There’s little doubt that faith, trust and love have huge benefits on health. I propose three areas of how faith effects detoxification.

First, detox requires one vital ingredient for its success: relaxation. When we relax our body slips into parasympathetic nervous system mode. This gear enhances digestion and assimilation, repair and restoration. It’s the mode that allows our hair follicles to relax rather than stand on end. This “rest and digest” mode uses more sedating neurotransmitters. It’s in this relaxed state that the body can handle deeper cleansing.

In a stressed-out state, detox won’t happen as deeply, because the body energy is not being used for cleansing. It’s more concerned with survival and the short-term goals it’s challenged with. Faith enhances relaxation. A belief in something greater, that is benevolent, of course, provides a sense of security and surety of mind that incurs a more relaxed disposition.

Second, faith can help one access healing energies. As a practitioner, I know that if I set an intention of healing beyond my own small self, the session is more effective than I could ever have expected.

In my recent Ayurvedic panchakarma cleanse, the practitioners would worship the Hindu deity Dhanwantari. At the beginning of every day, a ritual would take place at the garden shrine, with offerings, prayers and chants bestowed unto the many eyed and armed icon. Before every therapy session, a Sanskrit mantra was chanted, asking for guidance and access to the divine healing forces. They had faith that this healing energy tapped through the energy of Dhanwantari provided the abundant loving healing energy for their work. They went about their work with great care and grace. They understood they could work within this god’s love to provide the healing effect rather than draw on their personal energy supplies. These therapists worked nine hours a day, six days a week and never once did I sense a lack or drop in the energy they provided in treatment. Even if this idol worship is a delusion, it worked wonders for my friends there, enabling them to access the state of loving compassion essential to healing.

Third, detoxification, and particularly fasting, is often propelled by the motivation to attain greater attunement to the divine. Therefore, having faith may well motivate one towards more cleansing practices and regular detoxing periods. As Gabrielle puts it, “If the subtle channels of the body are not blocked due to undisciplined habits of eating and an immoderate lifestyle, the spiritualising energy is able to act with its full force.”

I asked raw food expert David Wolfe what he thought the most accurate measurement of vitality was and he said “to feel good”. Cleansing enables us to feel more. When we cleanse our body, we become more sensitive to things.

Physiologically, we have unfettered metabolic function. Mentally, we are clearer, have sharper perceptions and are able to form distinctions. We are more likely to “be in the now”. From a soul perspective, we’re more in tune with and trusting of our intuition and more at home with the flowing of our emotions. Spiritually, we’re more likely to become inspired and access the subtle creative energies.

Cleansing our body reveals the actuality of interconnectedness. Of how we are utterly connected with our earth, all its beings and the cosmos around us. And, though I almost cringe to write it myself after years of resistance, we get more in touch with the divine or what is divine inside us all.

Sally Mathrick is a practising, university naturopath and runs Sound Medicine, a naturopathic consultancy providing workplace wellness solutions and health education.


Faith, relaxation and detoxification

By: The WellBeing Team

The growing inspiration inside Conscious Eating by Gabrielle Cousens.


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