Starting Fresh: 5 Detox Traditions From Around the World

Photo credit: Rebecca Lehrer
So fresh and so clean, clean.
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Here at The Mash-Up Americans, we love a new beginning, whether that takes shape as the start of a new year a new moon. And what better way to start fresh than to draw from tradition? Here are five ways people around the world clarify mind, body and soul. We plan to partake in each. Enjoy.

1. Ayurvedic Treatments

Photo credit: Marketing Deluxe/Flickr
Photo credit: Marketing Deluxe/Flickr

Ayurvedic medicine is based on the idea that the body, like the universe, is made up of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. Your particular combination of elements, or dosha, governs your physical and mental well being. You a fire and water person? Then you should probably avoid sour foods this year. [Editor’s note: This is problematic for our kimchi-and-kosher-pickle-eating Mash-Up Team.] After an assessment, an ayurvedic practitioner will recommend a course of treatment including massage, aromatherapy, herbs and cleansing foods and tonics. Learn more at sites and start your search for a practitioner at The National Ayurvedic Medical Association and The International Society for Ayurveda and Health.

2. Finnish Sauna

Photo Credit: Hotel Arthur/Flickr
Photo credit: Hotel Arthur/Flickr

Saunas are a place of healing, purification, and a meditative calm for Finns around the world. The majority of Finnish homes have one. The Finnish parliament has one. All Finnish diplomatic and consular missions globally have their own sauna. Finnish immigrants to the United States, of course, brought their saunas with them. [Editor’s note: If you don’t happen to have a Scandinavian friend with a private place to sweat it out, the Korean jimjilbang can be found in K-towns across America, with offerings from medicinal to funhouse.]

3. Cupping and Scraping

Photo credit: Renato Ganoza
Photo credit: Renato Ganoza

We admit this one sounds a little unnerving, even to huge fans of Traditional Chinese Medicine (that’s us!). But cupping and scraping, which use pressure and suction to increase blood flow and release toxins blocking the body, can be hugely beneficial for rejuvenating sluggish muscles, improving digestion, and reducing swelling. Acupuncturists and other practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine will offer cupping and scraping. You can start your search for a local professional on the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

4. Shabbos

Photo credit: Justin Corbett
Photo credit: Justin Corbett

A day of rest. Observant Jewish families leave work behind from sundown Friday evening to sundown Saturday. We think this is a good idea. This is about family and focus and love and unplugging from your work-life to plug into your personal and spiritual life. Pick your day, but everybody needs a day of rest, right? Not one where you do a million errands and feel guilty, but where your friends come over and you take a walk and make dinner and you just are.

5. The Juice Cleanse

Photo credit: Barry Silver/Flickr
Photo credit: Barry Silver/Flickr

We thought we’d throw in an American trend in detoxing: the juice cleanse. Of all the juice cleanses, the Master Cleanse is the most DIY (meaning you don’t have to order a bunch of things for a lot of money). If you can stick with lemons, cayenne pepper, honey and water for a week…you will certainly feel a little pep in your step. [Editor’s Note: This is too hard for us. Please let us know if it works for you]

What are your detox traditions? Share them with us on Twitter #mashupdetox!

Posted by Rebecca Lehrer
Rebecca is co-founder and chief executive of The Mash-Up Americans. A Salvadoran-Jewish-American married to an American-American, she has worked for 10+ years in media, arts and culture. She creates cultural experiences, brings people together, and introduces newbies to Armenian string cheese. You can follow her @beccale and find her in Los Angeles.

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