From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Detox: Products and Hands-On Technique for Healthy Detoxification,” , in the July 2010 issue. Article summary: No matter how healthy we try to live, we cannot escape toxins, and as the public becomes increasingly knowledgeable about pollution’s effects on the environment—and, in turn, on their bodies—they will increasingly turn to health professionals to assist them in the detoxification process. Massage therapists have access to many effective products and techniques to help them lead the way in detoxification.

by Jonathan Selzer, Ph.D.

Everyone knows drinking water is a good thing, especially after a massage session. There are, of course, many well-known reasons for this. Pre-treatment intoxification is the process in which toxic substances enter and accumulate in your body. After-treatment hydration helps, for example, to rid the body of the toxins that were released during massage.

Water works wonders, but there is something even better: The after-treatment hydration offers an excellent opportunity to provide clients with dietary supplements, which support the detoxification process.

The medicinal mushrooms reishi, maitake, shiitake and cordyceps are rich in polysaccharides, which promote a healthy and vigorous liver, the superman of detoxification. Another powerful detoxifying herb is the European milk thistle.

Green and white tea, the acai berry, pomegranate and mangosteen, rich in polyphenols, support liver function and the detoxification process, in addition to their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers.

Detoxification is not the liver’s job alone. You rid yourself of toxic substances through your skin, kidneys and intestines. There are many herbal supplements, which target the health of these organs. Your skin is supported by green and white tea, and any of the antioxidant superfruits, of which pomegranate is of particular importance. Cranberry and elderberry help promote healthy kidneys. Finally, all the antioxidant polyphenols help nurture healthy intestines.

Let’s get back to the water. There are different methods of taking dietary supplements, most of which include the use of water. The most common method is to swallow a dietary supplement pill with water. This method has, however, its disadvantages.

Absorption of pills can be difficult, as the pill must first be broken down before digestion can even begin. You are also introducing a very concentrated “bullet” of active material to a small area of your digestive tract. This further reduces absorption and can even cause damage to the tissues. Also, one gulp of water is often enough to swallow the pill, but not enough to hydrate.

It’s best to have a method that not only promotes more drinking, but also improves absorption and bio-availability. This is easily achieved with liquid concentrates. By diluting a liquid supplement in water, your clients will gladly drink more water. The active components are spread around more generously and absorption starts as soon as it passes her lips. Besides, sipping a delicious hydrating drink is relaxing in itself and supports your massage treatment long after the client leaves the session.

Jonathan Selzer, technical director at HerbaSway Laboratories, earned his doctorate degree in lipid nutrition at the University of Hamburg in Germany. He worked in Germany and France for many years. In 2001, Selzer returned to the U.S. to devote himself to the development and manufacture of liquid dietary supplements at HerbaSway Laboratories. He lives with his family in Connecticut, where he also plays oboe in various civic orchestras and builds sculptures in the backyard to annoy the neighbors.