top of page

The Differences Between a Cleanse & a Detox

It is more than semantics. The differences between a cleanse and detox may seem like the same thing but in health they present a drastic difference in what they do and the results the produce. In our flurry to feel better can overlook important aspects of the tools available for our support. In some respects there certainly are similarities between a cleanse and detox but their focus, intent and result are completely different.


I believe it is important to know what your body is asking for so you can provide the right solution. In doing so, we not only support the body’s need but we build health and provide ourselves with the right tools in the process. When it comes to working in the natural health space listening to our body as a complete being, in mind-body-spirit, is center for all the decisions and approaches we take to supporting our health. If we don’t take this vital step then natural health becomes just like Western medicine, in that, we apply one-sized-fits-all prescriptive answers and hope for the best.

That is not healing or building health.


How to know if you need a cleanse or a detox?

Often when we seek a cleanse or detox we are looking for support to eliminate something that is blocking, preventing, or impairing our body’s ability to function properly. We are seeking enhancement to performance by clearing pathways, meridians and channels used throughout the body to carry nutrients, messages and vital functions from head to toe.


Before embarking on either a cleanse or detox, it is important first to understand what each is and why and when you should use one. Your body naturally cleanses and detoxes on its own so before you introduce additional tools and products to self-induce a cleanse or detox it is also important to understand what you are doing, know the expected results and what tools are appropriate.


Working with a natural health holistic practitioner is the best way to find a cleanse or detox that is right for your needs, if it is necessary at all.


A cleanse is the elimination or clearing of something in the digestive, bowel or urinary system. It is literally a cleansing so you can then support improvements of building appropriate digestive flora (bacteria) and enhancing how these systems work when you eat, digest and eliminate foods.


Again, your body does this naturally each time you use the restroom. However, at time we may need to support these processes by assisting in the removal of waste that builds up and is impacting our overall health.


Most commonly cleanses are believed necessary for those times when we feel discomfort in our digestion or are experiencing regular bouts of symptoms in these areas. Mainstream dieting trends will have you believe a cleanse helps you reduce water weight, bloat, and things “held up” in your body that are not being eliminated properly. These can be true but the best way to use a cleanse is for digestive support improvements in the journey of overall lifestyle changes you are making to improve digestion and elimination functions.


A detox on the other hands also works to eliminate but has a different focus. Our liver, being the largest organ in the body, is specifically designed for detoxification. This organ boasts enzymes that pathways that bind to toxins found in the body and breaks them down for elimination. Your liver also supports over 200 functions of the body ensuring it has what it needs in terms of clear pathways to optimally run.


Detoxification can become bogged down due to toxins. Whereas a cleanse can also be toxin related it is more focused on food we consume. Detoxes are centered in toxins from all environmental, mental, food, stress and situational circumstances our body, mind and heart/spirit are exposed. When you detox it is much more intense with the result being a functional reset of the performance of your liver.


For both cleanses and detoxes it is important to also note that undergoing these processes is not a free ticket to revert back to the situations and circumstances that led you to this need. The best mindset to have is using it for a launch into self-improvement for body-mind-heart/spirit. Whether those changes address lifestyle stress, eating habits, routines or general health it is vital to have alignment in your whole being that this is a move forward and not just something to rinse and repeat. You cannot continually cleanse or detox without appropriate healing before your body further sees these as just further abuses and exposures to things it cannot process.


One of the things I found helpful before I took on an 8 week detox program was to make sure my basics were in a good place. For a couple months leading up to the detox, I focused on being consistent with hydration, cleaning up my diet and improving stress levels in my life. These steps made the detox I did much easier to see progress and build on the success from that point.


Types of Cleanses

From juice cleanses, hydration cleanses, vitamin and herbals and all in between, there are many types of cleanses available and all come with their own experiences and results. The more drastic cleanses can leave you in the restroom quite frequently while others can introduce flatulence and stomach discomforts. There are some things to look for when considering what type of cleanse may be best for you. Working with a natural health holistic practitioner is fantastic for helping your sort through the benefits and value of cleanses and find products that work best with your body without the added discomforts.