This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
OPINION: DETOX M


y views will probably not endear me to spa operators. But it’s important they consider the other side of the argument.


I’ve been a qualified physician since 1978


and have also received hands-on training in acupuncture, autogenic training, herbalism, homeopathy, massage therapy and spinal manipulation. During the last 20 years, my research has focused on the critical evaluation of all aspects of medicine, but I do not aim to promote any therapy – my goal is to provide objective evidence and reliable information. Alternative detox comprises a range of treatments that claim to reduce toxins from the body. Ayurveda, colonics, lymph drain- age massage, exfoliation, saunas, hot tubs, organic food, filtered water, good quality air –to the best of my knowledge there is no ‘good evidence’ that any of them eliminate toxins. By good evidence, I mean scientific studies like randomised controlled trials, as these minimise as many sources of bias as possible.


EDZARD ERNST


Editor in chief, Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies; professor emeritus, University of Exeter


Some may say no evidence exists because alternative detox is a field that’s under- researched, but if the claim is not biologically plausible then why test it? If the treatments don’t work, people may be wasting money or could face harmful side-effects: sauna may result in heart problems in predisposed individuals and ayurvedic remedies are often contaminated with heavy metals, for instance. Spas that are making claims that are not supported by evidence are, in my view, dishonest, arguably illegal and unethical. The onus should be on those who make the claim to demonstrate that it’s valid. Spas could conduct their own studies – this would include defining the toxin they claim is eliminated in a


treatment and measuring it in a proper trial (as described). They would need to hire a scientist to conduct the study but it’s not necessarily a lengthy or expensive process. A meaningful study could be done in two to three months. It might cost around £20,000 (US$14,700, €12,150) but if it’s of sufficient quality, back- ing could come from official funding bodies such as the Medical Research Council in the UK. Having provable results is an essential precondition to making therapeutic claims.


Ernst has written a number of books critically evaluating alternative and complementary medicine. Details: www.edzardernst.com


Spas that are making claims that are not supported by evidence are, in my view, dishonest, arguably illegal and unethical


O


n a physical level, detox is about removing toxins from the body. On a psychophysiological level, it’s about removing imbalances


– tension or abnormalities anywhere in the body or mind – to restore proper function. The mind, body and emotions all need to be detoxed. Emotional stress, for example, stimulates the production of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol which can cause damage the heart and blood vessels. I’m not familiar with all spas, but many I’ve seen are superficial. Yet they have the potential to tackle detox at a deeper level which could fill a major gap in healthcare today. Two of the most powerful therapies in detox which also have well-documented scientific research behind them, are meditation and ayurveda. Along with my role at The Raj, I’m profes- sor and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Iowa. The institute receives federal funding to scientifically investigate natural approaches to healthcare. We’ve conducted randomised, controlled blind trials which show that detoxing of the mind via the transcendental meditation technique helps to prevent and


ROBERT SCHNEIDER Medical director, The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa


treat hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other stress related disorders. I’d recommend meditation as part of a mind-body detox programme, but it should be done every day. It’s something people could learn and take home with them rather than a one-off annual thing. Panchakarma, an holistic, ayurvedic


system, is especially effective in eliminating accumulated toxins and psychophysiological imbalances. It consists of five purification therapies with special herbs, massages, heating treatments, oil applications and gastrointestinal elimination to balance the brain, nervous system and the whole body. Notably Dr Robert Herron and Dr John Fagan [scientists at MUM] found that panchakarma reduced chemicals know as fat soluable tox- ins in the blood by 50 per cent. Their findings were published in the journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.


38 Read Spa Business online spabusiness.com/digital


Any spa that wants to avoid ineffective


detox treatments should employ methods with scientific evidence or at least methods of long tradition of use and preferably ancient. If something’s persisted for millenniums that itself suggests that it’s useful and helpful. Spas often have an eclectic mix of therapies


and clients don’t know what’s best for them. Ideally, a panel of experts would advise what individual combination would be most effec- tive. This might not sound practical, but if a spa really wants to resolve people’s problems, it needs to work at a deeper level. At the very least, programmes should be put together with a panel of interdisciplinary experts.


Schneider’s work at The Raj and MUM comprises teaching, research and clinical practice in integrative preventative healthcare. Details: www.theraj.com or www.mum.edu


Spa Business 1 2014 ©Cybertrek 2014


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110