Ayurvedic practitioner Maxine Shorto shares her views on the toxicities of modern life and how the ayurvedic approach to detoxification can be beneficial to all body types. Learn about Rashid Bhuttar’s seven toxicities, the foundations of ayurvedic detoxification and book an online Ayurvedic consultation with Maxine.
In all fields of knowledge from agriculture to medicine we are discovering the interconnectedness of things and the energetics of consciousness. Quantum physics tells us that all matter is energy, and consciousness determines our reality. We are coming away from the old science of seeing living things as separate from their habitat, seeing humans as machines without agency. We have learnt as Dave Jacke says beautifully in his article on Forest Gardens: “The experience of separation in an interconnected universe is in itself a form of trauma.” Now more than ever we should be learning how to re-connect with our habitat in a way that is healing to our planet and ourselves.
Seven toxicities of modern life
But first we have to break away from the conditioning. We are being conditioned to use the old lenses of an atomised science, to focus upon pathologies, bacteria, viruses, and vaccines. Rudolph Steiner in his book on epidemics rightly reminds us “bacteria (or viruses) are the symptom not the cause of the disease. The presence of these creatures tells us only that the habitat suits them. We need to focus on studying the habitat.” So what do we know about our habitat today? I think Rashid Bhuttar’s seven toxicities describe the current reality we find ourselves in. The modern consumerist world has implanted seven poisons that essentially are the cause of all disease:
1 – Heavy metal toxicities, from industry, pharmaceuticals and vaccines
2 – Persistent organic pollutants, fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, exhaust fumes
3 – Oppurtunistics such as bacteria and viruses
4 – Electro magnetic radiation, microwave technology, 4g/5g
5 – Emotional psychological, fear, anxiety, depression, stress, and disempowerment
6 – Foods, pasteurization, irradiation, processed
7 – Spiritual, the pursuit of material gratification and security at the expense of spiritual joy and freedom
As Zac Bush who talks about the gut micro biome says, parasites help regulate normal, healthy cellular function. Germs and viruses are not the cause of disease. It is the environment that makes humans more vulnerable to infection particularly when the eco system has been wiped out by glyphosates, which then makes us prone to the invasive behaviour of bacteria. That’s what we have done with the antibiotics era, and it is not sustainable. Six decades into the regime of killing bacteria we are prescribing 18 million antibiotics a year in the UK and there are now 4100 antibiotic resistant bloodstream infections. Then we are pouring antibiotics into the food chain by giving it to animals and into the soil through roundup.
We have given up our food independence for the pursuit of wealth and convenience. In the process we have become estranged from nature and have created large chemical companies who outsource our food production. The popularity of permaculture in England is testament to the fact that people no longer believe that the economic and political systems we live in can be relied upon to give us this toxic free world nor do they seem committed to reducing our carbon emissions. As an Ayurvedic practitioner, I have seen how powerful something as simple as ground coriander seeds along with changes in diet can be in curing infections, infections that several courses of antibiotics have often failed to stop. I have also seen how Ayurveda can help to detoxify the body, and allow us to let go of sadness, fear, anger, depression and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs or other destructive substances.
Ayurveda tells us that there are three gunas (or qualities of existence) – sattva, rajas and tamas. If you imagine a candle saatva is the light, raja is the flame and tamas is the wax. Saatva is the light of consciousness, awareness of our collective humanity. Rajas are kinetic energy, desire, attraction, it is the I am, I do, I want mode of thinking. Tamas is the opposite of the subtle saatva, it is inertia, heaviness and matter. To become pure of thought and pure of body we must become saatvic with the light of consciousness, and not focus our awareness on the body and its desires and attachments. Ayurveda helps us to do this by making us aware of our cosmic anatomy, our connectedness to the elements, the seasons and their influence on our digestion.
Agni (or digestive fire) is responsible for neutralizing toxins, assimilating and metabolizing. When agni becomes imbalanced our metabolism is affected. So if we have too much internal heat through emotions such as anger, and foods such as alcohol, tomatoes, chilli, fermented foods, and salty foods, our agni will become tikshna, sharp and acidic leading to inflammation, infection, and the accumulation of toxins. If we are drawn to the element of air and we are eating to many cold, dry, and light foods, such as oats, nuts and salads our digestion becomes irregular leading to toxins building up in our gut in the form of constipation. An irregular agni can also cause energy to concentrate in our minds, where mental toxins can become fear, anxiety and insomnia. If we are drawn to the earth element in overconsumption of sweet and heavy foods our digestion becomes slow and congested, clogging and weakening the organs. This can lead to depression, and attachments.
So Ayurvedic detoxification begins with our digestion, and changing our habits of mind and body. Going back to Steiner’s idea of the bacteria or virus as symptoms, we can also say that toxins are not the root cause of the disease, but are clues as to where we are holding emotions in the subtle body, and what patterns of behaviour are creating our consciousness, our diseased reality. Ayurvedic massage is very helpful as it not only allows for internal cleansing but it connects us to our saatvic nature giving us the space to let go of those emotions that lock us in disease. For four or so days before a massage the patient is usually given medicated ghee, which creates a thin film of oil along the bodies channels allowing the toxins in the connective tissue to move. The external oleation then encourages the movement of toxins to the intestinal tract, and nourishes the nervous system. Herbal enemas are given to clear the gut of these toxins, and herbs are given to balance the digestion. Ayurvedic medicine contains many herbs; there are the herbs that carry, the herbs that catalyse and the herbs that balance. This is known as anupana, using a combination of plants to moderate and synergize the effect, so that there are no side effects.
So the awareness we need to detoxify ourselves is to see the interconnectedness of self to the elements, of physical to mental, emotional to spirit, of man to nature and of nature to biodiversity. Good health does not come in a syringe, or a pill or an aseptic bubble; good health comes from our healthy interaction with food, family, community and habitat.
Maxine Shorto is a qualified Ayurvedic massage therapist who has been working with body treatments since 2005. She has completed a three year course to work as an Ayurvedic practitioner at the Ayurvedic Institute in Croydon.
Want to learn more about the subtle imbalances of your body? Learn about the appropriate nutrition and lifestyle for your unique body type during an Ayurvedic consultation. Click here to book a 60-minute online Ayurvedic consultation with Maxine.