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Clay Therapy

by Judy Phillips

Taking a clay bath is an effective way to help assist the body in the elimination of toxic substances.

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It has always been of interest to me why clay therapy has not become more popular. As simple as it seems, no one really comprehends exactly how or why it works, although it has generated the interest of numerous researchers around the world. One that comes to mind is French Naturopath Raymond Dextreit, who is probably the most famous and experienced clay therapist known.
In his book, Earth Cures Dextreit wrote: "One of clay's peculiarities is based on its physical-chemical domination. From a thermo-dynamic point of view, clay is effective through a dynamic presence far more significant than a mere consideration of the substances it contains. It is a catalyst rather than an agent in itself. This is possible because clay is alive, 'living earth'."
Pure clay gives us the healing power of Mother Earth and there could be nothing more important in health and medicine, especially at this very moment in time. In this age of toxicity, our bodies have to negotiate with thousands of poisonous chemicals each and every day--deadly substances that are flowing into our bodies in the air, water, food, and even the medicines we take.
Two words that are important to remember when talking about clay are adsorption and absorption. The two words are similar, but their differences are fundamental to understanding how clay functions and works in the body.  Clays that have the propensity to both absorb and adsorb are called active clays, as they are able to change and exchange.        

Adsorption is the process by which the charged particles of other substances combine with the charged particles on the outer surface of the clay molecule.
Absorption is a slower and more complicated process. All absorbent clays have a charge on their inner layers. This means that charged ions sit between the layers of the clay molecule surrounded by water molecules. The expanded clay draws foreign substances that are absorbed and fill the spaces between the clay molecule's stacked layers. Absorbent clay will absorb positively charged ions and impurities and ignore negatively charged nutrients.
Another beneficial characteristic of clay is its uniquely large surface area. This is particularly true of the bentonite family of clays which is structured like a credit card. The flat surface is negatively charged, with positive charges along the edges. Mineralogists have discovered that a single gram of this clay has a surface area of 800 square meters. This gives the clay huge binding capability when it comes to removing toxins.
The medical community has some mixed feelings about clay and actually does not deal with it separately from the ingestion of common dirt or soil. In both medicine and psychology we have what is called "Geophagia", which is the deliberate ingestion of soil.
One of the benefits of consuming clay orally, in addition to its detoxifying effects, is the wide range of trace minerals you receive. If you look at an analysis of "consumable" types of clay, the number of trace minerals present is astounding. Practically every mineral you can imagine will be there. This impressive assortment of minerals includes calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, manganese, and silica, as well as trace elements (those appearing in very tiny amounts).
Clays with the right mineral content have been consumed safely for thousands of years. The secret is to limit any clay consumption to ones that are known to be safe. In addition, since clay has such strong absorption and adsorptive properties, it is best not to take it with your vitamins or at the same time you take medications. The optimal protocol would be to take it on an empty stomach and then wait at least two hours before taking any necessary medication.
There are numerous things you may experience after ingesting clay. It is not uncommon to experience easier, more frequent bowel movements. In the beginning, stools may have a stronger odor depending on the amount of contaminants. It is important to drink plenty of water, as clay has a tendency to absorb water. Clay also has a propensity to clean or scrub the bowel walls. This tends to improve digestion and absorption, which in turn translates into increased energy. Some people have even experienced fewer overall aches and pains, improved skin conditions, and numerous other benefits associated with detoxification.
The pure healing power of the earth evident in living clays creates a better platform for the body to recover from illness, as it propels the immune system to health, strengthening the body to a higher point of resistance, something no allopathic medicine achieves. Clay maintains its molecular integrity. It does not break down and assimilate into the body. It sustains a molecular whole as it passes through the body, acting like a vacuum cleaner or sponge to carry poisons out of the body.
Since it is naturally absorbent and extremely gentle on the system, clay can assist with ailments affecting digestion, circulation, menstruation, and the liver, skin, and prostate. Clay also helps with symptoms of arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, gum disease, and migraines.
There are also numerous external applications of clay, such as clay baths, compresses, slurries, and clay packs (poultices). These therapies can yield excellent benefits.
Clay has been utilized for centuries, and is used to treat everything from tired achy muscles to heavy metal poisoning, radiation and chemical/pesticide exposure. Taking a clay bath is one of the most effective methods in existence to help assist the body in the elimination of toxic substances which have accumulated, without stimulating the release of toxins into major organs. It is also important to choose carefully when selecting a clay for your detox bath. While particular clays are ideal and others are acceptable, experts would agree that clean, raw, natural bentonite clays are the best-swelling sodium bentonites in particular. There is a lot of information available on how clay should be used, and native tribes and animals have used it successfully for thousands of years.

Judy Phillips, M.H., is a Master Herbalist, author of numerous articles, and President of LL's Magnetic Clay, Inc., a company dedicated to informing the public of the benefits of detoxification, remineralization and healing. For more information and to check out the Magnetic Clay product line, please visit www.magneticclay.com.

Related Info:
Brenda Watson on the importance of detoxification
Linda Page, N.D. on detoxification, herbs, and supplements
Dr. Elson Haas on detoxification
Ann Louise Gittleman on Detox for Health
Spring Cleansing with Ayurveda
Detoxification: The Fast Lane to Vitality
Do You Need to Detox?
Saunas for Detoxification
Detoxing the Liver
Detoxification and The Detox Diet: An Important Healing Process  

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