Once the new mental and emotional framework has been established, the practical work of getting healthy begins. And it all starts with cleaning the body of both the chemo drugs and the dead cancer cells they destroyed. Detoxification is a kind of purification rite that acts as a gateway for all the marvelous life-enhancing changes that will take place during the healing process. It is vitally important that the toxic residue from cancer cells left behind by chemotherapy exits the body as quickly as possible. This step is about pushing the wastes of chemo out so they don’t keep circulating in the body, endangering the precious environment of the immune system.

Toxins leave the body in several ways. Here, we will concentrate on detoxification through the digestive system, the skin (the body’s largest organ), and the liver and bladder. Cancer cells that are killed off by chemotherapy, the chemo chemicals themselves, and other toxins left behind on the chemo battlefield circulate in the body until they are processed and expelled by the eliminative organs—the liver, kidneys, bladder, lungs, lymphatic system, colon, blood, and the largest of our organs, the skin.

The sooner the accumulated toxins leave the body, the better! In this step, I am setting out two scientifically grounded detoxification regimes that are easy and require little preparation or unique materials. They will help you to feel better faster.

External: Therapeutic Bathing

These four therapeutic baths come from the work of Dr. Hazel Parcells (1889-1996), a pioneer in nutrition and holistic healing; if you do the math on her dates, you will see that she lived into her 107th year. You can also find them in Live Better Longer, the book about Dr. Parcells and her natural healing methods. I recommend taking all four baths—one at a time, of course—over two weeks. Then begin the round again, separating baths by a few days.

Therapeutic bathing is another way of cleansing and, therefore, healing. Our skin is an organ of our bodies—the largest organ. Sixty-five percent of body cleansing is accomplished through our skin.

The Underlying Scientific Principle

The Parcells therapeutic baths are based on the chemical principle “the weak will draw from the strong.” The hot water bathing solution draws toxins from the body to the skin’s surface. Then, as the water cools, the toxins are pulled from the skin’s surface by the change in temperature and go into the water. The purification is brought about by the simple principle of nature that the weak (cool water) energy draws from the strong (body heated by the hot water).

It is essential to remain in the bath until the water cools to receive the full effect of these detoxifying therapeutic baths. Adding cold water to speed up the bath water’s cooling will change the bath’s chemistry, so that is not advised.

After leaving the tub, it is best to lie down covered with a blanket and allow your body to sweat freely, releasing more toxic build-up from the treatment process.

A general caution: Depending on where you are in chemo treatment, you may have to adjust the timing of these baths to make them tolerable to your system. You may find it uncomfortable and unpleasant to stay in the baths for more than ten or fifteen minutes. In that case, working up to a full therapeutic bath over several bathing sessions is best.

NOTE: Doing a therapeutic bath on the day of chemo treatment or the days before and after chemo is not advisable.

The Four Parcells Therapeutic Bathing Formulas

Formula 1

When to Do It: This formula is perfect after any scan. For instance, PET and CAT Scans will significantly increase radiation levels in our bodies. Even simple dental X-rays will leave deposits in the body that interfere with healthy functioning.

How to Do It:

  1. Dissolve 1 pound of sea salt or rock salt and 1 pound of baking soda in a tub of water as hot as can be tolerated.
  2. Stay in the bath until the water cools at least 45 minutes.
  3. Do not shower for at least eight hours following the tub.

Formula 2

When to Do It: If you have been exposed to heavy metals, such as aluminum, or to carbon monoxide or unburned carbons, pesticide sprays, or deterrents. Cooking with aluminum will bring on symptoms. Eating foods that have not been cleaned of pesticides can lead to accumulations of pesticides in the cells. This formula is excellent for a general detox, particularly if you are experiencing a general feeling of being “out of sorts,” decreased energy, upper respiratory discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or impaired balance.

How to Do It:

  1. Add 1 cup of Clorox brand bleach (non-scented) to a tub of water as hot as can be tolerated.
  2. Stay in the bath until the water cools at least 45 minutes.
  3. Do not shower for at least eight hours following the tub.

Note: When people read a recommendation like the one above—that they should allow bleach to touch their skin—their eyebrows go up. Rest assured, the amount of bleach recommended here cannot hurt you in a solution of this much water. It can and will effectively remove toxins because it is a powerful oxygenator. Hospitals use bleach to disinfect because it removes viruses, germs, and bacteria. In a bath, its purpose is to disinfect the body, eliminating pesticides, metals, and carbon monoxide, among other toxins. Be sensible, of course—don’t use more bleach than is recommended. But do be adventurous. Try it!

Formula 3

When to Do It: This formula is excellent for addressing some of the common side effects of chemo relating to digestion (nausea, constipation, diarrhea, roller-coaster stomach).

How to Do It:

  1. Dissolve 2 pounds of baking soda in a tub of water as hot as can be tolerated.
  2. Stay in the bath until the water cools at least 45 minutes.
  3. Do not shower for at least eight hours following the tub.

Additional: Mix two teaspoons of baking soda in warm water and sip this during the bath.

Formula 4

When to Do It: This formula is a generally helpful detoxifier to help build immunity. It is a perfect bath if you are feeling mental or emotional stress, fatigue, or for symptoms associated with the start of a cold or flu.

How to Do It:

  1. Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (pure, not the “flavored” variety) to a tub of water as hot as tolerated.
  2. Stay in the bath until the water cools at least 45 minutes.
  3. Do not shower for at least eight hours following the tub.

Additional: Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of warm water and sip this during the bath.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

  • Therapeutic bathing is most effective in the evening, an hour or two before bed because the body will continue detoxifying naturally during sleep.
  •  Use only one bathing formula per evening.
  •  Do not mix ingredients from different formulas; each bath is recommended only for the specific indications described.
  •  If redness, dryness, or roughness of the skin develops, it indicates that the body is working to remove toxins. These aspects of cleansing are not uncommon. Rub a little olive or almond oil or a non-petroleum-based baby lotion on the skin after bathing to minimize discomfort.

Caution: If these baths are too rigorous or unpleasant, please use common sense and cut back application or discontinue.

The best attitude toward therapeutic bathing is that it is something quite special given to us by nature to help us get back to or remain in good health. Hot springs all over the country have been sources of physical and spiritual renewal for successive generations of Native Americans and, after them, wave after wave of newcomers.

You can make your therapeutic bathing into your ritual. Darken the room—light candles. Use the time in the tub to meditate, listen to an inspirational tape, think, or allow your mind to be blissfully blank. Your rituals will create a cradle of healing for yourself.

Internal: The Coffee Enema

This remarkable internal detox has been known since World War I, when, according to medical lore, nurses used left-over coffee instead of precious purified water to administer enemas to wounded soldiers.

The coffee enema is neither a colonic (colon cleanse) nor a bowel edit (to relieve constipation). Instead, it is a highly effective way of stimulating and detoxifying the liver and gallbladder—the body’s principal detoxification organs.

When you do the enema, the portal vein delivers coffee directly to the liver. It’s a fantastic process. Located right above the rectum is the “S” shaped sigmoid colon. When the stool reaches this part of the colon, most nutrients have been absorbed into the bloodstream. Only putrefaction products remain at this time. The liver and sigmoid colon work together, communicating in their circulatory-elimination system.

During a coffee enema, caffeine is sent from the end of the colon directly to the liver, where it becomes a strong detoxicant. Bile contains much of the body’s toxins and is forced to move out of the small intestine. This helps the liver to deal with even more incoming toxins from the bloodstream, organs, and tissue.

The production of a vital detoxification enzyme, Glutathione-S-transferase, is also stimulated because coffee has important alkaloids essential to this production. Glutathione enables toxins to be eliminated via bile into the small intestine. The result is that the detoxification process is relatively rapid and effective.

The coffee enema is the king of cleanses when moving the debris accumulated in the body after a chemo treatment.

What You Need

  • Enema bag with hose and catheter (the end of the hose that can be inserted into the body).
  •  Organic coffee, coarsely ground.

How to do it

  • One quart of water—bring to a boil.
  •  Add two tablespoons of organic coffee.
  •  Boil coffee for 5 minutes, and let set until almost incredible.
  •  Fill the enema bag with the coffee.
  •  Lie down, insert a catheter into the rectum (use olive oil for lubrication if necessary), and let % of the coffee flow in, adjusting flow with an enema hose clamp.
  •  Retain the coffee for as long as possible, up to 12-15 minutes.
  •  Release, let the rest of the coffee flow in, and hold for another 12-15 minutes.
  •  Remember that this is not a bowel cleanse, so the coffee does not need to go farther than the very end of the colon.
  •  The goal of the coffee enema is to hold the coffee in for as long as you can, up to 12-15 minutes.

More Detox Practices

Detoxification is one of the cornerstones of good health during chemotherapy treatment. Again, I would like to emphasize the importance of ridding the body of the chemo cocktail mixture and the residues left after it has done its work. Here are two more detox procedures that can be done daily.

To Relieve Constipation or to Keep Toxins Moving Out

  • Psyllium seed husk powder or flakes—used primarily in Ayurvedic approaches to healing, this is a colon cleanse and bowel regulator. Essentially indigestible fiber, psyllium cleans the walls of the colon, collects toxins by absorption, and pushes them out of the body as a gentle laxative. You can get these at any supermarket or health food store. Follow the directions on the package.
  •  Magnesium citrate powder is used as a magnesium supplement and a Saline laxative to empty the bowels. The body attracts water through osmosis and flushes out the intestines. Start with 1 level teaspoon in 8 oz. of water before bedtime and increase to a heaping teaspoon or a bit more. The cleansing action takes place during sleep for a gentle movement in the morning. Magnesium is also responsible for over three hundred biochemical responses in the body. It keeps everything running better.
  •  Hydration detox—During chemo, I advise drinking large quantities of purified water, green tea, and yerba mate to stimulate the lymphatic system, kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract. The whole purpose here, remember, is to quickly rid the body of the cell-destroying chemicals and the cells they destroy.