The human body is a wonder machine, with three different detoxification systems build into it. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, these systems don't always perform at optimal efficiency. There are a variety of reasons for this, including exposure to environmental toxins that can “overload” our systems, lack of physical activity, stress, or poor nutrition. An overview of our three native detox systems is as follows:
A complex series of glands and organs specialized in the processing of food. In order to turn food into useful compounds for our bodies, it must first be broken down to the molecular level so it can be processed, ultimately leading to all waste byproducts being removed.
This vast network of vessels and organs is responsible for (among other things) the flow nutrients, blood and oxygen (along with other gasses and hormones) throughout our body and into and out of cells. It is one of the chief means by which the body is able to resist disease.
The lymphatic system's main function is to assist the body's immune system by destroying or outright removing debris, dead blood cells, cancer cells or other pathogens, and other waste from the body. It also absorbs fat and fat-soluble vitamins and delivers nutrients to the body's cells for use. Additionally, it removes excess fluids and waste products from the spaces between your body's cells.
Note, however, that unlike our circulatory (cardiovascular) system, this system has no pump. You (your own physical activity) serve as the “pump” for your own lymphatic system. The more active you are, the better your “pump” works. Thus, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a buildup of toxic materials in your body. Have you ever felt sluggish, tired, or weak and could find no cause for it? This is the likely reason! Not only can a buildup of toxins in the body make us feel sick, they can also cause digestive problems, and lead to general aches and pains in our bodies, and even skin problems.
Congestion of the lymphatic system can lead to recurring sore throat, swollen tonsils and an enlargement of the lymph nodes. Other symptoms could include swelling of the feet, hands or ankles, slow healing and itchy rashes. If you want to prevent this, you need to pump lymph back to the heart where it will rejoin the blood supply in the vascular system. Yoga twists, massage and inversions can circulate lymphatic fluids, helping drain toxins from your extremities and move them closer to the lymph nodes, which filter the fluids as they move toward the heart.
In comparing the two (Yoga with Inversion therapy), you can see how they benefit in different ways. Yoga twists stimulate digestion and enable the body to eliminate impurities in the body, while inversion benefits include drain accumulated lymphatic fluid from the legs, recirculating it through the body.
Organs located in your abdominal region are squeezed during the yoga twists, stimulating the liver and kidneys, forcing out blood filled with toxins. When the twists are released, flesh, clean blood surges into these organs, bathing their cells in nutrients and oxygen. Thus, twists have a cleansing effect on the abdominal organs and a refreshing effect on the body as a whole.
Combining the two gives you the best of all worlds. Some of the Yoga inversion techniques require practice and good technique, as well as supervision. Using an inversion table can be of great help in these cases. It does the same job, but is much easier to perform and benefit from inversion, regardless of your yoga experience.