(photo courtesy of Velaa Private Island)
In the hotel industry, detox retreats are growing in number and boast many benefits. Our modern lifestyles come with great perks, but also a deeper need to look after our wellbeing. Detoxing is a good way of enhancing our wellness and anyone who’s experienced a spa detox programme will tell you, that upon completion they have felt more svelte, energised and uplifted. These health benefits are the result of positive dietary changes and various detoxification methods, as well as physical and emotional reactions.
Whilst most people are familiar with the physical detox symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, breakouts and digestion issues; less commonly understood is the emotional release. Understanding and supporting this response is imperative for any spa that seeks to maximise the benefits of their detox offerings.
Those who have completed a detox may anticipate discomfort and physical symptoms due to toxicity cleansing from their system. However, during this process, associated emotions can also come to the surface and need to be felt and processed: Fear, anger, irritability, sadness and grief are the most common emotions known to arise during a detox. These, in turn, can cause further physical and emotional symptoms, which often get worse before they get better. This is known as the ‘healing crisis’. It is vital to understand this process fully, as well as to be supported and guided by an experienced therapist, both during the detox programme and after the retreat. It is also important to know that emotional release is part of the healing journey and should not to be supressed, medicated or overanalysed.
In fact, in the East, detox reactions are viewed positively, as a release of both stored toxins and stagnant emotions. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), emotions are directly connected to organs in the body. This is a truly holistic view, which is important to be aware of during a detox. The liver is the main organ of detoxification. The liver is associated with anger, irritability, resentment and rage. As you cleanse and clear away old toxic debris from your body, this will tax the liver, making the subject of detox more susceptible angry and irritability. If you have the right emotional and therapeutic support during and after your detox programme, such as being advised on the best emotional release for you, then you will feel calmer.
Hoteliers should be looking to train spa staff to fully appreciate these facts, in order to put them in the best possible position to support their intensive detox clients, both during the cleansing process and after they return home. Here are five strategies for handling the emotional rollercoaster:
1. Learn From Your Emotions
Do not resist your emotions, as whatever you resist persists! Each emotion has a positive intention and message. It wants to be heard, felt, addressed and released. We feel anger when our values, boundaries and agreements have been violated. Once we openly communicate these without the expectations of others to read our mind, the emotion goes away. Sadness can arise when we perceive to have lost something or feel that something is missing. Crying provides a soothing release of stored sadness and grief.
2. Prepare for the Detox Progress