Solving My Cancer Puzzle – Part 4

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In this last part of Solving My Cancer Puzzle, I’ll share with you five more of my favorite safe and effective detoxification methods. For a refresher on how your body detoxifies itself and why helping it with this process is important, check out Part 2 of this series.


Castor Oil Packs


Several naturopathic doctors and other holistic healers I’ve worked with over the years have recommended castor oil packs as an effective method of detoxifying the liver.


According to the writings of the late Edgar Cayce, known as the father of holistic medicine, castor oil packs can improve elimination (castor oil packs were shown in one study to help with constipation in the elderly) and circulation, particularly of the lymphatic system. In addition, castor oil packs can break up adhesions to the lacteal glands – a component of the lymphatic system.


To create and use a castor oil pack, saturate a flannel cloth in castor oil. For detox purposes it’s recommended the pack be placed over the liver on the right side of the body. Cover the pack with a heating pad on low heat (I recommend putting a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag between the pack and the heating pad) and rest for 30-60 minutes. This is a great time to read or meditate.


(Note: It is not recommended to put heat on an injured area or an area with active cancer.)


Store your pack in a leak proof plastic bag or container and keep in a cool, dark place such as a pantry, drawer or even the refrigerator (although refrigeration is not necessary). Replace the pad when it starts to smell rancid or becomes discolored.


Read here for more information about Edgar Cayce and castor oil packs. You can buy a castor oil pack kit with oil, flannel cloth and wipes here.


Recommendation: Depends on your condition or toxic load.




First of all, moderate amounts of any type of exercise are good for your health. However, rebounding has the benefit of being a lot more fun than many other kinds. It’s also possible rebounding is extra special and benefits your body in ways that traditional exercise does not.


In addition to building muscles and being a superb cardiovascular exercise, rebounding can improve immune system function by increasing lymphatic flow. If you recall, the lymphatic system contains a lot of fluid and does not come with its own built-in pump. Rebounding moves lymph through the lymphatic system like nobody’s business and may help prevent or treat lymphedema (swelling from excess lymph fluid) caused by the removal of lymph nodes during breast cancer surgery.


In addition, it has been suggested that the g-forces created by rebounding “exercise” your cells and forces them to dump out toxins.


Last, rebounding is gentler on the bones and joints than many other forms of exercise. Several years ago, an acupuncturist recommended I use a rebounder with bungee cords rather than springs for even less stress on the body. At the time, bungee cord rebounders were selling for $700 or more. Recently, I discovered this less expensive brand and plan to switch from springs to bungee cords soon.


Recommendation: Approximately 20-30 minutes at least several days per week. (Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.)


Infrared Sauna


First, lest you offend a Finnish person like myself, the proper pronunciation of the word “sauna” is like “sah-oo-na”, not “sah-nah”. Just sayin’…


An infrared sauna (or “far-infrared sauna”) works by heating your body directly, causing your core temperature to rise, rather than by simply heating the air around you as with a traditional sauna. This causes you to sweat at the cellular level, where toxins in your body reside. Sweating is crucial because toxic chemicals are ubiquitous in our air, water and food, and sometimes it’s just too much for your liver and kidneys to handle on their own.


Examples of toxins that will be released in sweat are arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury – all with no known benefit to humans and likely carcinogenic.


Wouldn’t you rather get that stuff out of your body?


In addition, according to the Mayo Clinic, several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit, with no adverse effects being reported.


Last, it’s best to use an infrared sauna that emits a low EMF (electromagnetic frequency), which can be harmful to health. This one, which I use in my home, is inexpensive (around $200) and is low-EMF. If you’re willing to pay more, this one is EMF-free and costs around $600. Last, if you have money to burn and lots of space, you can go for the mack daddy of far-infrared saunas and get one like this.


Recommendation:  Several times a week to daily, depending on your health, toxic load and free time. (Start slow with a lower temperature, shorter duration and decreased frequency.)


Coffee Enemas


You put coffee where???!!!


Okay, this is where things are going to start to get a little weird. If you’re squeamish about this kind of thing you may want to shut down your browser now.


Yes, a coffee enema is exactly what it sounds like – an enema that uses coffee rather than water. A coffee enema detoxifies your body by stimulating the liver and causing a dilation of the bile duct (FYI – bile is created in your liver and stored in your gallbladder). This causes the bile duct to expel toxic bile into the small intestine, where it begins the elimination process – eventually leaving your body through your large intestine, or colon.


To do a coffee enema, start by purchasing an enema kit such as this one. It even comes “packaged discreetly to avoid embarrassment”. You can also find enema kits at your local medical supply store.


You’ll also want to use good quality, organic coffee such as this, which is made specifically for coffee enemas and contains more caffeine and palmitic acid – the ingredients that make coffee such an effective colon cleanser. (I don’t recommend drinking it because of its very high caffeine content.) Or, for the best coffee enema life hack, this organic, instant coffee comes highly recommended and approved by my amazing colon hydrotherapist in Phoenix, Dr. Victoria Bowman. (As one of my friend’s puts it, Victoria has a “PhD in Poop”.)


To get started, carefully read the kit instructions regarding use of the bag and follow these tips:


  • The instructions may say to use up to four cups of water. My advice is start with one cup; even one cup will be difficult to hold in your first few times. I’ve been doing this regularly for over six months and a bit less than two cups seems to be my maximum.
  • Make sure your colon is as empty as possible before you begin. If not, you won’t be able to hold the coffee more than a few seconds.
  • If you feel like your colon isn’t empty enough, consider doing a water enema first. Good organic coffee is expensive and if you only hold it for a few minutes, you’re just wasting it. To reap the benefits of a coffee enema, you should hold the coffee in for at least 20 minutes.
  • If using non-instant enema coffee, follow the instructions on the package. If using the instant coffee suggested, three tablespoons should suffice.
  • Once the coffee is in your colon and the bag is empty, remove the catheter. You’ll be much more comfortable that way. Try to alternate laying on your right and left sides, and your back. Keep in mind that laying on your left side will stimulate your need to “go”.
  • Use a pillow under your hips to elevate them slightly and put a small pillow between your knees. (I use a $5 travel pillow from Target.)
  • In addition to organic coffee only, try to use purified water. You don’t want to be putting a bunch of chemicals and pharmaceuticals up there.
  • Get yourself a couple of dark colored towels (preferably brown) and a nice, cozy dark-colored blanket dedicated solely to coffee enemas. I can almost guarantee that you will spill coffee on occasion. (Those bags and hoses can be a bit finicky.)
  • Use this time to mediate, read, listen to music or play with your phone. (I find the distraction is helpful; my guilty pleasure is doing coffee enemas while listening to Adele and scrolling through Instagram. I’m sure she and Mark Zuckerberg would appreciate that.)
  • At least at the beginning, only do this early in the day. The caffeine doesn’t stimulate your mind like when you drink coffee, but it does stimulate your colon and it will likely jump around until it adjusts to this process. I recall one very uncomfortable sleepless night after doing a coffee enema around 3 p.m…


Many doctors dismiss coffee enemas as unneeded and potentially dangerous. The fact is, coffee enemas have been known to be good for detoxification for centuries and were included in the Merck Manual until the early 1980s.


Regarding danger, people have burned themselves doing coffee enemas. My response to that is “duh”. Don’t put boiling hot coffee in your bum – you will injure yourself. If you’re making fresh coffee in a pot, make sure to let it cool down to room temp before using. I prefer the organic, instant coffee because it’s easier to control the temperature during preparation.


Last, remember that the purpose of a coffee enema is not to “go”, although that is an added bonus; it’s to stimulate the liver to release toxins. What accomplishes this is the caffeine, so don’t use decaf coffee or you’ll just be wasting your time.


Recommendation: Some cancer protocols call for multiple coffee enemas per day. However, for a healthy person, once per week should suffice. (Note: If you have gone through chemotherapy, start very slow with coffee enemas as your body will be eliminating a lot of toxins.)




Colon hydrotherapy (also known as “colon cleansing” or a “colonic”) is another alternative procedure that conventional doctors love to hate. Many seem to believe that toxic, impacted fecal material doesn’t have a negative impact on your health. I beg to differ.


And while they may seem like the latest holistic health fad, the truth is that colon cleansing has been practiced since 1500 B.C. in ancient Egypt.


The case for colonics is that you’re constantly being exposed to toxins in the food you eat, the water you drink, the air your breathe, and the chemicals you put on your body. Combine this with the fiber-poor diets of most Americans (according to the Institute of Medicine, women need around 25 grams of fiber per day and men, 38 grams; in contrast, American adults eat 15 grams of fiber per day on average), and it’s a recipe for a dangerous buildup of toxins that can lead to disease.


Colonics can help.


According to Dr. Bowman’s (“PhD in Poop”) book, You Gotta Have Guts, a colonic is a gentle washing out of the colon using a machine that regulates the pressure and quantity of water. There are two types of systems, closed and open. In a closed system there are two attachments – one for water to flow into the body and one that contains the outflow of water, fecal material and anything else dislodged by the water. In an open system, there is one attachment for water inflow and elimination is into a trough that flows into a sewer.


Sometimes, but not always, the therapist will stay in the room with you and massage your abdomen in an effort to loosen fecal material. If having someone in the room with you just isn’t your thing, you can find therapists who will leave you in privacy the entire time. Just call around your area to find a therapist that works well for you.


It’s also important to find a therapist who will replace the probiotics in your colon lost during the procedure. Dr. Bowman calls this “reflorastation” and uses an implanted probiotic mix she developed. Others may suggest an oral probiotic.


Last, in addition to regular maintenance of a healthy colon, colonics can be useful if you’re engaging in a detoxification program. As I mentioned in Part 2 of this series, when detoxing, your body’s Phase 1 detoxification processes may turn toxins into something even more reactive or toxic. If Phase 2 isn’t ready for this onslaught, something called a “Herxheimer reaction” can result from your body being overwhelmed by the toxic load. This reaction can lead to headaches, nausea, muscle pain, body aches and other flu-like symptoms. Doing colonics during a juice fast or other detox program can help remove the toxins from your body.


Recommendation: Once every six months for healthy people and more often for those with cancer or other diseases (talk to a naturopathic doctor or other holistic health care professional to decide what’s best for your individual situation).




As I mentioned in a previous post in this series, it’s not prudent to treat your body like a human garbage disposal and then “detox” occasionally, either through cleanses or using the techniques mentioned above. It’s important that you avoid toxins that trigger Phase I detoxification in the first place, and provide the proper nutritional support for Phase II. View these techniques as an add-on to your otherwise healthy lifestyle.


So…I started this series of blog posts talking about solving my cancer puzzle and morphed along the way to focusing on detoxing. While toxic exposures are not necessarily the primary cause of my two bouts with breast cancer, I do believe they played a part. Turns out genetics may have played a bigger part than I originally thought (more on that later), but as they say “Genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger.


In any event, thanks for hanging in there during this series of blog posts. I hope you’ve learned some valuable techniques to help avoid and eliminate toxins from your body, which may decrease your own chances of getting cancer and other diseases.



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