The concept of a “cleanse” or “detox” has been around for centuries. Ayurvedic medicine originated in India thousands of years ago and is an alternative, holistic medicinal practice that uses enemas for cleanses. A few millenia back, the Greeks even developed six different methods for cleansing and detoxification ranging from bloodletting to therapeutic vomiting.  We are by no means the first to discover the astounding benefits of a thorough detox. However, there are many people alive today who have never heard about a cleanse or the wonders it could do for their body. Until recently, I was also one of those people.
The first time I was introduced to any type of cleanse or detox was a few years ago when a friend told me about The Master Cleanse. The name itself captured my interest and made me want to know more. The name “Master Cleanse” sounded so official and important. In fact, it was The Master Cleanse that led me to try a salt water flush for the first time. But let’s back up a bit. The Master Cleanse and salt water flush are two different cleanses, but can be done simultaneously. Let me explain:
Stanley Burroughs: The Master Cleanse founder
The Master Cleanse was developed by a man named Stanley Burroughs nearly 70 years ago. Burroughs was born in New York at the turn of the 20th century. He lived in several major cities throughout his lifetime including Detroit and Portland before settling in California and promoting his “lemonade diet,” more commonly known as The Master Cleanse. As a man who had always been interested in alternative medicine, the master cleanse was only one of the alternative health theories that he created and supported. 
After promoting The Master Cleanse for several years, Burroughs published a book all about it called The Master Cleanser in 1976. In the book, he very confidently claims that the cleanse can heal any ailment:
“I humbly and yet proudly offer it to you, confidant that you will receive vigorous good health from its use…This diet will prove that no one needs to live with their diseases. A lifetime of freedom from disease can become a reality. The Lemonade diet has successfully and consistently demonstrated its eliminating and building ability.” 
Millions of people have tried and enjoyed The Master Cleanse, but it’s important to note that there has been little scientific research done to determine whether or not the cleanse can do all that it claims to. However, one thing is for certain: Stanley Burroughs believed in The Master Cleanse whole-heartedly. As it turns out, he wasn’t the only one.
The Master Cleanse
In essence, The Master Cleanse is a modified juice cleanse that was designed to do several things: induce rapid weight loss, cleanse the body of toxins, and naturally healing the digestive system. Here’s what you need to do:
- Take a glass, fill it with the following ingredients: 250ml of pure water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons rich maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
- Every time you get hungry throughout the day, drink a glass. Be sure to drink at least six to twelve glasses daily.
- Before bed, take a laxative
- In the morning take another laxative or perform a salt water flush (I’ll explain this in detail a bit later)
There is specific amount of time that you should do The Master Cleanse; however, most people recommend no longer than two weeks. There have been stories of people staying on the cleanse for a year at a time, but staying on any cleanse that long could be dangerous for your health. Most people stay on the cleanse for ten days, resume to regular eating for a few days, then go back on the cleanse for ten days, and repeat this cycle a few times. 
The Master Cleanse is a very specific routine, but there are also important pre-cleanse preparations and post-cleanse steps. The pre and post-cleanse routines are just as important as The Master Cleanse itself because, without them, your cleanse will be unsuccessful.
When you do any type of intense cleanse for the first time, it’s going to be a shock to your body. For most, The Master Cleanse is a dramatic change to their daily diet and your body will try to reject it initially. That’s why it’s so important to ease into the cleanse rather than dive in head first.
You should dedicate the better part of a week to prepare yourself for starting The Master Cleanse. During this time, you should slowly eliminate processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy. Then you should eat only raw fruits and vegetables for one day, followed by one day of only liquids, and finally one day of only orange juice before starting the cleanse.  Preparing in this way makes the transition less shocking for your body and will also ensure that there isn’t much solid food in your stomach or digestive tract that could make the cleanse less effective.
When you finish The Master Cleanse, it’s important to be gentle with your body. Trust me, having a giant pizza and ice cream after so many days without real food will be a painful experience. The first few days after your cleanse, stick to several glasses of orange juice and water. The next few days, you can begin to introduce solid foods but only fruits and vegetables. The fifth day after your cleanse, you can resume a normal healthy diet.  Try to stay away from fatty or processed foods, as it could reverse the benefits of The Master Cleanse.
Millions of people have done The Master Cleanse and loved the results; however, when it’s conducted without the “optional” salt water flush, many people report getting extremely constipated. Here’s why the salt water flush is so important:
The salt water flush
The salt water flush is a way to create immediate bowel movement to cleanse and detoxify the body. The salt water flush recipe can be used by itself as a way to cleanse your colon or it can be done as a step in The Master Cleanse. If you want a complete guide on the salt water cleanse, you can take a look at my article posted a few weeks ago; it explains everything you need to know about the magical detox ritual.
In short, the salt water flush involves drinking a saltwater mixture comprised of two teaspoons unrefined, non-iodized salt and one liter of warm pure water. This concoction should be drank in the morning, on an empty stomach, and as fast as you can. After about an hour, you will experience a strong urge to use the bathroom and may be in there for quite some time. The salt water cleanse is a colon cleanse that clears all of the toxins and unhealthy bacteria out of your system using the power of natural salt. That’s cool, you might be thinking. But what does that have to do with The Master Cleanse? Let me explain.
While The Master Cleanse is an effective full-body detox ritual, it does have its cons. Because it is a liquid only fast, those on the cleanse aren’t consuming any fiber. Fiber is the substance that helps us have healthy bowel movements, so without it, we’re stuck in constipation city. Because digestion and pooping can’t happen naturally while on The Master Cleanse, it needs to be forced- which is exactly what the salt water cleanse does. The salt water flush recipe and procedure are fairly easy to follow and can encourage bowel movements while clearing out all of the toxins from your body. 
You might think that forcing bowel movements sounds a bit risky, and you’re not entirely wrong. I wrote an article all about the salt water flush, including the salt water flush dangers here. However, I can confidently say that, in my experience, the wonderfully refreshing feeling you get after a salt water cleanse outweighs any of the unpleasant side effects.
While we were designed with organs that naturally cleanse and detoxify our bodies, sometimes they can use a little help. Nothing can work 100% of the time. I won’t give away my age, but those of us who are getting a bit older can definitely testify to the fact that sometimes our bodies aren’t working properly and we have no idea why! That’s why detoxes like the master cleanse, and especially the salt water flush, can be so helpful. They can give our digestive and immune systems the jump start they need to keep us going.
The Master Cleanse and salt water flush cleanse have been endorsed by celebrities like Beyonce, who used the detox to get in shape for her role in Dreamgirls. The detox certainly hasn’t decreased in popularity since it was created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1950’s. I predict that The Master Cleanse, and it’s important sidekick the salt water flush, will continue to be popular for many years to come.
If you’ve ever tried the master cleanse or salt water cleanse yourself, tell me if you liked the experience!
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