Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Atlanta

The Detox Is in the Details

Jun 30, 2017 10:15AM ● By Sarah Buehrle
In 2009, Forbes named Atlanta the most toxic city in the United States based on air pollution and atmospheric toxic chemicals.

While Philadelphia knocked Atlanta off the number one spot in 2011, Atlanta’s residents may want to detox from time to time. To help, four local practitioners share their methods for cleansing body, mind, soul and surroundings.

Ins and Outs of Colon Hydrotherapy 
Colon hydrotherapy—also called a colon cleanse, a colonic or high enema —is the irrigation of the large intestine to remove waste material from the body. It is purported to keep the toxins in body waste from being recycled into the system, and to improve everything from arthritis to fatigue, and health in general.

It is difficult not to find humor in the process with the lively Sue Pepka, a certified colon hydrotherapist and co-owner of Clear Path Wellness Center.

“We get a lot of jokes about it, so it’s okay. People think it’s embarrassing or nasty or humiliating or gross,” says Pepka, who has been practicing for 11 years. “It’s not like you want to go wallowing around in it. But we are more comfortable talking about sex than we are talking about bowel movements, yet more people are probably having bowel movements.”

However, the path that led Pepka into colon hydrotherapy was anything but comical. She was having health problems and not finding relief with traditional medicine, which caused her to look into alternative therapies. Then her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and a brain tumor. He later died following cancer treatment.

Pepka will not claim that colon hydrotherapy prevents colon cancer, but she believes the therapy has benefits.

“There is a genetic factor to colon cancer but there’s also diet, there’s exercise. There’s constipation—folks are not getting enough fiber—that can contribute to polyps developing. There’s lots of factors involved, but I think most people would understand that keeping the colon healthy, that keeping waste material from building up in the colon, that it’s going to have the potential for avoiding problems.”

Pepka said the body reabsorbs the water from the intestine, taking if from the waste.

“You’re running the risk of all that toxic stuff being recirculated through the body and that’s not good,” says Pepka.

Anyone interested in a colon hydrotherapy session at Sandy Spring’s Clear Path Wellness Center will experience a cross between a doctor’s office and a spa, says Pepka. Soothing music might be playing, and an assistant is in the room with the client, who spends part of the session on their side, then on their back. The process takes 35 to 45 minutes, and uses a closed system, which means one tube carries water in, and another carries waste out. Pepka says there is generally no odor or mess.

She also says that wheat, dairy and processed corn are some of the biggest causes of constipation, and suggests that people take 30 to 40 grams of fiber a day.

Mayo Clinic suggests checking on the reliability of colonic therapists before choosing one. A common referral resource is the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy, of which Pepka is a member. For more information, visit

Detox at the Cellular Level 
Dr. Karen Tedeschi is a chiropractor, kinesiologist, massage therapist and founder of Tedeschi Wellness. She identifies toxins as the presence of pollutants, such as heavy metals and plastics, in our bodies that inhibit bodily functions or cause discomfort. Detoxing is the process of getting foreign substances out of our bodies.

Tedeschi has recently turned to True Cellular Detox, a 90-day nutritional and supplement program, to help clients stop ingesting toxins and to remove those already present in their bodies.

“The body detoxifies itself on a regular basis. We already have that built in. That’s what the lymphatic system does. That’s what the colon does. That’s what the breath does,” says Tedeschi. “So detox, in a way, also gives the body a rest and allows the system to become more efficient.”

Tedeschi says many of her clients come in with chronic headaches and digestive problems, reflux, heartburn, and inflammation. She would also suggest the True Cellular Detox for people who have difficulty losing weight or with autoimmune diseases.

The first step of True Cellular Detox is to assess a client’s level of toxicity. Tedeschi has the client fill out a neurotoxin questionnaire, then performs a visual acuity test that analyzes the optic nerve, where toxins can be stored. Last, the client takes a urine test.

After testing, Tedeschi preps the client for a month in phase one of the detox, using a vitamin regimen that supports various organs and cellular barriers. Phase one is followed by a body detox and a brain detox, using more supplements intended to cleanse the cells and remove toxins from the brain, binding those toxins to substances to be passed out of the body.

“I’ve known for many years that environmental toxins are a big problem and we can stabilize the body,” says Tedeschi. “But really, to get those heavy metals out allows the body to get to a deeper level of healing.”

At the end of the program, Tedeschi said clients could experience more energy, a decrease in food cravings, better sleep and weight loss. She also encourages chiropractic care and diet change along with the True Cellular Detox. For more information, visit or

10-Day Yoga Detox: Thousands of Years Old
Urban yoga ashram Kashi Atlanta offers a 10-day yoga detox three times a year based on the ayurvedic harvesting seasons.

“It’s really a cleanse based on practices that are over 2,000 years old. It’s based in ayurveda, which is the sister science of yoga,” says Agni Ma Mushkin, Kashi Atlanta’s yoga program director.

Mushkin, who has participated in the detox programs since 1999, identifies toxins as environmental pollutants and food chemicals, but adds that there are emotional toxins as well, for example, self-judging, negative thinking and criticism. Toxic emotions, she says, are stored in the body’s fat cells.

“The goal of the cleanse is, of course, to make you stronger and feel better and more healthy,” says Mushkin. “It’s also kind of to clean out the mind to allow that commune with the divine to happen more easily without all the sugar and the alcohol and the wheat blocking that. The goal of the cleanse is to make you feel more like yourself … more able to connect with your higher self.”

Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati, founder and executive director of Kashi Atlanta, created Kashi’s 10-day yoga detox. The program consists of a semi-fast, meditation, herbal tea cleanse, yoga and community support.

Kashi also provides an opening workshop with Jaya Devi, a dosha test, check-ins and emailed encouragement, plus a take home explanatory packet, including recipes.

And then there’s the yoga. Each participant receives a 10-day yoga pass to Kashi, though the asanas, or physical postures, can be performed at home if needed.

“All yoga classes contain meditation, breath work, mantra, mudra, asana… Really during the cleanse, you practice all eight limbs of yoga,” says Mushkin. “Asanas for sure awaken and cleanse the digestive system. It helps heal the liver. It helps heal the respiratory system. It’s one of the most perfect exercises.”

Mushkin says each cleanse generally draws 50 to 100 people each season. The next session is September 6 to 16. For more information visit

Spring Cleaning: More than Disinfecting
Darshana Patel is a reiki practitioner, channeled healer and medium who works to cleanse the physical energy field around people and in their homes.

Patel says toxins in our energy field can come from absorbing negative energy from interactions out in the world. People suffering from toxic overload can be depressed, anxious and lethargic, or have chest pain, panic attacks or experience general lack of purpose. She says she can literally see a dense or greyish energy around a person that indicates toxins. Going into a trance state as a reiki healer is one way she says she works with the vibrational field.

“What we’re doing is restoring harmony and balance in that energy field disruption, releasing stagnant or low vibrational energy,” Patel says. “Until we restore clarity in the field, we’re not fully clear mentally, physically, emotionally or energetically.”

Yoga, meditation and acupuncture also help release stagnant energy from the body, Patel says.

A person’s most private environment, the home, can also be a source of toxins. Electronic devices can interfere with our energy, Patel says, as well as the people coming through the home, and the interactions between family members or roommates. Even the history in the ground under a house can leave trace energy, Patel says.

She suggests that when buying a new home, like when buying new clothes, a person should cleanse before use. Patel travels to homes and cleanse them of unwanted energy using smudging, Reiki and psychic methods. The process can take up to three hours depending on the size of the home. People who want to do a little light cleaning on their own, can.

“Walk through unused space in your home,” Patel says. “Just walk and appreciate and infuse love and intention through all areas of the house because otherwise, other energies will come set up shop, if you will.”

Both house cleansing and personal energy field cleansing can lead to mental clarity, vitality and spiritual peace, says Patel. For more information, visit

Mailing List

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

* indicates required
Global Brief
Health Brief