28 Feb Do You Need To Cleanse?

Every year, with warm weather comes talk of detoxes, diets and cleanses. If you’ve ever wondered if a cleanse would be good for you, keep reading! We caught up with Nicola Johnson from pH Clinic to talk all things health and cleansing.


Tell us about yourself:

My name is Nicola Johnson, I am a Colonic Hydrotherapist and yoga teacher. Some long standing GIT(Gastro-intestinal) issues motivated me a long time ago to take my health seriously and pursue a health conscious and wholesome lifestyle. After Colonics helped me retrain my gut, I decided to study Colonic Hydrotherapy in Melbourne. I knew Manly needed a health hub which offered natural therapies to support detoxification and longevity as I had spent years travelling to clinics for therapies and been some what disappointed in the lack of development in this industry. In 2015 Progressive Health Clinic was born, it’s been amazing and we’re so excited to be influencing the local community to make their health a priority.

What does a cleanse mean to you and how important is cleansing?

I believe cleansing should be done on a regular basis to assist with vitality and longevity. The human body is very clever, it has many cleansing mechanisms in place which keep our bodies functioning every day e.g. going to the toilet (#1 and #2s), breathing, sweating etc. What people don’t realise is the strain we put on our systems by adopting habits which overwork our bodies natural ability to cleanse. 85% of Australians have a diet high in processed foods, the over consumption of coffee and alcohol to stay awake or assist with sleep is shocking and even the foods which appear healthy are laden with pesticides and preservatives to keep the supply high and keep them looking fresh and lasting longer.

The amount of chemicals we’re ingesting and absorbing into our blood stream when taking medication and using cleaning products, perfumes, deodorants, moisturisers, make up etc is massive. Stress and the affect on our adrenals and liver is another toxic burden which we don’t usually address until damage has been done. All of these things directly affect our bodies ability to detox naturally, I think the human body is phenomenal in what it can do given our circumstances and the conditions we put it in but giving your system a cleanse is invaluable for your long term health.


How can individuals benefit from a cleanse?

From abstaining from the things which irritate or are over working your system, your body will be able to rest and repair and in turn will be in a better state to work when those irritants are reintroduced. Cleansing can be a roller coaster and is often frowned upon when not guided or supported properly due to the “detox symptoms” which can be experienced. Depending on what methods of cleansing you choose, the benefits will vary. Personally, I like to cleanse regularly to keep my health optimal. I cleanse from technology, food, alcohol, coffee, work etc. When I do, I use ColonicsInfrared SaunaMassage, fasting, movement (yoga, pilates and running) and herbal supplements to assist the process. I feel like I have reset my system and usually gain much more natural energy, loose fluid (puffiness) in my body, any bloating or digestive irregularity clears up, my skin feels and looks more hydrated and healthy, my sleeping patterns are balanced and I’m more self aware which usually teaches me a lot about my eating habits. 

Can you recommend a few key pointers for beginner cleansers to kickstart their path?

Firstly, I’d always recommend starting small, don’t try to be a hero and push your body into a state of more stress. Cleansing should be therapeutic and needs to done in a way that it is benefitting the body and not harming it. Secondly, don’t do it alone – getting guidance from a professional who can help you plan what you’re wanting to achieve and be a support throughout is always a good idea. Also, cleansing with a friend or a partner is always helpful for the moral support for beginner cleansers. It can be difficult to put restraints on your lifestyle habits when your roommate or partner are still indulging in those things you’re trying to abstain from. Lastly, plan ahead. You don’t want to be stuck feeling hungry or depleted in a social situation or coming home late from work ravenous, that’s when temptations and weakness rears its head. Always have some broth in the fridge, plan the week with no social commitments and have some nice pampering like a massage or warm bath scheduled.

Is it possible to live a detoxifying lifestyle every day?

No. With the exposure to toxins in the air, EMF, food and many (not all) leaning towards a sedentary dominant job, it is basically impossible to be strictly detoxifying all day, every day – and, you wouldn’t want to anyway because that would in itself lead to decreased health. It’s about supporting the system to deal with these things in an appropriate manner – and by trying to maximise the elements that one can influence like food, movement, periodic cleansing and mindfulness. We should try our very best to live a balanced lifestyle everyday and I think that is attainable for everyone who’s prepared to put in a little effort. I believe cleansing is something that should be done periodically to ensure our systems are in a state to deal with the onslaught of toxins we will inevitably encounter. Exposure to toxins assists the immune system to develop the defences to deal with them and keeps our natural detoxification organs functioning. I aim to live a balanced lifestyle as opposed to a detoxifying lifestyle 🙂

What simple food(/s) can we include in day-to-day diet to aid in healthy gut function?

My favourite things to assist with digestion and encourage healthy gut function are; bone broth, ferments (sauerkraut, kefir etc.), herbal teas (ginger, turmeric, peppermint and fennel), slippery elm porridge and cooked apple with cinnamon. 

Want to try one of Nicola’s cleansing recipes? Try this Slippery Elm Porridge:

Slippery Elm has been shown to neutralise acidity and protect mucous membranes along the GI tract by coating the membrane surface. This “buffering” of the membrane helps the irritated area (stomach, intestines, throat) heal themselves while the acidic offending environment is isolated from the membrane. The coating action also soothes ulcers and inflammation. It helps with constipation and does not cause bloating, whereas other porridge seeds, oats and grains can. Since the powdered bark absorbs the liquid as it cooks, this porridge is filling. It is allergen free and can be spiced up to your liking – my choice to make this is coconut milk but you can use a different nut milk of choice.

Serves 1

  • 2 Tb slippery elm powder (you can buy this from a wholefoods grocer or any health food shop)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 Tb water
  • 3/4 cup nut or coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey 


  • Mix slippery elm, cinnamon, water and coconut milk in the blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into a small pot, stir over a low flame, gently heating the mixture and stirring constantly until it thickens. It will be similar to the consistency of yogurt
  • Turn off the heat and add nutmeg and sweetener.
  • Eat immediately

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