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Why I was slammed in the media
It’s not easy getting slammed in the media, but it happens. There are trolls, people who don’t like your standards, your writing, your background, what you’re writing about or even your photo. It happens. In my case, it was someone who disagreed with the practice of detoxing, or more specifically, with companies who promote detoxing for gain. So here’s what happened to me.
My name came up in an online article titled The Bogus Practice Of Detox by Enrico Uva. I’m sure he’s a very nice man (actually I’m not sure, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt). He seems to know a lot about chemistry, but he doesn’t know much about me.
His article denounces the practice of detoxing – certainly something we should be thinking about after the horrific death of Chantal Lavigne, who died after a bizarre nine-hour detox session in rural Quebec last July.
Her death upset me so much that I wrote about an article about it for Examiner.com called How safe is detoxing? Quebec woman dies during detox treatment at spa. My goal was to warn people that they must detox safely.
Six months later, Uva’s article came out, and this is what he wrote:
“When the story first broke out shortly after her [Lavigne’s] death, owners of detox spas and their peripheral industry had become nervous. Carol Perehudoff, a travel and spa journalist wrote,
‘Tragic events like these are frightening, but done in a safe and controlled way, detox is an important key to well-being.’
But people in the industry should not breathe so easily. Out of pure self-interest they keep perpetuating fallacies about skin and health.”
Slammed in the media for defending detoxing out of self interest? Say what?
Um, I’m not breathing easily (except after a eucalyptus steam bath) and to think that I’m defending detoxing out of self-interest is laughable. What self interest? No one is paying me to detox. Oh, wait. Sometimes people pay me. Maybe not the spas themselves, but if I sell an article I get paid for it.
But nervous? What’s that about? If the spa industry came crashing down, I’d write about art. Oh, wait. I do write about art. And travel. Anyway, as I said, the goal of the piece was to give safe detox tips. Just as when a man died in the World Sauna Championships I wrote about that, too, plus an article preaching Sauna Safety.
I’m all about detoxing
If I’m defending detox in the article it’s because I believe in detoxing, not because I’m a nervous member of the peripheral spa industry worried my gravy train is going to derail (does anyone realize how little spa writing pays?) and not even because it’s been scientifically proven that the skin can be an outlet for thallium and selenium compounds. (Actually I didn’t know that, I got it from Uva’s article. Thanks!)
Here’s why I believe in detoxing.
And just FYI, this detox story is a drinking-herbs-detox story, not a skin-sweating-detox story, but it’s the detox that started it all. The detox that happened in the happy days before I was slammed in the media!
My big detox moment came in Thailand at a Taoist spa (I bet you didn’t know a Taoist spa existed, did you?). I was trying to cure my insomnia with a series of Chinese herbs, the kind that are cooked up especially for you by the Chinese doctor (or in this case, a Swedish doctor).
Detoxing did NOT cure my insomnia
Sadly, my insomnia got worse. This is because I was getting up to go to the bathroom every 2 hours, all night long. But after I left, I realized that something had changed. Before I’d gone to Thailand I was knocking out the magnetic strips on debit cards at the rate of 3 or 4 a month. I even knocked out my health card strip. Who does that?
The only thing I could think of is that maybe it stemmed back to the days when I was teaching in Korea, and after working in my office for a year on the top floor of a building at the university, we were all evacuated because some kind of high electromagnetic levels and that floor was never used again. I had to prep for my classes in the teachers lounge from then on. But that’s when my card problem started.
I detoxed that electromagneticity right outta me
The point is when I finished with the Chinese herbs, I stopped knocking out cards. I’ve had my last debit card for like, 3 years! The downside? I still have insomnia. I’m not sure exactly what all was in the herb drink. After the Chinese-Swedish doctor told me that one of the ingredients was silkworm larvae I stopped asking.
I do think it was effective in some strange way, however, and the reason I was going to the bathroom all the time was because something was being flushed out of my system. Do I recommend that you go to Thailand and jump into the world of strange herbs? No! Do what I say, not what I do. I’m just telling my weird detox story.
Other detox methods – should they be slammed in the media?
As for mud baths and saunas, yup, I do believe they are helpful. Would I detox for 9 hours with a cardboard box over my head? No! Would I detox without hydration? Of course not! In moderation, I think things like mud baths and saunas help sore muscles and when I’m feeling rundown they give me a boost. I think I’m allowed to believe in this without being a scientist. If it was good enough for ancient Romans, the Fins and the Russians (accounts of the Russian banya goes back to at least 1100), it’s good enough for me.
But whatever your opinion, and whether you think me being slammed in the media was justified or not, let’s take a moment to think of Chantal Lavigne.
UPDATE: The article that slammed me in the media is no longer available online (I don’t know why), and Mr Uva apologized and so all is forgiven. And I still believe in detoxing.
Read more about travel writing at Why Travel and Writing Go Hand in Hand