Imagine living in a pollution-free environment, drinking only pure, mineralized, alkaline water and eating naturally untainted nourishing foods. Imagine living in homes free of chemicals, breathing clean air, wearing natural fibre clothes washed in clean water with pure soaps.
Unfortunately very few of us live this way and so the toxicity of modern life, all the pollution and chemicals in the air, skin and hair care products we use, the water and food we consume, disrupts our systems. Our bodies try to protect us from dangerous substances by setting them aside, surrounding them with mucous and fat so that they will not cause an imbalance or trigger an immune response however toxic build-up accumulates in our systems as too many of the toxins we encounter are generally unavoidable. This then leads to many common ailments and chronic diseases.
Detoxification means eliminating poisons or toxins from your body and this is vital to maintaining good health, maximizing your body’s energy levels, preventing chronic illness and promoting healing. Our bodies naturally detoxify daily as part of a normal process if we give them the space to do so. You can eliminate and neutralize toxins through your large intestine, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys and lymphatic system.
Springtime in Chinese medicine corresponds with the wood element and with the Liver and Gallbladder so as these are two important organs for detoxing it is the ideal time for a spring clean. Just like you trim back the garden to allow space for new growth so too is it beneficial to trim back the weeds of toxicity to allow your body space to thrive. To support your body in a detox process and reduce damage to your immune system and metabolism it is important to keep your digestive elimination regular, keep your circulation strong, and keep stress to a minimum. Even if your diet is good, an annual spring cleanse can revitalize your internal ecosystem.
Ideally, a Spring Clean Detox is done over a 4 week period, 10 days minimum or 10-12 weeks (the whole of Spring) if you can manage it. If you are doing a 4 week detox then repeat this process every 6-12 months if you can.
Step 1: Avoid things that add toxins or acidity to your body like alcohol, sugar, caffeine, nicotine, processed food and red meat so that your body can start to eliminate toxins which have accumulated over the years. As your body begins eliminating you may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, irritability, rashes or tiredness. Keep going as this will pass, days 2-3 are often the worst.
Step 2: Do things that help your body clear toxins. Eat nourishing foods like fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, white meat and fish and drink plenty of spring water. Alkalize with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in your water. Keep your bowels moving well with probiotics. New research is proving that intestinal health directly affects serotonin production, meaning that depression can actually start in the gut.
Up to 70% of your body’s waste products are eliminated via your lungs. One of the most powerful exercises you can do to activate your lymphatic system (your own personal garbage disposal system) as well as settle, balance, and detoxify your body and mind is deep, rhythmic, belly breathing. In Chinese medicine, your lungs rule over your skin which is your largest organ of elimination. Dry skin brushing removes toxins in the dead skin cells as well as enhancing circulation and regular exercise will accelerate the removal of toxins through your sweat. Exercise is also important for your lymphatic system which depends solely on muscular movement for it to flow.
Finally, spring clean a negative attitude with an attitude of gratitude; write a daily gratitude journal listing 3-5 things that you are grateful for every day.
For more information have a look at my Detox to Great Health webinar.