Detoxification is a process that occurs within our bodies on a natural and continuous basis. Detoxifying is the process of releasing accumulated toxins and waste products that build up throughout our system. From birth, we are bombarded by toxins, externally from environmental sources and internally, our organs give off waste products that accumulate in our body. Imbalanced emotions also play a part in polluting our system with excess chemicals such as free radicals, homocysteine and cortisol.
Detoxifying is, in many ways, an easy process. Our body does much of the detoxification process through urination, defecation and perspiration. As our bodies age and our immune systems weaken from illness, poor diet and/or addictive substances, we sometimes need to give our system an extra helping hand. That is why conscious detoxing is a great way back to optimum health.
For some, counting on a few cups of coffee, having a cigarette, drinking excessive alcohol or doing recreational drugs has become a familiar habit. Between all the medications, refined foods, additives, alcohol, pesticides and other chemicals we are exposed to in the environment, the ability of our systems to adapt and detoxify can become challenged.
Symptoms such as frequent or reoccurring colds, feeling heavy, sluggish or tired, poor skin, acne or other related skin problems, allergies, a thick, coated tongue, bad breath, headache, and feelings of gas and being bloated after meals may indicate problems in the body’s functionality and it’s ability to process, digest and excrete properly. These vague symptoms that are often overlooked tend to be the results of a congested and sluggish body system.
Exposure or toxicity to food additives, solvents, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals can cause a number of psychological and neurological symptoms. Toxins produced by bacteria in the gut can be absorbed, causing significant disruption of body functions. Toxins that the body are unable to eliminate build up in the tissues, typically in our fat stores.
One of the best ways to start your detoxification is with the body’s biggest organ, the SKIN. A detox diet strengthens the organs involved in detoxification and releases stored toxins, expelling them through the organs of elimination: the skin, as well as the intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys, and lymphatic system.
Top 10 Tips for Detoxing
1. Eating a diet that focuses on fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains are extremely important.
2. Regular exercise, which gets your body moving and sweating.
3. Quality sleep, where you do not have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and wake feeling rested.
4. Avoiding drugs and excessive alcohol. The problem is not only illegal substances like cocaine, heroin and marijuana, but we are solicited constantly by legal substances that pollute the body such as habit forming sleeping pills, excessive antibiotics that destroy not only the bad bacteria, but the healthy bacterial flora and the constant ads for alcohol.
5. Nutritional and herbal supplements to protect and enhance liver function, the kidneys ability to process and the digestive system’s regularity,( discussed below).
6. Improving our mental/emotional process by stopping the mental chatter, approving and accepting ourselves and loosing the emotional baggage that drags us down.
7. Taking a spiritual approach by looking beyond the little things that get in the way and accepting and trusting the “Universal Power” or energy to guide you. Take a look at the big picture!
8. Decluttering the toxic waste around you including the clutter in your home/office, the friends or loved ones that poison your thoughts and actions and the environment that is making you sick.
9. Knowing that YOU are in control of your life.
10. That you have the power to do something about that will make a change.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Detoxing
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the oldest, continually practiced, and professionally administered health care system in the world. It is a documented medical system spanning over 2,500 years based on comprehensive philosophies, rational theories, clinically tested and empirically verified by over 100 generations of highly educated practitioners. Chinese Medicine is a total system of internal medicine which is comprised of a diagnostic procedure based on signs, symptoms and treatment styles including acupuncture, herbal medicine, exercise, diet and meditation. It’s foundation is based on the principles of balance; the interdependent relationship of Yin and Yang. Through this balance, health is achieved and maintained.
Traditional Chinese Medicine detoxifies the body system through the organs, primarily:
The Lung and Large Intestine
In TCM, the lungs are an organ system that opens directly to the exterior. It’s function is to regulate and control the breath through inhalation and exhalation. Because of its opening through the nose, the lungs are easily susceptible to cold, heat, dryness, dampness, and most of all, heat and wind. This can effect the biggest organ of the body; the skin. The lung is closely related to the large intestine. The large intestine controls the transformation of digestive wastes from liquid to solid state and transports the solids onwards and outwards. It plays a major role in the balance and purity of bodily fluids and assists the lungs in controlling the skin’s pores and perspiration. It depends on the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm, which works like a pump to give impetus to peristalsis by regulating abdominal pressure. The lungs expel toxins through breathing, especially deep breathing. Deep breathing stimulates lymphatic flow, which eliminates toxins. The skin eliminates waste and toxins through perspiration. The colon eliminates toxins from the liver and digestive tract. The lungs are our attachment to the breath of life and the large intestines is it’s buddy. Incorporate deep breathing and exercise along with a tall glass of psyillium husk to get things moving.
The Liver and Gallbladder
In TCM, the liver is the “farmer who cultivates”. It stores blood, governs and regulates the blood, organizes the “free flow” of Qi energy to promote circulation which cultivates our emotions, soothes digestion, regulates menstruation and bile secretion. The liver changes harmful toxins into substances, which can be eliminated safely the colon or kidneys. The liver is our master cleansing organ and the gall bladder is its mate. Enjoy a tall glass of water with a 1/2 lemon squeezed into it.
The Spleen and Stomach
In TCM, the spleen transports and transforms food and body fluids for transporting, for absorption, raises the body energy and controls the blood by keeping it in the vessels. When improper function occurs with the Spleen there is weight gain, high cholesterol, hypertension, bleeding disorders, dampness and a heavy sensation, muscle weakness and atrophy. The blood and lymphatic system transport waste and toxins to other areas for elimination, including cellular waste. The stomach is the center of our ‘gut feelings’ our immune system center and the spleen (pancreas) is it’s associate. Eat the cleanest, purest foods, that are the least processed. Enjoy health probiotics found in yogurt and acidophilus. Avoid greasy, fried foods.
The Kidneys and Bladder
In TCM, the kidneys store our essence or the basic materials that make up our constitution and the reproductive fluids that create life. All organs are dependent on the Kidneys for proper growth, reproduction, water flow and control and the balance of “fire and water”. The liver sends water soluble waste to the kidneys, where they are further filtered and passed through the bladder for elimination. The kidneys filter nutrients and waste from the blood. The kidneys are our major filter and the bladder is it’s friend. Boil 4 cups of water and a handful of corn silk. Drink this tea for amazing results.
Andrew Pacholyk MS, L.Ac – http://www.peacefulmind.com/detox.htm – Therapies for healing mind, body, spirit
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