How to Cleanse
Traditional practices and the ancient healing arts such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tell us that cleansing the body, mind and heart helps to kick start our health. I find regular cleansing is a wonderful opportunity to reassess my life and address any areas that might be out of balance.
But…. there are so many cleanses out there.
How can we be sure that we are getting the most benefit out of our cleanse? Is there a way to incorporate other techniques into our daily life that will help our cleansing work?
Whatever cleanse we choose, whether we cut out harmful foods or incorporate healing herbal medicine, there are simple actions we can take every day, during our cleanse and beyond, to ensure our body is fully supported and releasing as much toxicity as possible.
Following is a list of the organs of detox and suggestions on how to work with them during cleansing:
The colon (or large intestine) is one of the main avenues of elimination. During cleansing it is crucial that we have regular bowel movements in order to fully discharge excess wastes and toxins as they are being released out of the tissues and organs. According to TCM the colon is the primary organ related to letting go physically and emotionally.
In the morning and after meals massage your abdomen with a very small amount of massage oil in a clockwise direction. This mimics the direction of the intestines and helps to break up any stagnancy. As you circle you hands around the navel occasionally stop and press a little firmer with a gentle shaking action of your hands. This exercise is especially important if you have irregular bowel movements or are experiencing constipation. You can also visualize letting go and focus on the exhale as a way to release.
Liver and Gallbladder
The liver and gallbladder process almost all toxicity that the body encounters. Of course its most famous function is processing alcohol and drugs but it is just as important in dealing with all those supplements we take and fats we eat. During cleansing we encourage the body to release toxins that have been stored instead of eliminated. Many of these toxins are held in the liver and digestive system. TCM tells us we store our anger, resentment and stress in these organs and when we cleanse we experience greater clarity and creativity.
Every morning drink a big glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This is a great way to activate the liver and digestion and prepare it for a day of cleansing.
The Kidneys excrete wastes through the urine. During cleansing drinking lots of water throughout the day helps to eliminate accumulation and dilute toxins. TCM tells us that the kidneys are related to fear; and by healing this organ there is a possibility of finding a deep sense of trust.
Energetically the kidneys are considered the foundation of all energy (Qi) in the body. They can be easily depleted with stress. Keep your lower back warm and supported to counteract this depletion; especially during the cleansing process when we are purposefully stressing the body by releasing longer held toxicity.
The lungs are a powerful organ of detoxification. With every inhale we take in new fresh vitality and with every exhale we let go of excess. Breathing in fresh air is a form of vital energy (Qi) that helps to fuel our entire being.
Take time during your cleanse to be in nature and breath deeply. As you inhale focus on bringing the breath all the way down to the belly expanding the lungs. Make the exhale a little longer than the inhale and focus on fully releasing every last drop of breath
The skin and the outer layer of the body is considered our first defense against outside influences. It also plays a role in detoxification. We can use it by increasing the amount we sweat.
Using a sauna, doing some hot yoga, dancing or exercising enough to break a sweat helps the body to release unwanted contaminants trapped in the tissues.
During your cleanse use dry skin brushing to revitalize the skin, blood and lymph fluid and to slough off any dead skin cells that may be blocking full detox. Use a loofah on dry skin starting at the feet with small circular and sweeping motions always moving towards the heart. Add some extra clockwise circles around the abdomen to activate the digestive system.
The lymphatic system plays a central role in the movement, processing and eventual elimination of waste products in the body. Through a series of channels toxins are pushed out of tissues and into the lymph fluid where they are carried on for processing.
Book a massage with a practitioner or practice self massage to help this movement. Another effective technique to activate the movement of lymph is alternating hot and cold water therapy. Begin by having a sauna, hot bath or shower and then have a quick cold shower or blast of cold water focusing on areas where the lymph nodes concentrate (behind the knees, the groin, and armpits).
So next time you are planning for, or participating in a cleanse remember that there are many small actions we can take every day to speed up the process of detoxification physically and energetically. Good luck and happy cleansing!
Have you heard about my Yoga Cleanse Retreat?