How to Cleanse
Traditional practices and ancient healing arts like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda 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 you be sure that you’re getting the most benefit out of your cleanse? Is there a way to incorporate other techniques into your daily life that will help your cleanse work more efficiently?
Whatever cleanse you choose, there are simple actions you can take every day to ensure your body is fully supported and releasing as much toxicity as possible. Whether you cut out harmful foods, or incorporate healing herbal medicine, use the list below, during your cleanse and beyond, to ensure you get the most out of your cleanse.
Following is a list of the organs of detox and suggestions on how to work with each organ during cleansing:
The colon (or large intestine) is one of the main avenues of elimination. According to TCM, the colon is the primary organ related to letting go physically and emotionally.
During cleansing it’s crucial that you have regular bowel movements. This will help to fully discharge excess wastes and toxins as they are released out of the tissues and organs.
In the morning, and after meals, massage your abdomen with a 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 hand. Use this exercise regularly if you have inconsistent bowel movements, or you’re 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. Its most famous function is processing alcohol and drugs, but it’s just as important in dealing with all those supplements you take and fats you eat. TCM tells us that anger, resentment and stress is stored in these organs and when you cleanse you’ll experience greater clarity and creativity.
During cleansing you want to encourage the body to release toxins that have been stored by the liver instead of eliminated. Many of these toxins are held in the digestive system and the fat tissue.
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 waste through the urine. 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.
Drink lots of water throughout the day when cleansing. This will help to eliminate accumulation and dilute toxins.
Energetically, the kidneys are considered the foundation of all energy (Qi) in the body. They can easily be depleted with stress. During the cleansing process you are purposefully stressing the body by releasing longer held toxicity. Keep your lower back warm and supported to counteract this depletion.
The lungs are a powerful organ of detoxification. With every inhale you take in new vitality and with every exhale you let go of excess. Breathing in fresh air is a form of vital energy (Qi) that helps to fuel your 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 your first defence against outside influences. It also plays a role in detoxification. You can use the cleansing power of the skin by increasing the amount you 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. This will also slough any dead skin cells off that may be blocking full detox. Use a loofah on dry skin starting at the feet. Use 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 the tissues and into the lymph fluid where they’re carried on for processing.
Book a massage with a practitioner or practice self massage to help the movement of lymph. 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).
Next time you’re planning for, or participating in a cleanse, remember that there are many small actions you can take every day to speed up the process of detoxification physically and energetically.
Good luck and happy cleansing!