Spring is a wonderful time of year when the weather is warmer, the birds are starting to sing and and the landscape is turning fresh and green. Many people use the spring to clean out their house and their bodies after a long winter. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine standpoint, the spring is the time of the liver and for the colour green. Since a person’s liver is the detoxification organ of the body, many people benefit from a liver cleanse during the spring.
Benefits of doing some spring cleaning:
There can be many benefits of eating green and cleaning up your diet/spiritual self. Some of benefits include:
COMPONENTS OF SPRING CLEANING
Spring cleaning can last from 1 week to 2 months depending on your health goals. As is true for all naturopathic protocols, an individualized approach is recommended. There are four components to spring cleaning:
1. EAT GREEN! DIET MODIFICATION
The spring is the perfect time to get your eating habits back on the right track. How do you do this? Eat whole foods, eliminate allergenic foods such as dairy, sugar and wheat, and eat your greens. It is no surprise that foods that are green are good for your liver. Some of these foods include: cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, legumes, avocados, spinach and leafy greens. So eat more green!
Another green tip? Start your day off with a glass of lime water. Limes/lemons help to detoxify your liver. Drinking a glass of water right away helps to kick start your process of drinking 2-3 litres of water a day. This is important to help you with flushing out toxins and to keep things moving.
Also, you can use this time to kick your soda/pop and juice habit. These get processed through the liver and are a major reason why the liver gets “fatty.” So it is essential to remove them during this process (and hopefully forever).
With all supplements, an individualized approach is recommended. The type, amount and durations will be specific based on your needs. Some great herbs for your liver are Milk Thistle and Dandelion. Just be careful that they do not interfere with any medications!
The way you live your life plays an enormous role in liver function and overall health. Plenty of fresh air is needed to support cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissues. So get outside and enjoy that sunshine!
Exercise is very important to support the cleansing process. It helps to relax the body, clears waste, and prevents toxicity symptoms. Any non-stressful activity that you enjoy will help you rest, recuperate and encourage your body’s detoxification.
Contrast Showers or alternating hot and cold showers provide cleansing, they increase circulation and are a simple and effective way of improving metabolism. Start with two minutes of hot water (or as warm as you can tolerate) followed by thirty seconds of cold water (or as cool as you can tolerate). Repeat pattern at least once, and always finish with cold. People sometimes get lightheaded during the showers. If this happens, they might not be right for you.
Spring is also a great time for actual spring cleaning. This is the time to clean out your closet, organized your desk and wipe away those cobwebs. A clean space can do wonders for improving your mood and motivation. If we want to prepare for the new, we need to clear out the old.
Clearing out negative thoughts and anger is also important part of spring cleaning. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, anger hurts your liver, which can lead to stagnation in your body. This can lead to cysts, painful periods and other lumps and bumps you do not want. Spring is a the time for a fresh mindset and to push away those negative thoughts. A great way to do this is by journaling. Allow yourself time at some point in the day to write down your feelings and thoughts, positive or negative, and reflect on the day and what you are learning about yourself. Writing down something positive everyday can have a profound change in your thoughts!
Should everyone do a cleanse?
While a lot of people can benefit for doing some spring cleaning, doing a detox is not safe for everyone. The body has 5 organs of elimination in the body:
Skin: sweating promotes removal of soluble toxins through the pores
Breath: increased depth of breathing helps eliminate water soluble toxins
Intestines: all fat soluble toxins leave the liver and are excreted via fecal matter
Kidney: all water soluble toxins leave the liver and are excreted via urine
Lymphatics: removes wastes from tissues and promote for stronger immunity
The Liver: The primary organ of detoxification where toxins are packaged to be excreted. If one of these systems are not working properly (for instance if you are constipated), this needs to be addressed first before you start a liver cleanse.
Since most medications are broken down in the liver, doing a liver cleanse can alter how you process medications. This can be dangerous so please see your Naturopathic Doctor prior to doing a cleanse if you are taking medications.
YOU CAN DO IT!!
Although cleansing is not an easy process to stick with, most people feel much better as their cleanse progresses—they experience more vitality, feel lighter, less blocked, more flexible, clearer, and more spiritually attuned. There are so many benefits to cleansing your body and mind.
If you interested in a cleanse and would like more information, please considering booking a FREE 15 minute consultation with me here
Yours in health,
Naturopathic Doctor in Norwich and Woodstock Ontario