Liver Detox have become quite a popular activity of late. In the last 3 years I have seen it's advertising move from specialist therapist and "clinic" literature to more recently, everyday and lifestyle magazines creating a fad detox culture. The thing is, the Liver does not exist in isolation and needs to be treated along with the bigger picture.
Like most fads, many are ill-conceived and badly carried out. Literally detox in a box. Why do I feel this way? It's like having a tyre or windscreen cleaning fad. While it has some merit, really, why not wash the whole car? While you are thinking about it get it serviced too. The tires may need some air and a service can really address urgent issues. I'll say it again, the liver does not exist in isolation, it is a part of the body as a whole. What is it that you want to achieve? If it is health then it needs to be considered in relation to the whole body functioning.
In performing Shiatsu, being a holistic therapy, I look at the whole body and not just the body, I look at your symptoms, your diet, your habits, your work, your play, your rest and your beliefs. Yes, even beliefs play a part. What I do do, is bring a return to balance in body's systems. Liver is just one part.
Your diet is important! Consumption of rich fatty foods, alcohol and fats of poor quality will increase the livers workload considerably. Give the chips a miss and have a close look at how much fat is in your breakfast cereal. Do you eat vegetarian patties or meat salami? You may be quite surprised here too. They are marketed as healthy but they are a highly processed and manufactured product. What choices and what compromises were made at the factory? While fats give your liver a hard time it is worthwhile to note that it loves sour foods. Generally, you would do wonders for it by consuming a hot lemon drink first thing in the morning. It's like a cleansing and energising flush that helps break down excess fats. Some bitter greens like Rocket are a heaven-sent but keep in mind that these servings should be small through the cold months. Sauerkraut and soup made from it are also a great way to enter into Spring season too.
Your rest is important. After a meal the liver loves nothing more than allowing digestion to take place so running for the bus straight after breakfast, work during or after lunch or a game of tennis after dinner is not doing it any favours. It will tell you this with terrible digestion, hiccups, cramps maybe even some heartburn. Ever have good concentration in the afternoon? I bet you are more likely to be sleepy. Why does this happen? Well one of the liver's functions is to direct blood to the organs according to the prevailing activities, so after a meal it gets a signal to give stomach lots of blood. When you try to do the run the muscles compete for the blood and the digestion is impaired, and not only the digestion but your sprint will be very poor effort indeed. So give your liver and digestion a chance and take a break instead.
Your sleep is important! According to Chinese Medicine, Liver regenerates your blood, however it is only able to do this when there are very few demands for blood elsewhere, hence it does it during rest time. This is an important task and for a heathy body and mind it needs to be done well and on a regular basis. If you are always on-the-go go go, your body and your mind will start to falter. According to Chinese Medicine theories, our liver is most active between 11pm to 3am so it is particularly important to be resting well before this period. It shouldn't be a surprise then that too many late nights will leave you feeling sleepy, flat and irritable.
Hopefully we have given you a glimpse of what I do at Zen Hands. As you can see there is much to consider when holistically addressing an imbalance or an illness. It may help to pop some tablets and go on a short diet but if the very things that got you ill aren't addressed, well, you will only obtain short term results. It's not the liver you set out to detox but rather it's your health that you wish to improve. In as much it is easy to see why just focussing on the liver you are most likely to miss your goal.
In treatment a full diagnosis is necessary to obtain as full a picture as possible that is specific of your body's type, state, season and your symptoms. Only then can we embark on a treatment with a chance for a good prognosis.