Detoxing in Chinese Medicine is a valuable but a draining activity. Draining because it taxes the body with additional work load mainly by excreting, by limiting the diet to lite foods and due to the inherent cold nature of the process.
The summer and in general the warmer side of spring are ideal times to perform a detox. The days are hot in nature and the cold raw foods, typical of many detoxes are more readily tolerated.
The nature of the process awakens the body by removing phlegm, stagnation and heat. The liver is particularly prone to problems with stagnation and benefits greatly from the detox however it isn't the only organ to do so. Lungs and intestines as well as the kidneys all appreciate hydration and the free flow of qi and nourishment.
Firstly let's go over some basic but important points:
Are you hydrated enough? Many cases of sluggishness and compromised digestion or tiredness is simply the lack of hydration. Our systems need water to lubricate and also to keep foods from drying out and becoming difficult to move along in the digestive tract. The digestive acids and juices are also mainly water. During summer our hydration should be at it's highest and it should definitely exceed the 1L mark. Start your morning with a refreshing glass of water and because we are discussing liver detoxing, make it one with a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you have trouble getting sidetracked by a constant stream of tasks at work, then you need a strategy. One such strategy is to have a simple 1L jug or bottle to keep at your desk. This way you can clearly see your fluid intake. Another strategy may be to set your computer 5 or 6 alarms or reminders on which you refill your glass and drink it. Sipping is always preferable to gulping down a whole glass and unless you are really hot from heavy work on a hot day, keep the water at room temperature. It goes without saying that you should restrict any counterproductive activities such as those that dehydrate you, coffee is a big curl pit here as is black tea.
How are your emotions? If you feel stuck in life then it may be the cause or the symptom and you may benefit in a gentle push to start progress. Perhaps a new hobby or a new sport. A new position? They all engage you in a different ways giving rise to clearing through clutter on an outer level but also on mental and internal systems. If you have tried these or you truly cannot fathom this step an internal detox should be quite beneficial for you.
Do you move enough? The body's natural detoxification pathways function very well but they really struggle to cope during long periods without movement. The digestive system as well as the circulatory systems love movement and without it it's like stomping on the accelerator without releasing the handbrake.
How is your diet? Consumption of rich, fatty foods will in time cause many problems and the cure isn't to detox but rather to remove the problem. Processed fats and flours are difficult to digest and really tax our systems - if you truly want to improve your health these will need to go. If your emotions undermine you efforts one strategy is to remove the temptation by not having these foods in your home in the first place. In time you will see and feel the benefits of healthy lifestyle but understand that especially st the start we all need a helping hand.
Now that the basics are in place wait for at least a few weeks. Yes indeed, it will take a little while but the body will naturally start to clear out what it can't use and what is clogging it up.
If you need help and would like to increase the detoxification process read on.
The first, the simplest but often the best - the raw fruit, vegetable or water Fast typically 6-8 glasses.These are used in combination.
Steamed vegetables fast:
This makes use of up to three steamed vegetables but the less the better. Water or teas are added depending on thirst.
There are many fasts (detoxes) in addition to those mentioned above and these will be discussed as appropriate in your appointment.
When not to fast
Last but definitely not least is when a fast (detox) is not suitable.
Shiatsu, being a holistic therapy, looks 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.
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.