Spring is officially here! We’ve consistently been above freezing for about a week now- but I’m not ready to put my winter coat away. We live in Canada, after all!
Spring is also the time when I start talking Spring Detox with my patients.
Spring is an ideal time to start your Detox. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective Spring is the season of the Liver and Gall Bladder, which are key organs in the process of detoxification. During this time, the body’s energy is moving from a place of inwardness, conservation and stagnation (which are practical qualities for the cold Winter months) to movement and renewal with the warmer Spring season. This movement is perfect for our Spring Detox objectives.
To detoxify is to “remove a harmful substance (such as a poison or toxin) or the effects of such”, or “to render a harmful substance harmless”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
A detox doesn’t have to be dramatic or uncomfortable in order to be effective, especially if it’s being done properly. You may not even notice any symptoms of detoxification, and may even feel generally good, or even great!
I approach detoxification with an appreciation of what the body can do, while working with the organs of elimination to make their job easier. Detoxification is something that your body will do day in and day out- despite your best (or worst) efforts. Whether or not this is done well is up to you. The choices you make on a daily basis in a regular day can add up to make or break your health down the line.
Here are some ways to make your Detox more effective:
- Reduce or eliminate exposure to toxins: consume organic produce when possible (check out the Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen Clean 15 list at ewg.org to view a list of the most & least contaminated produce items), drink filtered water, avoid storing food in plastic containers and eating out of them.
- Encourage elimination throughout the body- drink enough water and consume enough fibre to maintain quality bowel movements (more on this in another article), exercise and engage in activity to move lymphatic fluid (i.e. good ol’ exercise, rebounding, dry skin brushing, etc.), sweat (i.e. exercise), sit in an infrared sauna, take contrast showers, get the bile moving. Consider colon hydrotherapy to improve elimination and nutrient absorption.
- Provide your liver with the nutrients it needs to carry out its detoxification functions. Your liver uses vitamins, minerals and amino acids as to break down and process any wastes, hormones, medication and other chemicals and chemically alter them so that they may be safely and easily eliminated through the bowels, kidneys, skin and breath.
Remember that detoxification is not a passive process. It requires materials and resources which are obtained from the food you eat and nutritional supplements you may be taking. The liver then uses these supplies to deal with the toxins that are introduced into your body- from not only the food you eat, but the air you breathe, the products on your skin, the water you drink, etc.
An effective detox program can help target a wide range of symptoms, including, but not limited to- bloating, brain fog, fatigue, emotional lability, headaches, skin conditions and so on.
It is also a great starting point for setting the rest of your health goals for the Spring and Summer season.
While undergoing a healthy detox program is generally safe for most people, it may not be recommended for all, especially if there are any chronic underlying health conditions or if a person is pregnant or breastfeeding. Please speak to a Naturopathic Doctor for more information, and to find out how a Detox can be designed to optimize your health.