Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Compliments to Your Health #13

Spring Cleaning
by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong


May 12, 2003
Monday - 1:15 pm

Spring has sprung! In Chinese medicine, spring is the time of renewal and regrowth. The days get longer and everything becomes more active. It is time to make a new beginning and surround ourselves with green shoots of new plants. Spring is about the wood element, the windy climate, the liver and gall bladder organs, the emotion of anger and the

'Ketchikan's Dandelions In Bloom'
Photo by M.C. Kauffman
shouting sound, the  eyes and the tears, the sour taste and rancid smell, the connective tissues of the body, and making a new start.
In the spring, we shed the confines of winter like a butterfly sheds its cocoon. We get rid of the old and the stale. We want to be cleansed and refreshed, reborn and rejuvenated. And, in keeping with the traditions of spring we humans choose spring to clean house, to scrub the remains of fall and winter off our walls, curtains, and carpets. We wash our windows so we can see out into the newness of springtime. But let's not forget that this is also the perfect time to cleanse and detoxify our bodies, to remove the remnants of the past flushing waste and toxins away. For some of us, this means ridding the body of a lifetime accumulation of unhealthy toxins. In truth, many of us battle illnesses and receive medical treatment for disease processes that are a direct result of toxic accumulations over the years. Detoxing properly is more important than merely detoxing.  So how do we do it?
In preparation for a system-wide cleanse, it is important to stop consuming harmful foods. This includes dairy, refined white foods (flour and sugar), soda, alcohol, fast food, fried food, overly processed convenience foods (high in coloring, preservatives, MSG, artificial flavorings, fillers such as gums, and other non-food chemicals). Take a few weeks to eat organic* whole grains, organic fruits and vegetables, fresh juices. Eat low on the food chain with simple preparation; choose fish in place of red meat and eat more raw foods and vegetarian meals.
Most of what we wish to rid ourselves of resides in our lipid (fat)tissues and organs; most it got there through our mouths. The first part of a detoxification program is a fast: resting the digestive tract. As mentioned in a previous article, fasting can be as limited as one day or can continue for longer intervals. What is right for you depends on several things: a) how often you fast (or not), b) how toxic your lifestyle is (do you work around dangerous chemicals, do you eat a lot of processed foods or greasy fast-foods, do you smoke), and, c) the general condition of your health.

Because detoxing is very particular to the individual, let's use the example of:

  • a non-smoker who
  • fasts routinely three to four times per year
  • eats well most of the time (avoiding processed and fast food)
  • is in reasonably good health (no major illnesses), and is
  • not exposed to toxic chemicals generally, at home or work

This person might choose to fast three days on purified water only, or three to five days on fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices. The goal of the fast is to rid the gastro-intestinal tract of accumulated undigested food particles, fecal material, mucoid plaque, and whatever else might be left behind in the normal digestive process. While the digestive tract rests from its normal routine of processing food, our subject is consuming enough water (half their body weight in ounces) to  help slough off accumulated debris from the intestines. Using enemas during the fast and a mild laxative tea at bedtime, provides additional support  to cleanse the lower GI system. The fast is broken with a small meal of organic raw fruit, followed by one of organic raw vegetables, and the next incorporating whole grains. In this manner,  the person eases back to meals without shocking the rested digestive system.
Now it is time to look at cleansing the kidneys, the organs that filter the blood, returning useful materials back to the blood supply and creating urine with waste products. By cleansing the kidneys before we detoxify the liver, the other great blood filter, we prepare the kidneys to function optimally before the liver releases its store of toxins. Dr. Edward Shook recommends a three week program of fresh organic apple juice, hydrangea root tincture, gravel root, parsley, marshmallow root, uva ursi, ginger root (or cayenne pepper), B6 and magnesium oxide. This combination dissolves and void stones in the urinary tract,  strengthens, and detoxifies the entire urinary system. A nutrition practitioner should be consulted for the proper administration of this formula. 
We are now  ready for the liver, the organ of spring! The liver produces many substances involved in digestion and  filters all the blood of the digestive tract prior to its return to the heart. A clean and healthy liver is obviously vital for good health. In addition to cleansing the liver of toxic substances, it is also important to remove stones that can form in the liver, bile duct, and gall bladder. A highly successful and quick  formula includes extra virgin olive oil, fresh grapefruit, L-ornithine, and milk thistle. This formula is used in conjunction with Epsom salt, which dilates the biliary ducts to free stones, allowing them to pass  through the intestines.  This is a 24 cleanse and should be repeated in seven to fourteen days.
Throughout the systems cleanse described above, (digestive, urinary, and biliary), the person in our example has also treated themselves to frequent long, hot, soaks alternating  Epsom Salt (4# per tub) and food grade hydrogen peroxide (2 qts. per tub). The salt bath draws toxins and other impurities from the body through the pores of the skin as they are opened in the hot water. The H202 soak allows the tissues to re-oxigenate themselves during the bath. We soak out the unhealthy substances accumulated in our tissues and absorb regenerative oxygen into the body through the pores.
This spring cleanse program is perfectly safe and easy for most people to administer at home. However, it is recommended that first time users, consult a nutrition or detoxification counselor for quantities, monitoring, and support. Some of the common side effects of detoxifying the body include skin eruptions, diarrhea, body or breath odor, headache,  restlessness, and cold or allergy-like symptoms. A person trained in this area can help you understand that what you might interpret as signs of illness are really signs of the cleansing process at work. Impurities depart the body through every outlet: breath, skin, excrement. Occasionally, one can experience  some discomfort or embarrassment (EX: bloating, gas, acne). The good news, is that this all passes quite quickly as the body releases toxins that have hampered its performance and effectiveness. The end result is healthier, more efficient organ systems, and robust tissues.  It is worth doing for your total health and quality of life.
*A final note on the use of organic foods. It would be wonderful if we had a steady supply of inexpensive, organic foods in our markets. We don't. An average family cannot afford to feed itself on organic foods. Plus, oftentimes there are no guarantees that food advertising itself to be organic truly is. Farms that have converted themselves from generations of chemical use to less toxic methods, can still have residue from pesticides or herbicides in the soil. An organic farmer down stream from one using chemicals in his fields cannot guarantee his water supply is clean. Acid rains from polluted cities can travel great distances to dump poison on well-meaning farmers. So what do we do? First, by all means use fresh, organic produce whenever possible; it's sure to be cleaner and safer than produce we know is sprayed with poisons. When using conventional produce, clean it thoroughly before eating. Wash off the wax and other coatings you can see. Use soap and warm water or soak your produce in chlorinated water followed by a thorough rinsing to remove the chlorine. Discarding the peel of produce is another way to reduce toxins, though the peelings do contain much fiber and nutrition. In this day and age, there is no easy answer. Follow your conscience to make the best decisions for your health and the health of your family.


E-Mail Joann Flora
 E-mail Joann Flora


©Compliments To Your Health
Joann Flora 2003


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