Beginning of a new year & post holidays, cleanses & detoxes get a lot of attention - and partially due to the indulgences of the festive season. Maybe we feel sluggish & burnt out or just plain guilty & critical of our choices. So - does your body need to be cleansed or detoxed? In a simple answer, no - & - let me explain why:
Your body came equipped with its own detoxification protocol:
Specifically, your liver & to a certain extent, your kidneys all play a natural role in detoxification. Subsequently, you release waste through sweat, urine, feces, skin, hair, & some may be stored in fat. It is important to understand that substances, such as drugs & alcohol can, over time, damage the detoxification processes of these organs, which is why moderation or avoidance are preferable. If you have over-consumed alcohol, drugs, been exposed excessively to heavy-metals, or have taken over-the-counter pain relievers (Tylenol or acetaminophen are notorious for damaging the liver) you should SUPPORT these organs, which leads to the next point...
Less deficiency, more sufficiency:
MOST people are operating in a deficient, run-down state, not an excess state. In Chinese medicine, there are conditions & constitutions where there is too much of a substance, where a valve needs to be released, similar to an over-inflated tire. This is where too much is not necessarily a good thing & a "purge-like" treatment may be useful. This is a very specific individual or disease-state, & most people do not necessarily need to be "detoxed" in this situation. They may need more calming & nourishing herbs & food - or to have the more nourishing aspects of the body (often referred to as yin) built up & supported. In the end, detoxing or cleansing often leaves people feeling more poorly or with another issue that then needs to be addressed, especially when they self-prescribe.
Our bodies work like a thermostat & are not dirty or broken:
There has been a perpetuation of the belief that our bodies are "dirty" or "un-clean" - especially for women. Our bodies are dynamic & function on a constant feedback loop. All of our hormones, including appetite, temperature, urination, reproduction, sleep, thirst, pH levels - are at a delicate set-point & our systems inherently know how to determine the best set-point - without needing to be "purged". Quite often, detoxing can lead to a longer healing process. Acupuncture is an excellent way to help the system re-set. Exercise & working up a sweat, helps to naturally release waste from our tissues, as do infer-red saunas.
Food and appropriate herbal medicine assist with optimal wellness:
Eating a well-balanced diet, in addition to intermittent fasting, keep the gut healthy. A healthy gut means a strong immune system, efficiently running organs, and excellent mental health (there is more seratonin located in our gut than our brain). Appropriate herbal formulas can help boost our systems as needed, but I believe getting digestion on-track is one of the most vital aspects to optimal wellness.
Feeling guilty about your dietary choices is going to make the issue WORSE:
I am the first to agree that we are what we eat - BUT - how we feel about ourselves, including the potentially critical voices in our head - can be even more destructive to our health. If you made some less than ideal choices over the holidays, it's okay. It really is. Did you enjoy yourself? Well, that's the key right there. If you are going to eat a cookie or ten, just enjoy that moment and move on. If you have a difficult time abstaining from the stuff you know makes you feel bad - or you feel drawn to it - these are issues I can help you with. These are what I call ROOT issues. I can help you address these root issues, which will ultimately help with BRANCH symptoms - which can be excess weight, pain, inflammation, insomnia, & mental health issues. Simply losing weight & stopping pain do not typically lead to long-term results. The root cause of the issue needs to be addressed, & I am good at that.
Ready to tackle some of the over-whelm & over-indulgence of the season? Schedule your consultation or appointment now! Here's to your health - Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist at Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine in Lexington, KY.
About the Author:
Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently practicing in the gorgeous, horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.