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Daily Detox

We all hear the latest craze of detoxing the body, either thru fasting, juicing or taking certain special supplements. Do they work? Maybe. Rather than do a specific detox , that sometimes maybe to intense on the person, such as fasting or long hours in a sauna, the traditional Chinese medicinal way is less intense. It is also done regularly thru daily routines.

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You really wanna drink that?

According to TCM(traditional Chinese medicine) one’s body operates in a daily cycle that remains constant. Supplying the body with nutrients and energy, while dispersing waste is a natural way to keep the body healthy. A health risk may arrive should the waste fail to be discharged, causing toxins to accumulate in the body.

Physical signs are given by the body when such toxins have accumulated. By adjusting one’s daily patterns can aid in dispelling pathogens form different organs more productively.

In TCM ,there a generally two kinds of toxins, external and internal. External toxins are those penetrating the body from the outside such as pathogens like air and water pollution, as well as pesticide residue. They enter the body through the air, water, foods and skin contact.

Internal toxins are those that are produced by ones metabolism. These toxins will cause health problems if they accumulate and not discharged( through defecation, urination and sweating)  by the body in a prompt manner.

There are several physical signs that indicate a much needed cleansing of these toxins are needed.

  • Constipation

The most important method to expel bodily toxins is thru daily defecation. Toxins will start to accumulate if  one does not have a bowel movement at least once every three days(!) With fewer bowel movements, harmful substances in the stools may be reabsorbed should they remain in the colon for too long.

TCM doctors don’t recommend cleansing the colon by “natural” laxatives or so-called colon irrigation, as these may lead to digestive system disorders. They don’t sound like fun either! To aid in obstinate stools and help relieve constipation, it is better to add more fibrous foods  to ones diet and get regular exercise.

 

  • Bad Breath

Bad breath is often caused by heat toxins accumulated in the lungs, spleen and stomach. It can also be caused by the build-up of food in the stomach due to improper digestion.

Overeating, especially spicy and greasy foods, can cause toxins to accumulate within the body, generating issues like ulcers, and indigestion, which is accompanied by bad breath.

To help with this problem, changing to a plain diet , making sure to have daily bowel movements and getting advice from a TCM specialist on adjusting one’s digestion issues may help.

  • Chloasma

Chloasma,   large brown patches usually on the face, in TCM is considered a symptom of energy imbalance caused by the accumulation of toxins. It is often accompanied with  energy stagnation  in the liver and low energy in the spleen and kidneys.

A change in diet and daily exercise is strongly recommended.

  • Acne

Acne develops when there is excess body oil (sebum) secreted and ends up blocking the pores. Western medicine states the problem coming from the endocrine systems disorders. TCM believes that it is a result of toxins built up within the body.

This build up is generally caused by eating too much greasy and spicy foods, staying up late at night and irregular bowel movements.

Following a healthier diet with less spicy, fatty and sugary foods/drinks, more exercise and avoiding smoking , alcohol, caffeine amy help reduce one’s acne.

 

  • Dull complexion

A dull complexion is a symptom of an accumulation of toxins in the lungs. TCM consider the lungs and the skin are closely related. Healthy looking skin is a sign of healthy lungs too.

Get as much fresh air as possible and refrain from smoking(naturally!) Taking in deep breaths of fresh air can help dispel the toxins in the lungs.

 

A person in good health can generally get rid of wastes and toxins in the body naturally. Coordinating with the TCM body schedule’ one can  adjust their daily habits to aid in clearing out toxins more efficiently for the different organs.

According to TCM energy is transmitted throughout  the human body by 12 meridians. The meridian system is made up by a series of channels, which are sequential to each other in the circulation of Qi (vital energy). Each meridian is “activated” every two hours. During this activation period, extra blood and Qi flow to the specific meridian to keep it functioning. Therefore it is the perfect  time for organs related to that meridian to eliminate toxins.

 

 

 

Here are the time frames:

5:00 -7:00 = Large intestine

This meridian is active from 5 am to 7 am. The best way for the large intestine to dispel toxins is thru a proper bowel movement. To help relieve constipation, massaging the large intestine meridian, located through the outer arms.

LI-route

Large intestine meridian

 

7:00-9:00= Stomach

At this time the stomach meridian is active, therefore it is recommended to eat  breakfast within this time frame. Doing abdominal breathing before eating, can aid in accelerating blood and energy circulation in the stomach. This will then enhance ones metabolism and digestion.

 

9:00- 11:00= Spleen

With ample energy in the stomach , it will digest all the food and send the nutrients to the spleen meridian , which is activated at 9 am. The job of the spleen is to turn all the digested food into energy.

 

11:00- 13:00= Heart

To aid to dispel toxins from the heart, it is highly recommended to avoid intense physical exercises from 11am to 1 pm.

Taking a nap in this time frame will help eliminate toxins from the heart and help it function better. One must not take a nap immediately after eating, as this may cause stomach trouble. It is advisable to take mini walk before napping. Naps over an hour are not recommended as it can cause insomnia at night.

Foods such as longan and jujubes are considered to help the heart get its proper nutrients.

 

longgan

longan fruit

 

13:00- 17:00= Small intestine and bladder

The main function of the is to separate and circulate digested nutrients. It forwards fluid to the bladder, waste to the large intestine and essence to the spleen where it forms blood and energy. The small intestine is critical to the absorption of nutrients.

Regarding the removal of toxins form the body, the bladder meridian is highly important. All toxins eliminated by other meridians go to the bladder and are dissipated thru one’s urine.

Drinking plenty of water during this time frame may aid detoxification through urination.

 

17:00- 19:00 = Kidneys

 

Edema, welling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues, can be a sign that there is accumulation of toxins in the kidneys. Exercising during this time period can aid dispelling toxins from the kidneys. Fungus and kelp are considered good foods for the kidneys.

 

19:00-21:00 =Pericardium

The pericardium is a membrane that surrounds the heart and roots for the great blood vessels. It also helps regulate circulation in the major blood vessels that run in and out of the heart. During this time frame, it helps dispel toxic energy around the heart to protect it.

When the pericardium does not properly dispel toxins adequately, one may undergo sleeplessness or tightness in the chest.

Massaging the pericardium meridian can aid in stimulating the blood flow and energy circulation to the heart and improve the release of toxins.

pericardium-clear

Pericardium meridian

 

21:00- 23:00 = Triple Burner Meridian

According to the TCM meridian clock, this time slot is for the Triple Burner. This meridian is responsible for the movement and transformation of various solids and fluids throughout the system, as well as for the production and circulation of nourishing and protective energy. Since there is no specific organ connected to this meridian, there is not much importance in the subject of detoxification of one’s body.

 

23:00- 1:00 = Gall bladder
1:00 -3:00 = Liver
3:00 -5:00 = Lungs

These three are grouped together, because toxins are best dispelled from these organs when one is in a deep sleep. Therefore in TCM, it is highly recommended to go to sleep before 11 pm. The quality of sleep is of upmost importance too.

The gall bladder is responsible for the initial cleansing of all tissues, processes cholesterol, and  enhances brain function.

The liver is responsible for the cleansing of blood and processing of wastes. It is advised not to drink alcohol before going to sleep and highly suggested alcohol during the liver meridian time frame.

The lungs are responsible for respiration, oxygenation, and the expulsion of waste gasses.

 

Following these daily guidelines, rather than pursuing an intense detoxification, one can  see results come gradually to a healthier and gratifying life.

 

 

 

References: Zhang Qian, Shanghai Daily, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The most loved season is here, summer! The organ that is associated with this season is the Heart. As a rule, the Heart is very sensitive in the summertime. The Heart is in the Yin channel, and when the summer Yang arrives, it can increase the Qi level of the Heart and therefore cause issues to one’s health. Any disturbances that are considered harmful to the Heart are more severe during the summertime.

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Heart

The emotion connected to the Heart is happiness. Although happiness is viewed as something positive, sometimes too much of a good thing can cause harm. When one is excessively happy, they tend to be very excited. This over excitement causes an increase of Qi to the Heart. This causes an excess of the Heart Fire. This is illustrated by fever, delirium, fast heart beat, profound restlessness, insomnia, a bright red face and a red or blistered painful tongue. The color of the tongue reflects the condition of the heart blood.

shen

The main functions of the Heart are correlated with the Shen (spirit) and the blood vessels. The Heart governs the blood vessels and is responsible for circulating blood through them.     Shen (spirit) refers to the function of processing all incoming sensory and emotional information and supervising the body&mind reaction to it. Therefore, some forms of emotional distress, dizziness, palpitations, and shortness of breath.

Almost all the issues and disorders of the Heart are correlated with excess. There are four major types of Heart weaknesses. They are Deficient Heart Qi, Deficient Heart Yang, Deficient Heart Blood and Deficient Heart Yin.

Deficient Heart Qi has symptoms of by general lethargy, panting and shallow breathing and frequent sweating.
Deficient Heart Yang has symptoms of a swollen, with bluish-green color, and the limbs are cold.
Deficient Heart Blood has symptoms of restlessness, irritability, dizziness, absentmindedness, and insomnia.
Deficient Heart Yin has symptoms of flushed feelings in the palms and face, low grade fever, and night sweating.

Bitter is the flavor with direct connection to the Heart. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine,bitter taste  can clear heat from the body, especially from the heart. When someone has excess heat, the body will show symptoms such as ulcers in the mouth, red face, emotional, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and dreaminess. Usually the urine is dark or yellow. The tip of the tongue can be very red or burning, with a bitter taste in the mouth. Sometimes the origin of the heat comes from the liver or gall bladder. Eating some bitter foods can make your treatment more successful such as: bitter melon(ku gua),   mustard leaf and other bitter green vegetables.

kugua

Ku Gua (bitter melon)

Qigong training, such as Baduanjin Qigong, during the summertime, will help regulate the Heart.

 

 

References: The Root of Chinese Qigong, Dr Yang,Jwing-Ming,1997

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