Spring has arrived, which means many of us will begin a seasonal spring cleanse. A gentle and thorough spring cleanse is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. The goal is to remove any stagnation left over from the conservation of winter, lighten our systems in preparation for the high activity of summer, and become more vibrant and focused. Additionally, a spring cleanse helps us to decide what is important and what to let go of in pursuit of greater wellbeing.
Spring is characterized by expansive energy that promotes growth and change. It is important to exercise, be in nature, and practice deep breathing exercises to align with this energy and gain its benefits. For more information, read this article on how to spring forward into health.
What I want to discuss is how your body works during the cleansing process.
First, metabolic waste is pushed into the circulation system. This process is led by the liver where the blood, which carries metabolic waste, is stored and filtered. From the liver, blood flows into the right atrium of the heart, also where the lymph system empties. With contraction, the blood and lymph enters the lungs to become oxygenated. Initial cleansing side effects at this stage include symptoms of cold/flu, congestion, or coughing.
The blood then flows back to the left heart. There is a strong connection between the heart and mind in traditional Chinese medicine. This connection correlates to emotional release, insights, or insomnia as waste is removed from the heart.
Waste is then circulated through the digestive system. A functioning digestive system is able to eliminate some waste with defecation. If the digestive system is weak or stagnant, the waste can become stuck and common side effects are bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence. As the blood continues to circulate, it reaches our kidneys which eliminate some waste via urine. Waste that is not able to be excreted travels back to the liver.
On one hand, this cycle can be quite fast- your heart circulates blood approximately 1400 times per day. But we can also become stuck at one part of this cycle for weeks or months, making this process much longer. It is valuable to note what symptoms you experience during a detox, as this can help you understand where health issues originate and where they progress to.
To recap: waste is drained into the circulation system, which is eventually excreted via sweat, breath, urine, bowel movements, and emotional release. With any cleanse, it is important to move gradually so the body can efficiently manage the discharge of waste.
By clearing waste and preventing reabsorption, we make room for the body’s natural process of regeneration and rejuvenation.
To make your spring cleanse as beneficial as possible, consider incorporating some acupuncture or herbs to harmonize your body’s energy and expedite the rejuvenating process.
Thoughts and practical tips to help you look and feel your best based in the wisdom of Chinese medicine.
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