Phone rings: “Uhh, yeah, do you guys have a program for detoxing? I mean, not like the detoxing from drugs or alcohol….just, like, ya know, from eating too much processed food: Gluten, Beer … Probably too much red meat too, come to think of it. Should I do that cleanse with the lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 6 weeks before Coachella?”
What is one to do to make up for all of this “bad” behavior?
What, if anything, is necessary?
Rest assured, your liver is doing the job of detoxing unless it is damaged or diseased. It converts the nutrients in our diets into substances that the body can use. The liver stores these substances and supplies cells with them when necessary. It also takes up toxic substances and converts them into harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body. What a great friend we have in the liver. Perhaps we should take care of it.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of emotions as well as Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions.
A few neat facts about the Liver:
-The eyes are the sensory organ related to the Liver. If you have any eye issues, including blurry vision, red or dry eyes, itchy eyes, it may be a sign deep down that your Liver is not functioning smoothly.
-The tendons are the tissue associated with the Liver. TCM says that strength comes from the tendons, not muscles. Be like the cat that is strong, agile, and flexible- not the cow, which has huge muscles but little real strength.
-The taste that corresponds to and supports the Liver is sour. If you crave sour foods, that may be your Liver communicating that it needs an extra boost. Would you like a side of vinegar with that?
-Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver. If you are often irritable, get angry easily, have trouble unwinding from the day’s activities, have trouble reasoning or going with the flow and letting things go, you can listen to our advice.
My ideas for “detoxing” involve ongoing practices that keep your body in a constant state of good housekeeping. I did not say PURITY. That, as we know, is impossible! Quick: stop the overnight shipment of 10 day’s worth of cold-pressed juices.
Step 1: Soothe the Liver with acupuncture and other meditative practices. Ever notice how you feel during and after acupuncture? That’s because acupuncture harmonizes the organs. In other words, we quiet the overactive organ systems and give strength to the organs that are under active.
Here’s something you can do at home
- Rub the acupressure point called “Taichung” (Liver 3) which stimulates a key point on the Liver channel. It’s located on the top of your foot where the big toe bone meets the 2nd toe bone. It may be sore, but this means you’re hitting the right spot! Congratulations! You are unblocking your Liver Qi.
- Invigorate the Liver by getting rid of cellular garbage and excess body fat. Did you know that your body can take care of its affairs best when it is given periods of time with no food or snacks? Crazy, huh.
- Get the skin involved! The largest organ in the body and has the easiest access. Get naked and pick up a body brush. That’s right- DRY BRUSHING is a MUST for self-care. Not only does dry brushing stimulate the meridians, it encourages lymphatic drainage. Think river, rather than a stagnant pond. It also brightens and smooths the skin.