Spring Cleaning for the Mind and Body

– Sonya Nobbe, ND

Spring is the perfect time to address the clutter lurking in the far corners of our body and mind. Many ancient cultures liken the earth’s renewed support for life with support for a body’s transformation from hibernation and conservation in winter, to cleansing and new potential in spring. In western medicine the liver is the primary organ responsible for detoxifying medications, food, hormones, and chemicals. It also plays a key role in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. These functions are essential to almost every system in our body and yet we burden the liver further with regular exposure to harmful chemicals in processed foods, drinking water, cleaning products, and polluted air. A sluggish liver can slowly lead to whole-body toxicity, inflammation, and hormonal disturbance. Though it is not possible to eliminate your exposure to all harmful chemicals, it is quite possible and even easy to support liver function by engaging in a regular, individualized cleansing program. This is an excellent way for many people to feel great all year long and prevent countless chronic illnesses.

How can you assess the health of your liver? This is a challenge for a disease-oriented mainstream medical system that relies heavily on abnormal laboratory test results for diagnosis. Blood tests covered by OHIP commonly estimate liver damage rather than evaluate liver potential (known as organ reserve), and significant damage may not generate abnormal test results if the liver compensates by working double-time. Furthermore, mainstream medicine generally focuses on organ-specific diseases rather than underlying core imbalances. They may evaluate the brain in the case of migraines for example, but neglect to evaluate the liver as the root cause of hormonal disturbance or inflammation. Naturopathic medicine searches for these underlying imbalances and may assess the health of your liver according to the culmination of all your signs and symptoms, and with testing available at specialized laboratories.

A poorly functioning liver is not necessary to consider completing a cleansing program. A regular detoxification program may help to prevent body imbalances and ensuing disease by keeping the liver healthy. There are many methods to choose from – some rooted in ancient knowledge and some more a product of fashionable trends. Regardless of the method you choose, consider incorporating the following basic principles into your program.

Ensure that all organs associated with eliminating harmful chemicals from your body are functioning well. Daily bowel movements, fibre, and plenty of filtered water for excretion by the kidneys are essential. Deep breathing exercises not only aid relaxation and meditation, they also improve air-blood exchange of nutrients and wastes. Sweating daily in a sauna or during intense exercise will also help to eliminate wastes. Attempt to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals in your environment and finally, consider the impact of stress on the daily functioning of your body. Stress may be mental, emotional, physical, and chemical. It includes negative thoughts, unsupportive relationships, and unfulfilling employment. A cleansing program should address these stresses and may include meditation, visualization, and tai chi.

Your genetic make-up, medical history, and environment, should all be taken into consideration when devising a targeted liver-support program. I use a combination of diet, herbs, homeopathy, and acupuncture, according to my patients’ specific requirements and underlying core imbalances. Please visit my website for more resources to help you complete a spring cleanse.

You may find this and more of my articles published in Within Kingston Magazine.