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by Maureen Cromey
An Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Expert
Oh dear my hair is limp, eyes lack lustre, skin seems to be ageing and spotty, there are a few itchy dry patches and even with makeup I look tired. My muscles ache when I walk up the stairs and I crave a coffee and chocolate in the afternoon. I’m feeling irritable with everything, low mood and tired even after a long sleep. I’m apathetic, bloated and inefficient.
Detoxing means to remove poisons or toxins. Our bodies have natural waste management system, waste is eliminated via out breath, urine, sweat and faeces. We filter the air we breathe, and the food and drink we consume, and anything we absorb through our skin. Our blood circulation, digestive tract, liver, kidneys and lungs are all brilliant systems that operate efficiently and effectively in the right conditions.
The problems arise when we overload. Drinking coffee and alcohol every day, breathing polluted lead laden air, eating processed foods full of additives and sugars, overeating and not getting enough sleep, feeling stressed and upset, partying hard or often. These all exhaust our wonderful bodies and gradually their ability to eliminate wastes diminishes and toxins build up. We cease to thrive.
The answer may lay in a Detox. 'Detox diets” can be severe eating only raw foods or fasting, taking purgatives and colonics. This can be OK if you are strong but it can drain and exhaust softer constitutions. Detoxing to invigorate and tonify must be appropriate to the individual. It is much kinder and more natural to support our constitutions by working in harmony with what each person’s needs. A gradual detox will be as effective and a lot kinder then extreme changes in diet. Sudden withdrawal from toxins such as sugars, coffee and alcohol can cause great discomfort with headaches, mood swings and cravings.
From the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective each person is different with different needs, there are some basic steps that will help everybody:
If you follow these steps your toxic load and stress levels will drop quickly. This allows the organs to function effectively eliminating waste products and conveying nourishment to every cell. Sadly after years of neglect or particularly toxic habits it can be hard to return to normal function levels and imbalances persist. This is when acupuncture and herbs are very helpful. Acupuncture regulates the internal homeostasis which means it gets everything working properly, it is like tuning and servicing a complex machine. Herbs support this function.
A course of treatment and dietary advice from a TCM practitioner will ensure that your detox is effective. Regular visits will help you to stay on course and keep organs functioning well. When we feel well and happy cravings for toxic foods and lifestyle diminish. It is misguided to harshly detox and then return to old habits. Far better to live well most of the time with the occasional indiscretion. Your body will cope perfectly with that when it is all tuned up.