Patient Helpsheet: Cleansing
Spring has a natural feeling of change and rebirth about it. In traditional Chinese medicine, one of the organs connected with springtime is the liver. Both of these reasons make spring a great time to try cleansing. Cleansing can be thought of as taking a rest from certain foods in order to rid any excess waste or toxins from the body. In many ancient philosophies and religions, including traditional Chinese medicine, cleansing is thought to be a vital part of achieving optimum health.
Cleansing can take many forms. These days, people often approach cleansing by committing to drink only fruit and vegetable juices for a period of five or 10 days. That’s just one facet of cleansing and one way to look at it.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help. TCM treats every individual holistically, taking into account their well-being, both physically and psychologically. TCM incorporates many different modalities to treat a patient, but the most common are acupuncture, Chinese herbs and nutrition.
Acupuncture for cleansing:
One of the major components of cleansing is making sure the body’s detoxifying and elimination processes are working right, meaning both nutrients are able to be absorbed and toxins are able to be processed and removed. Cleansing your diet simply helps to facilitate this process by not adding any more toxins into the mix, giving your liver and kidneys time to catch up. Acupuncture is all about facilitating the movement of nutrients and toxins in the body. Acupuncture can improve liver and kidney Qi quality and flow, meaning more detoxifying can happen. It can also improve the quality of sleep, which is where our bodies do most of our natural healing.
Acupuncture points for cleansing:
● Liver 3: This point is located on the top of each foot, in the webbing between the big and second toes, where the tendons meet. Alternately pressing this point on each foot helps to regulate and refresh the liver, which is the most important organ involved in detoxification.
● Kidney 27: This point is located in the depression just below the tip of each collarbone. Alternately pressing this point on each side flushes toxins from the kidney, another important organ involved in detoxification.
● Large Intestine 4: This point is located on each hand in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. Stimulating this point helps to flush toxins through the digestive tract and bowels.
Dietary recommendations for cleansing:
In the spring, traditional Chinese medicine suggests eating cooling foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables. Foods packed with chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, are also strongly connected with supporting liver health, according to TCM. These foods are especially good to eat to cleanse the liver:
● Bean sprouts
● Mung bean sprouts
As always, contact your local acupuncturist or health care provider with questions