Spring Cleaning: It’s not just for your house! As a transition season, Spring is a great time to focus on cleansing and detoxifying. When we’re thinking about achieving optimal function, it’s great to occasionally add some support or focus on detoxifying activities and habits, foods, etc. The goal is to support our pathways of elimination; making sure they are open and functioning at an optimal level. This allows our bodies to efficiently transform and clear out toxins so it can focus on other, secondary activities that keep us looking and feeling our best.
What are the pathways of elimination?
When we think about detoxifying, we’re basically focused on converting problematic substances/compounds into non-problematic ones and then getting them out of the body. The main routes of elimination are:
- Bile/poop via the liver and gut
- Urine via the kidneys and bladder
- Breath via the lungs
- Sweat via the skin
Now let’s check in:
- Are you having regular (at least daily) formed and complete bowel movements?
- Are you urinating at least a few times per day and with pale yellow, non-odorous urine?
- Are you doing some deep breathing regularly?
- Are you getting a sweat going at least a few times per week?
If you answered “no” to the above questions, or are concerned your pathways of elimination aren’t functioning in an ideal fashion, it’s time to address it!
What are signs of “poor detoxification?” Signs of poor detoxification include:
- Constipation or any issues with elimination
- Bloating, abdominal pain and gas
- Skin issues like acne and eczema
- Hormone imbalance issues (PMS, irregular, heavy or painful periods, etc).
- Chemical sensitivities (think of an over-burdened system)
- Allergies (histamine overload)
- Neurologic issues (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)
- Odorous or dark urine
- Lack of sweating when indicated
- Mood issues like anxiety and particularly anger
- Waking between 1-3am (liver time in TCM)
These signs (and more!) can all be indications that detoxification (particularly liver and kidney function) are not optimal and need some support. Making sure the elimination pathways are open is super important, particularly before adding any kind of concentrated or deeper cleansing routine.
QUICK TIPS: Here are some quick and easy ways to address all of the above:
- Drink lots of purified water! (About 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day; or somewhere between 2-3L/day is typically good for most adults). Add more if you’re sweating or traveling!
- Add more leafy greens to your diet. This adds magnesium, folate, fiber and chlorophyll – all of which support your detoxification pathways!
- Move your body! Movement and exercise are a great way to increase breathing and sweating. You can also try things like saunas, steam rooms and baths.
Proper detoxification impacts everything from hormone balance, to weight, skin health, gut health and more. That’s why in naturopathic medicine, we address detoxification as an avenue for healing and recovery.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bridget Casey at Rhode Island Natural Medicine, go to the schedule now tab or call us at 401-642-5855.