Simple ways to Spring Clean your Body and Mind photo photo

Although it might not feel like it in Nova Scotia, Spring is here! I am being taunted by photos and messages from my sisters in Vancouver and London (England that is!), about how warm and beautiful it is there lately. I do miss the cherry blossoms around Vancouver, but am staying optimistic that it will move this way soon!

With spring, comes spring cleaning. Spring cleaning not only refers to material objects but to our bodies as well. In an ideal world, we would eat healthily year round and not expose ourselves to toxins and chemicals, but that requires a lot of dedication. Don’t fret, the change of seasons is the best time to detox.

In Chinese medicine, spring is the season of the liver. This powerful organ is what filters toxins, which if built up can deposit throughout our body causing a variety of symptoms, including pain, headaches, digestive issues and allergies.

Allergies are very common in the spring, however not inevitable if we take the right steps and are proactive. It’s time to let go of toxins, start to feel better and prepare for the warm season.

Here are some simple ways to detox this spring:

  • Warm water with lemon in the morning - lemon stimulates your liver, primes your digestive system and promotes regular bowel movements (an important way we eliminate toxins). Cold water can shock our bodies and create tension within our digestive system, therefore stick with warm or room temperature water. 
  • Apple cider vinegar - 1/4 tsp in warm water before meals will also prime your digestive system and help eliminate toxins. ACV helps with many digestive issues, such as gas, bloating and even heartburn if low acid is the culprit.
  • Parsley, Cilantro, Dandelion, Nettles - All of these herbs are specific to the liver and help it function optimally. Add them to salads, smoothies or as a garnish. Dandelion and nettles can be made into a tea and have added benefits as a nutritive and a blood cleanser. 
  • Drink plenty of water - Your body is about 70% water. We release toxins through urination and sweat and that comes from the water we drink! 
  • Castor oil packs - Applied topically over the digestive system as a "pack," the castor oil is absorbed into the lymphatic system to cleans as well as stimulate immune function.  
  • Breathing - Proper breathing, specifically the exhale, is key to activating our parasympathetic nervous system ( the "rest and digest" component), allowing our digestive system, including the liver, to continue the detoxification process. Slowing our breathing allows better exchange of old and new air, optimizing the function of every cell.
  • Exercise - At least 30 minutes of moderate exercises a day can make you look and feel better. Not only does it help release toxins it helps release tension, emotions and triggers the mind-body connection. 

This is just a start but implementing these practices on a daily basis can go a long way in your overall wellbeing. So drink up, get breathing and enjoy the sunshine with a brisk walk. 

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen