My favourite subject (after bowel habits!)

Vitamin-mineral-deficienciesMy favourite subject in the whole wide world – after bowel movements- is detoxing. Ok, so that involves bowel movements which is probably why I like it. As a Naturopath I’m always hitting home about the importance of detoxification, but even more importantly is the ORDER of detoxification. After many years of seeing clients I lost count of the amount of times someone would come to see me saying they had candida and had followed an anti-fungal diet but still found they had symptoms. Another scenario was that clients had undergone amalgam removal, yet further probing showed they had no strategy in place to help their body cope with this- no pre-plan, no op plan and no post-plan. That’s like going on a boat trip without checking the weather, not putting the sails up and not bailing out when you spring a leak. Preparation is the key. Most of the time we are in survival mode in the first place and the body is overwhelmed with toxins, so to place further stress on any organs can cause chaos. Internal stress comes in many forms: dehydration, presence of pathogens like bacteria/fungi/parasites, food intolerances and BLOCKED ELIMINATION ORGANS. There are six main elimination organs and each communicates with the others: the bowel, the liver, the blood & lymph, the kidneys, the skin and the lungs. According to ancient Chinese principles, the organs work in pairs and some organs can be over- energised or under- energised, so it is about finding balance. According to Ayurvedic principles some organs can be cool, warm, hot or damp, so again, it is finding the right balance. Let’s go through the organs of detoxification and then we can talk about the order to do this. The skin is the largest of the elimination organs and just underneath runs the blood and the lymph. The blood is passing via the intestines to pick up nutrients, but of course, it can pick up toxins too. If the main drain of the body, the large intestine, is not eliminating 2-3 times a day, then the blood will soon become toxic. The blood is constantly being filtered by the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system but these can become overwhelmed, so toxins become deposited in joints and muscles. I had an experience of this where each morning I’d wake up with a sore back and stiff joints. This was TOXIC OVERLOAD and nothing else. It was amazing how quickly it all cleared up once I’d got my body’s filters working again. Many clients would come for a consultation and say, “yeah I have a few aches and pains but what do you expect at my age”. Whaaaaat! What’s that got to do with it?! Don’t be fooled that it is normal to have ‘a few aches and pains’, nor accept that your age has anything to do with it. Our elimination organs do a wonderful job at maintaining homeostasis in the body- the perfect balance between all of the systems. If you are noticing skin issues, headaches, joint pains, diarrhoea, frequent colds, heavy periods etc this is NOT your body going wrong. This is what your body is trying to do to keep you alive. Now that may sound dramatic, but it is trying to maintain balance at all times. What can be toxic to the body? And what are the effects of toxins? We are not aware of what is going on inside of us and the only time we are, is if we are aware that we feel ill. You will often hear of people say ‘he just dropped dead of a heart attack, he never had a day’s illness in his life’. I often get people coming in asking for help with their high blood pressure. From a natural point of view, this hasn’t just happened overnight and there isn’t just one pill that will assist this. This is a lifestyle change. The bowel has become full and congested, placing an upward pressure on the heart. The person has gained weight and so the blood is having to use a stronger pressure to pump around the additional capillaries, the blood is sludgy due to a lack of essential fats and nutrients and possibly toxins, the arteries are thicker with deposits. It has taken years to achieve this before the blood pressure has finally increased to compensate and it has been picked up by the GP. The other day in my clinic a lady came in and asked if we did anything for gall stones as she had just been diagnosed with them. She was surprised as she had never had any trouble before. Well they didn’t just appear overnight! Creating gallstones is a long and tricky process by the body and takes lots of cleansing before the body will dissolve the stones and liquefy the bile again. The cumulative effects of toxins will show itself in various ways:

  • Recurrent headaches
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Paraesthesia and neuralgia
  • Recurrent infections
  • Infertility
  • Adverse reactions or sensitivity to environmental chemicals, odours or nutritional supplements
  • Chronic fatigue and lethargy
  • Depression, anxiety or mood swings
  • Poor short-term memory and concentration
  • Anaemia

Looking at external features can let us know what is happening inside. The following terminology is used in a loose sense, meaning an imbalance in energy and is not a diagnosis. Face

  • Are there dark circles under the eyes? Adrenal fatigue. Imbalance in kidney energy.
  • Do the cheeks sag? Spleen imbalance.
  • Is there a furrow in the middle of the forehead? Liver congestion.
  • Are there furrows at the start of the eyebrow? Stomach weakness.
  • Are there pimples or dry/greasy skin around the forehead or cheeks? (hormones) or chin? (colon)
  • Is your forehead like a roadmap, like Gordon Ramsey’s? Small intestine weakness.
  • Is there redness of the cheeks and nose? Food sensitivities.

Look at your nails

  • Are they ridged? Deficiencies.
  • Are there white spots? Zinc deficiency.
  • Are they brittle or flaking? Are the cuticles redder than the skin on the rest of the finger? Lack of essential fats.

Start observing yourself. Look at your eyes

  • Are they bright? Blood shot?
  • Do you struggle in bright sunlight?

Look at your tongue

  • Is it pale pink or does it have red patches or spots?
  • Can you see teeth marks down the side?
  • Is there a white coating? A yellow coating?
  • Does your tongue quiver?
  • Does it look like there are cuts or gashes centrally?

All of these things are indicators that the body is compensating and is lacking in internal harmony and the basic nutrients that help to keep the cells functioning at optimum health. Does this mean you’re going to drop dead? Of course not. If you visit your GP and say ‘my cuticles are red and I have dark circles under my eyes’ and he runs blood tests, do you think he will find anything? Unlikely. And that is because the body compensates. And it can spend years whispering to us with a little ache here, slight inflammation there, before the cells finally make enough changes to be picked up in blood tests. Let’s go through the order of detoxification. This is a chart of the six main elimination organs and the techniques that benefit them, as well as the steps to be followed in order to achieve vibrant health. Download our Steps to Vibrant Health Chart first to follow along In addition to the physical aspects of the Steps to Vibrant Health there is also a more spiritual pathway that should also be addressed. We cannot have the physical without addressing the emotional/mental aspecst of the body. The stages of healing The first stage of healing is the most critical and often the most challenging. It involves cleansing and letting go of all self-limiting feelings and surrendering the mind’s need to understand. STAGE 1 Physical: Cleanse. Eat more alkaline forming foods. Replace vitamin, enzyme, or mineral deficiencies and balance the body’s pH. The body needs to feel nourished at all times so concentrate on steamed or raw vegetables to cleanse. The digestive system needs to re-learn the qualities of assimilation and elimination. Rest is essential to integrate these changes and meditation is the best form of rest.  Relationship: Nurture yourself. This isn’t just a hippy expression! Let go of all notion that someone else should take care of you. Let go of any need to blame others for own experiences. Don’t dwell on past pain and go beyond childhood experiences to the source of who you are. This may mean recognising old habits, acknowledging them and deciding to change them.  Mental: Surrender the mind’s need to control. Let go of the need to understand everything. Trust the process of healing and allow for creative change. STAGE 2 Physical: After cleansing, the body must be rebuilt through nutrition and appropriate bodywork. Most people benefit from gentle, peripheral massage techniques using soft strokes.  Relationship: Begin the process of self-acceptance, of improving your self-image. Don’t just recreate the old you; build a new self.  Mental: Start making changes for yourself. If you want to change, you must first determine how to change. Evaluate the options open to you, then choose the path that will bring results. STAGE 3 Physical: Vitalise the body. Now that your body is stronger, animate it. Express yourself through movement. Chi Kung is one of the most useful therapies as it creates a sense of stillness while focusing attention on inner movement.  Relationships: Take your new self and put it in social situations. Play, interact with groups of people. Taste the fruits of your self-development work. If the body is integrated, cleansed and healthy, the new self has a greater capacity for success.  Mental: Apply what you have learned. Keep up the programme. Be self observant; watch to see how you can waver from your chosen path. This can be very difficult but be persistent in moving in your new direction. This is the stage at which many people interrupt their own healing process, when the old habits come knocking at the door. STAGE 4 Stage 4 is when you free yourself from the limitations of your personality. The only way to do this is through relationship; you don’t get there alone because it requires the fusion of opposites. Your left and right brain must be in such a state of vibratory aliveness that they can meld without dissolving into each other. Your internal polar opposites actually occupy the same space and retain their integrity. Two must become one, both internally and externally. This stage is an experience of the freedom that can only come through relationship, when two awakened, vibrant beings unite in a mutual, joyous exploration of life. Table of Healing Stages

  Stage 1 Stage 2  Stage 3 Stage 4
Mental Self-control SurrenderGo inward Evaluate optionsMake choices Self-observation Persistence Creative Self-expression Objectivity Service Genius
Relationship EmotionsConnection to others Nurture yourselfRelease the past Self-acceptanceTaking responsibility Group interactionPlay Union with a mateTrue feeling
Physical StillnessBodywork Biochemistry Movement CleanseRest NourishTouchRebuild VitaliseMove!Reach out Experience aliveness,Dynamic joy

So, I hope you feel a little more enlightened in the process of detoxification. Remember the downloadable charts are merely guides and are not a substitute for seeing a Qualified Practitioner. If you wish to make changes to your diet or lifestyle, first discuss this with your own Medical Doctor. If you have any suggestions or topics you would like to know more about, please leave a comment below.