Spring into clean!

MarlowWe find ourselves answering an inner urge at this time of year, the return of sunny days enjoining us to clean the windows and to let in the fresh brisk air; the riot of new growth in the garden has us hustling for our shears and trowels in preparation for the promise of the next harvest.

Physically we often do a minor review at this time – how have we fared with our new year’s resolutions?! Did they get buried in the cold dark winter nights? Here we are, emerging, feeling perhaps, blinded and sluggish in the wake of the lengthening days; restless to be out in the garden, on our bikes, actively inhabiting our bodies.

Spring is a jubilant, sap-rising time of year and just as nature responds to the tilt of the earth and longer days, so do our bodies. The Chinese know a thing or two about how energy flows in nature and consequently in our bodies. Spring is associated with the element of wood, which corresponds to the liver and gall bladder. As ‘The General’ of the organs, the liver is a power house and multi-purpose generator, a strategic Overlord of sorts. The excitement of the season serves to activate the liver and thus it is an ideal time to focus and support it by giving it a ‘Spring Clean’.

In modern culture we tend to overindulge in many practices that tend to tax our livers heavily, resulting in symptoms ranging from a lack of energy, headaches, digestive troubles, irritability, craving of stimulants, difficulties in decision-making to sleeplessness. One of the characteristics of someone with a ‘dodgy liver’ might be to make rash and sometimes dramatic decisions (or to be paralyzed and unable to act) perhaps as a sort of backlash against the general sluggishness and feeling of toxicity.

The secret of success for most ventures lies in the preparation. There is little value to be had in ‘painting over the cracks’, so too when we seek to ‘do a cleanse’ – Fasting, Diets, Cleanses – very much in vogue these days. Many novice enthusiasts undertake their new regime of juice and greens with great gusto and good intentions – unfortunately the success rate can be disappointing without a little preparation and understanding.

There are many ways to undertake a liver cleanse ranging from cutting back on alcohol, coffee and sugar to a more rigorous regime that may include fasting and the use of herbs, acupuncture or remedies.
In my practice I am occasionally asked if I can ‘give a pill’ to effect a cleanse. The answer is, “Yes and No.”

YES – There are remedies that have a proven track record in promoting the clearing of the system and there are others that are known to specifically support a damaged or struggling liver. These remedies are prescribed under particular circumstances (based on the WHOLE PERSON) and act as a safe, gentle and effective support to the individual’s best efforts to be self-regulating.

NO – It would, in my opinion, be irresponsible to prescribe a pill with the intention of cleansing an organ without tending to the person as a whole. This is where a little understanding comes in and the marriage of common sense, nutrition and lifestyle meets homoeopathy. If we are serious about a Spring clean, we need to be thorough and take into account that it would be counter-productive to stir up a lot of dust without opening the windows! To that end, remembering that the bowel, skin, kidneys and lungs are major organs of elimination, it behoves one to make sure they are functioning and supported before initiating the clear out. This again is where remedies can play a pivotal role.

Diet is also crucial part of the whole process. I will occasionally recommend a fairly simple diet guide to patients to support them in their re-calibrating process. This eating plan offers a gentler approach to cleansing than a more rigorous juice and or fasting regime.

The Liver Diet

Do this for 10 days to 2 weeks. During this time make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of fresh (non-fluoridated) water per day. Get plenty of sleep and spend some time outside in the sun every day. Also, if possible, have regular saunas and consider treating yourself to some reflexology or massage sessions.
Keep warm and pursue gentle exercise to keep yourself flexible. Take naps!

AVOID ALTOGETHER

  • salt, meat, dairy
  • sugar, fats, spices
  • wheat, alcohol, processed foods
  • coffee, tea and tobacco

Drink warm water with lemon first thing every morning. Eat LOTS of fresh organic green vegetables, fruit, seeds, onions, garlic and rice.

Be advised that a change in diet can create very noticeable effects. Headaches, low energy, skin eruptions and irritability are not uncommon initial reactions. These will be passing symptoms, If they persist beyond the end of the 10 days consult a practitioner / homoeopath.

If you do decide to have a ‘proper clear-out’ take heart, nature is on your side and will lend her abundant energy to your endeavour. You will emerge feeling lighter with a sense of renewed vitality and clarity.

Happy Spring!

Diet and Homoeopathy

MarlowPeople often ask me if they are going to have to alter their diets and commit to fasting or change their habits in drastic measures in order for homoeopathy to work for them. In fact, occasionally they come to me assuming that I am going to ‘make them’ implement the changes that they already know they need to make in their lives!

The hot news in the public health forums these day inevitably has some link or other to do with diet. How to lose weight, how to gain weight, wheat intolerance, glucose intolerance, dairy intolerance… Image is probably one of strongest tools for drawing attention to what we do or do not eat. Celebrity diets are on the ‘up’ and miracle cures are touted continuously. More and more of us are being made aware of the increase of chronic illnesses such as Cancer, Diabetes, Coeliac Disease, IBS… The media bombards us with the new super foods and supplements that are promising the cure to all our ills; from obesity to ageing, depression to sleeplessness. It’s a veritable minefield out there, information overload leading many of us to retreat back into our comfortable patterns and surrender to what may or may not amount to low-level chronic illness.

I am not a nutritionist. As an homoeopath, what I will do is take a detailed summary of your health history, including your eating habits. Cravings and aversions are an important part of the profile because they not only give a sense of the overall shape and balance of a person’s diet, but they indicate certain important features about the person’s individual constitution. Homoeopathy recognizes that all of us are individual and so it makes sense that we each have different nutritional requirements and sensitivities. During the course of treatment, if people have had significant imbalances in their appetite or cravings these naturally balance themselves out. The goal of every homoeopath is not to restrict and control someone’s dietary options but to help them reach a state of health where they naturally make the best choices for themselves – because it feels right. Food intolerance can be borne of an overall sensitivity that can often be addressed with the use of remedies on a constitutional basis. Feeling well in yourself also reflects in a healthful level of weight, stamina and flexibility.

That said, there are certain basic principles that seem to work as a guideline to healthful eating. Eat sensibly. A diet rich in variety, fresh fruit and vegetables and a minimum of processed foods. Too much of ANYTHING is not good for anyone.

Homoeopathy, though well known and established in this country for almost 200 hundred years, is still a bit of a mystery to people. There seem to be so many different therapies and healing modalities available these days that it can be pretty baffling trying to figure out which is which, let alone whether the therapy is appropriate for you or not. If you have digestive related symptoms or basic questions about a balanced diet, call an Homoeopath!