According to an ancient Chinese text, “a superior healer is one who treats a disease before it shows symptoms, while an inferior one treats a disease only after it has manifested pain or discomfort,” (‘Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor, 100 B.C.). Therefore, the focus of Traditional Chinese Medicine is on preventing illness from occurring, instead of treating illness after it has occurred. Don’t get me wrong — Traditional Chinese Medicine stimulates the body’s intrinsic healing resources, and can therefore be used to treat nearly any illness (for more information on what acupuncture can treat, visit http://www.acupuncturebyariel.com/conditions-treated/ or visit the World Health Organization directly). However, acupuncture can help the body remain strong, even for those who are not ill or injured.
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I want to take a moment to talk about how acupuncture can be used to detox the body. It is important to note that the body is self-cleaning, and, when treated properly, toxins do not accumulate in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine has two guiding principles to steer treatment in the correct path: 1) Supplement that which is deficient; and, 2) Drain that which is excessive. Detox diets and products often drain the body to remove “excess”. This can potentially exasperate the problem, or just perpetuate the underlying weakness from the digestion organs, and make the person feel the need for another cleanse further down the road.
The problem lies in the fact that most people who are seeking detox are said to be deficient in a Chinese Medicine lens. This deficiency is indicated by symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, poor sleep, body aches, bloating, indigestion, irregular bowel movements, foggy-headedness, headaches, and emotional instability. Sound familiar? According to Chinese Medicine, we believe that these symptoms have less to do with toxins in the body, and more to do with weakened digestion. Of course, the body can have difficulty with digestion because junk food (including alcohol) and taxation has damaged the organs in charge of digestion. Many of the “detox diets” involve cold, damaging foods that purge the bowels. While this may make a person feel “good” in the short term, it can further weaken the digestive organs.
So, what can be done? Here are some suggestions.
- Eat a cleaner diet! This doesn’t necessarily require you to take steps to purge away all of the junk food that you consumed over the holidays. Just start eating a cleaner diet today! Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that you should eat based upon the season. Since it is winter and we live in a cold environment, warm soups with cooked veggies and tea is a good starting place. Try to avoid dairy, processed foods, and too much raw food, all of which are difficult to digest and weaken the digestive organs.
- Receive acupuncture! Acupuncture can have multiple benefits when a person has the goal of “detoxing” the body. For starters, acupuncture has a natural diuretic effect and stimulates the bladder. By increasing urination, more toxins are released through the urine. Acupuncture also regulates the bowels, which is another way that the body releases toxins. Acupuncture also strengthens the body’s digestive organs, which allow the body to digest the good nutrients in foods, and get rid of the toxins. This treats the root cause of the problem.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle! When your body is on a regular schedule, it will function better. Eating properly at regularly scheduled intervals and sleeping at the same time every night will help your body learn what it is supposed to do at what time. Also, moving your body through exercise will help eliminate stagnation in your body.
No matter how you choose to ‘detox’ your body, I am here to support you!