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Archive for Natural Health Regimens

Detox Options

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic.  Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease…), and we can see that we can really have our bodies bombarded with toxins.  The inevitable consequences are further disease or debility.  Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine. I personally follow a routine that includes a monthly detoxification – perhaps an organ or a body system or a whole-body cleanse.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia.  Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, and Asiatic Indians – practiced and still continue some form of detoxification.  In early American history, the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods.  Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation.  One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse.  The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two.  It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change.  Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program.  And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout.  Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combinations to cleanse.  The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally.  And as a rule, we should be sure to cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Combinations for the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root.  Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet are also helpful especially for the liver.  The blood and lymph glands also benefit from the dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, Oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark and yellow dock.  Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves, high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy.  Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. Start your own cleaning program and see how much better you feel.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Reflexology

Years ago I heard an illustration regarding the importance of each of us doing our part to make the world a better place.  It used the Biblical picture of us all being a part of the body, and noted that most of us think of the foot as being relatively unimportant – until we stub a toe!  At that moment all the energies of the rest of the body are concentrated toward that hurting member.  Thus it is with our feet.

If I were to take a survey (as I often do in some of our classes), I’d find that most of us spend quite a bit of time applying cosmetics to our faces, washing and fixing our hair, bathing our bodies, and perhaps even getting massages and spa treatments.  But little attention is paid to our feet until they begin to give us trouble.  If we are in a career that requires us to be on our feet for extended periods of time, then we are more apt to pay attention to them.  Or if we hurt them in some way, then they get some attention.  But they need that attention regularly in a preventive role as well.  We need to realize their importance to our overall well-being.

How much do you know about your feet?  On average, each foot contains 26 small bones, 114 ligaments, and some 20 muscles.  These are held together by connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves and covered with layers of skin. Your feet contain about a quarter of all the bones in your body and they are the foundation of your whole skeletal structure.  They support your whole upright body weight throughout your life.

Over a century ago, the feet were “charted”.  It was noted that the feet were particularly sensitive in spots that directly related to areas of distress in the body.  So a chart was created that linked areas of the feet to specific portions of the body.  Thus “reflexology” was born.

In her book on Reflexology, Inge Dougans states, “Reflexology is a gentle art, a fascinating science and an extremely effective form of therapeutic foot massage that has carved an impressive niche in the field of complementary medicine.  It is a science because it is based on physiological and neurological study and an art because much depends on how skillfully the practitioner applies his or her knowledge, and the dynamics which occur between practitioner and recipient.”

She later continues, “Reflexologists do not isolate a disease and treat it symptomatically, nor do they work specifically on a problem organ or system, but on the whole person with the object of inducing a state of balance and harmony.  The art of reflex foot massage must not be confused with basic foot massage or body massage in general.  It is a specific pressure technique which works on precise reflex points on the feet, based on the premise that reflex areas on the feet correspond with all body parts.  As the feet represent a microcosm of the body, all organs, glands and other body parts are laid out in a similar arrangement on the feet.”

And since the nerves of the feet are “linked” to various parts of the body, it stands to reason that the use of essential oils and aromatherapy may also enhance that feeling of completeness.

So what does all this mean to you and me?  Well, we all enjoy a good foot massage, don’t we?  But there may be times when we are particularly stressed in some portion of our lives or some part our bodies and we may want to seek out the advice and counsel of a competent reflexologist.  Knowing just how much pressure to place on just the right spot on our feet may be “just what the doctor ordered” to bring us a renewed sense of well-being.  Good health and God bless.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.