(The following article is intended for general information and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or nutritional counseling.)
For thousands of years traditional oriental medicine has taught that cleansing the body at the time of seasonal changes is very important for maintaining health and vitality. Major cleansing periods occur at the time of the equinoxes during the spring and fall. Each cleansing concentrates on different areas of the body and energy system. Traditionally, a light summer cleansing focuses on the heart and small intestines, a light winter cleansing focuses on cleansing the kidneys, the more intense cleansing of spring focuses on the liver. The intent of oriental medicine is to keep a person healthy and functioning at optimum capacity. The emphasis is on positive revitalization and prevention as well as treating the consequences of immediate and/or chronic illness. Frequently, Oriental Medical Doctors work with western medical doctors and other health care professionals to maximize the best possible outcome for those who have serious or chronic illnesses.
Autumn is a special time of major cleansing for the lungs, immune system and large intestines, according to Dr. Elizabeth Dane, a prominent nutritional consultant, Manhattan O.M.D. (Oriental Medical Doctor) and Ph.D., a graduate of southern California's Samra University. Dr. Dane recently completed completed a comprehensive self-help book on weight loss, metabolic diet analysis and planning, exercises, self massage, Chinese herbs, and holistic therapies scheduled to be released by Random House/Ballantine Books during Spring of 2000.
How you take in energy from food and oxygen varies according to your genetic make-up, according to Dr. Dane, who has developed a unique system to identify individual metabolic types to maximize the health of her patients. A strong immune system is very important in the fall. Your killer T-cells which make substances to kill viruses, funguses and large microbes need abundant oxygen to work efficiently. To keep your immune system strong, your lungs have to be kept strong. Your lung meridians (life force energy pathways recognized in Chinese medicine) and intestinal meridians need strengthening and a fall "tune up."
During your cleansing process you may derive great benefit from powerful stress reduction techniques, such as Reiki, tai chi, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, network chiropractic, massage and non-aerobic gentle stretching exercises. A key factor during detoxification is to reduce stress and cleanse the body, mind and spirit.
It's important to avoid tobacco smoke and any immune inhibiting foods. During fall, Dr. Dane advises eliminating sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (which turn to sugar upon digestion), such as apples, pears, bananas, watermelon, grapes, and simple carbohydrates as those in white bread, etc. Dr. Dane explains "sugar stimulates viruses and harmful bacteria production and puts your body into an acid state, rather than a neutral/balanced state. Apples, and certain other fruits are good for you after your fall cleansing, in moderation, according to your individual needs."
Dr. Dane cautions against extreme fasting, extended, medically unsupervised water fasts or beginning any cleansing program without professional medical supervision. She suggests that you begin and end your fall cleanse with a one to two day period of eating raw foods (such as salad vegetables) and drink eight glasses of clean spring, filtered or distilled water per day throughout.
Allergies and sensitivities notwithstanding, Dr. Dane says it is important to include foods which specifically clean the lungs and build the colon for the third through fifth days of your cleansing process. Citrus fruits and organic juices freshly squeezed from grapefruit, lemons and limes are important. Papaya is good for most of us, because it has important digestive enzymes. Pineapple, although it is high in sugar, contains important enzymes for healthy lymphatic system and immune function. Eat or drink your citrus juices during this period in the morning and for lunch, followed by a large salad for dinner. Steamed tofu is good for dinner, too. It is best to eat fruit separately, a half-hour before or after other foods.
Herbal tea made from dried alfalfa and red clover (available in most health food stores) is helpful for cleansing. You may drink one or two cups of this herbal tea three times per day in addition to the water and juices you are taking. Mix one teaspoon each of dried red clover and alfalfa to prepare one to two cups of tea with boiling water.
Throughout your cleansing, it is important to support and replenish the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. You may take good quality acidophilus and bifidophilus mixed into water twice per day. A good reference book on these friendly bacteria is Probiotics Nature's Internal Healers by Natasha Trenev.
Dr. Dane says, "any headaches due to detoxification pass quickly. People report feeling much lighter and vibrantly energetic, after a fall cleansing. Elimination and breathing are much easier. Most people feel recharged and ready to resume a denser fall/winter diet including more root vegetables, legumes, beans, whole grains, and small quantities of cold pressed oils. Non vegetarians include some fish or small quantities of lean organic chicken or meat, according to their individual metabolic type and constitution."
To contact Dr. Elizabeth Dane, O.M.D./Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine, Call: 212-866-3807 (New York City)
© 1999 Ellen Louise Kahne, 1999, all rights reserved. This article first appeared in New Living Magazine, Oct. 1999
Reiki Master Ellen Louise Kahne, founder of the Reiki Peace Network(TM) and Reiki University(TM), holds workshops on all levels of Reiki hands-on and distant healing. Call Ellen at: 718-441-2132, email: HealNet@aol.com.