Operation Sanity: Getting back to “it” with a cleanse

Summer is over in our fair city. Our mother rain has descended on Portland, slicking our streets and whetting our appetites for fall’s bounty and winter’s wet and wondrous white.

Fall for many of us means misty walks, watching our favorite trees’ leaves blush with the palette of autumnal hues, hot soups and teas and snuggling close by a fire. For others it may mean back to school, back to work after a satisfying vacation or just a re-dedication to your overall health before diving headlong into the glistening gluttony of savory sweetness that the holidays bring.

After a summer filled with travel, family visits and late nights fueled by good food and libations, relaxing in our backyard, the night air punctuated by the sound of hummingbird mating flights, we’ve decided a cleanse is in order to refresh our systems and prepare for the delights of a new season. Whatever you’re revving up for, it may be benefited by a cleanse.

What’s a “Cleanse?”

Well, we’re glad you asked.

A cleanse is the institution of a short-term, restrictive health regimen, designed to remove toxins from the body. While some cleanses target the entire body, there are an array of specialized cleanses, focused on specific organs (such as the liver or kidneys) or outcomes, (such as weight loss or improved mental acuity). Though a cleanse is usually temporary, many are used to help the user transition to healthier eating habits. Cleanses have also been used to treat underlying medical issues and as a spiritual activity.

Before undertaking a cleanse, especially a radical one, you should consult your health care practitioner. Some health conditions and medications may be affected by a cleanse. Once you have started your cleanse, you may notice skin outbreaks, feelings of fatigue and even some mild nausea may accompany your cleanse (especially in the early stages) as your body releases toxins long held in your tissues.

NOTE: If you begin to experience extreme adverse reactions, you should stop the cleanse and promptly seek the advice of your physician.

How do I “Cleanse?”

Cleansing can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The most common is dietary change such as fasting, elimination of certain foods and increased fluid intake to flush toxins from the body. With some cleanses, only specific foods are allowed. In most cases, these foods are high in fiber or integrate the use of psyllium husk to increase fiber content which also aids in the body’s elimination of toxins.

Bodywork for improved detoxification

Bodywork is often part of the cleansing process as well. Detoxifying massage modalities such as those that drain the lymphatic system may be a part of the regimen, along with heat or cold therapy. Muscles need movement in order to “milk” fluid and toxin build-up. Because the majority of us spend the bulk of our time in sedentary activities, our muscles cannot squeeze that build-up out on their own. This makes the cleansing process and the detoxification of muscles that massage brings, ever more crucial.

If you’re embarking on a cleanse and would like the added benefits massage can bring, call us for an appointment.

For more on the cleanse we’ve chosen and on cleansing by anti-inflammatory diet, see our next installment.

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