A “Spring Cleanse” is a breath of fresh air for your body after a long winter. A mild spring cleanse is an important, annual vitality technique no matter how healthy you are. Even though you may exercise during the winter to keep trim, most people still feel at an energy low during the cold, dark seasons. Our bodies still reflect the ancient seasonal need to harbor more fat for warmth and survival. In a time when people were closer to Nature than we are today, the vast majority farmed the land from spring to fall, and lived lives of demanding physical labor. Winter was a time of inactivity, with a natural tendency towards rest Harvested food supplies stored in the autumn lost much of their nutrition value through the winter, so people had to eat denser foods, and more of them to receive the same nutrients. Even in modern times, many days without sunshine and vitamin D mean that our bodies are less able to utilize nutrients properly.
Cold weather prompts people to consume heavier, fattier, comfort foods. Old winter “hibernation” patterns also mean that metabolism slows, sometimes by as much as 10%. So, much to the dismay of many of us, fall and winter are the most difficult times of the year to control body weight.
Nature has designed the perfect time for a spring cleanse. Winter weather illnesses like colds and flu leave us with accumulated toxins. Heavy winter clothing, especially thick waterproof coats, hinders normal breathing and perspiration of our skin. When spring finally arrives, new green leafy vegetables liven up our metabolism. Cleansing, antioxidant-rich herbs promote a feeling of new life and restored well-being. Nature starts chuckling in the spring. (Laughter is a good cleanser for people, too. It boosts our beta endorphins for a sense of euphoria.) Warmer weather lowers our appetite needs, prompts more activity and movement, and stimulates cleansing.
A “spring cleanse” is actually a very light diet, focusing on digestion and intestines to help eliminate accumulated wastes, and improve body functions. A good length for a spring or summer cleanse is 2 or 3 days or a long weekend. A weekend is enough time to fit comfortably into most people’s lives, and it doesn’t become too stressful on the body. The best way is to start on Friday night with a pre-cleansing salad, then follow with a cleansing diet like the one we recommend, and end with a light Monday morning fruit bowl. Amplify the purifying effect with a stimulating, circulation bath or sauna and steam baths.
What body signs show that you need a Spring Cleanse?
—Do you feel bloated, constipated and congested? (a sign that your diet is heavier and richer than usual)
—Have you gained unwanted pounds even though you aren’t eating more food? (a sign of winter fat storage)
—Do you feel slow and low energy most of the time? (a sign of cold weather body slowdown)
—Has your digestion worsened? (a sign your body isn’t using its nutrients well)
—Do your lungs feel clogged and swollen? (a sign of shallower breathing, and perhaps a low-grade infection)
What benefits can you expect from a Spring Cleanse?
—Your digestive tract gets a “wash and brush” of accumulated waste.
—Your liver, kidney and blood are purified, impossible under ordinary eating patterns. —Your mental clarity receives a boost, impossible under an overload of food chemicals. —You’ll relieve dependency on habit-forming sugars, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or drugs.
—Bad eating habits get a break….. with a new chance to improve your diet patterns.
—Your stomach has a chance to reduce its size for weight loss and better weight control.
Spring Cleanse Detox Plan
Start with the 3-day nutrition plan below
Focus on fresh plant foods:
1) high chlorophyll plants for enzymes;
2) fruits and vegetables for fiber;
3) cultured foods for probiotics;
4) eight glasses of water a day.
The evening before your spring cleanse …..
Have a light salad with plenty of greens. Take your choice of gentle herbal laxatives.
The next 3 days….
- On rising: take a cleansing and flushing booster product, or 1 heaping teaspoon of a fiber drink in juice. Add l000 mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids 3 x a day to raise glutathione levels, an important detox compound.
- Breakfast: take your choice of fruit juices.
- Mid-morning: take a small glass of potassium broth (see the Detox Drinks article) or a cup of green tea.
- Lunch: a fresh carrot juice; or raw sauerkraut or a seaweed salad (in natural or oriental food stores)
- Mid-afternoon: take a glass of fresh apple juice; or an herbal cleansing tea.
- About 5 o’ clock: take another small potassium broth, a fresh carrot or vegetable juice (page 218), or a food green drink (suggestions below).
- Supper: take miso soup with 2 TBS dried sea vegetables (dulse, nori, etc.) snipped over the top.
- (Note: Finish your cleanse with a small green salad with fresh sprouts on the last night.)
- Before Bed: repeat the herbal cleansers that you took on rising, and take a cup of mint tea.
Spring cleanse bodywork suggestions
Choose techniques to accelerate and round out your cleanse.
Irrigate. Take an enema the first, second and the last day of your spring cleansing program. If you are an integral yoga practitioner, do the Shankprankshalana technique to clean your digestive system.
Exercise. take a walk for ten minutes the first day of your cleanse. Each day increase by five minutes. If you are a yoga /tai chi practitioner, do every morning at least one hour of yoga or tai chi/qigong soft techniques.
Worm bath/Sauna. Take a hot sauna or a long warm bath with a rubdown, to stimulate circulation. Dry brush your body before your worm bath/sauna to help release toxins coming out through the skin. You may use a rough towel, sea salt finely grinded or wheat bran.
Massage therapy. Get one good lower back and pelvis massage during your cleanse
Aromatherapy bath. Add 8 to 10 drops of essential oil to a bath. Stir water briskly to disperse. Lavender and chamomile are good choices. Try also herbal mineral herbs that you can find in the nature products stores.
Deep Breathing Exercise. Remove stress, increase energy, compose your mind, improve your mood: a deep breath. Exhale slowly…. slowly. Take another deep breath. Release slowly. And again. Maintain a rhythm, exhaling more slowly than you inhale. Close your eyes. As you exhale, visualize toxins dislodging caving your body. As you inhale, visualize nutrients rebuilding your vibrancy. If you are an integral yoga/qigong practitioner, do at least half hour of breathing exercises.
Linda Page (2003). Healthy heling: a guide to self healing for everyone. USA, Traditional Wisdom, Inc