How Traditional Chinese Medicine Uses the Power of Nature to Detoxify Your Body and Enhance Your Health

There’s a lot of talk today about detoxification. And there are many different approaches to it. People are looking for an effective way to release any number of substances that have built up within. They want to re-balance their bodies and feel strong and healthy. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a unique perspective on how to detoxify: Go with the flow of nature and use its unlimited power and healing wisdom to achieve and maintain a healthy, balanced body.

TCM is one of the oldest, continuously practiced medicines in the world. It’s based on a profound observation of nature and a deep understanding of Qi, the energy of life force in everything and which is everything in our universe. Modern discoveries in physics have shown—thousands of years after TCM insights on Qi—that when you break matter down, it is nothing but invisible energy. So first and foremost, TCM is a medicine of energy. Every one of its theories, principles and practices applies this ancient and experiential knowledge of energy. TCM understands how energy moves and changes in the environment. And it also knows how energy flows within the body and how to get it moving once it slows down or becomes stuck, a cause of pain and illness.

One very fundamental TCM principle is that the human being is a microcosm of the universe. If we follow nature’s law—how reality really works at its deepest levels—disease cannot enter. So essentially, TCM views all health issues as a sign that the body is not in harmony with nature and natural law.

Another key TCM principle states that we are completely connected to nature and its changes are reflected in our bodies. Each season has a special climate—its own energy—and when the seasons change, our bodies mirror these changes. When someone has difficulty matching the particular energy “frequency” of a seasonal change or climate, certain health issues can appear. Today, we see many health problems associated with specific seasons: for example, allergies in the spring and fall, heart conditions in the summer and arthritis in the winter. These health issues are signals that show the close relationship of the human body with nature and what happens when the body cannot adjust to nature’s changes.

So how can we use nature’s way and power to adjust and enhance the body to get maximum health benefits? One thing is for sure: When we speak about detoxification we have to talk about the Liver.  Everyone tries to cleanse the Liver for optimum health. Yet TCM’s unique understanding of the Liver’s special connection to nature optimizes all its healing practices when it comes to detoxifying the body. What’s the secret here? It is TCM’s theory of Five Elements.

The Five Elements are a Universal template that organizes all natural phenomena into five master groups or patterns in nature. Each of the five groups—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water—include categories such as a season, a climate, a stage of growth and development, an internal organ, body tissue, sense, sound, taste, color, emotion .. the categories are limitless. The Five Elements not only show us how the structures and systems in our bodies are connected to and interact with each other, but also how they interrelate and interact with the natural environment we live in. TCM practitioners apply the Five Elements to understand, diagnose and treat all health issues. So TCM is also a medicine of visible and invisible relationships.

Liver is as a detoxifier. Everyone tries to cleanse the Liver for optimum health. Spring is the best season to enhance Liver function.

In terms of the Five Elements, the Liver is related to the Wood element, which is associated with spring. This means that in springtime the Liver can be impacted by the seasonal energy change. In the clinic, during springtime, we often see people with high blood pressure because the Liver’s energy is naturally rising or increasing at that time.  Think of the energy pushing spring flowers up through the soil. A similar energy process is happening in our bodies, so it’s not uncommon for blood pressure to rise for some people in spring.

Because the Liver is related to spring, it’s the best time to enhance Liver function. It’s important to realize that effective detoxification has to be associated with Liver function. Without strong Liver function, detoxification doesn’t really accomplish any deep or lasting healing in the body. And when TCM speaks about function, it refers to both physical and energy functions. In the case of the Liver, these functions include storing blood (a physical function) and ensuring the smooth flow of Qi and emotions (invisible energy functions).

Without strong Liver function, detoxification doesn’t really accomplish any deep or lasting healing in the body. Liver can’t have a cold energy and Liver’s energy has to flow and be flexible in order to achieve strong Liver function.

From the TCM perspective, in order to achieve strong Liver function, two principles have to be operating. First, the Liver cannot have a cold energy. (This can come from a variety of sources such as improper diet, cold from the exterior that has penetrated within, and an imbalance in one or more organs that can eventually create a cold condition in the body.) And second, the Liver’s energy has to flow and be flexible, a state that is natural to it.

TCM uses time-tested, natural modalities that can safely balance and build strong Liver function. Food and herbs are at the top of the list. Eating is something we all do every day, usually three times a day, so the diet can be adjusted and maximized to help the Liver reach its greatest healing potential. TCM practitioners understand that the essence of certain foods resonate with the Liver’s energy and can help heal it. This quality of food moves beyond calories and nutritional content to the actual energy essence of any given food. It is this essence that travels to a particular organ (or organs) and its associated meridians (energy pathways in the body). The body’s own inborn wisdom knows which foods help heal which organs and it sends the food essence to them.

Many foods have an essence that resonates with the Liver. Among them are bamboo shoots, broccoli rabe, dandelions greens, eggplant, fennel, and scallions. Also, garlic, ginger and lemon have a warm essence that is very beneficial for Liver function and health. Ginger tea can be added as a daily beverage to help address cold conditions in the body. Because sour is the taste associated with the Liver, according to Five Element theory, sour foods can really help this organ. Including vinegar and sweet and sour recipes (like sweet and sour chicken) in the diet are also very good. We regularly prescribe these foods for patients when trying to build strong Liver function.

Chinese medicine wisdom says the power is not in the practitioner but rather in the patient’s hands. A great deal of TCM treatment focuses on educating the person to understand how to take better care of himself or herself, how to really heal and create a life based on wellness. Prevention is therefore a key TCM feature. Most people don’t know that ancient TCM doctors were paid only when they were able to keep their patients well!

Self-acupressure is one thing anybody can do regularly to help themselves. Acupressure not only works on the physical body but affects the energy body, which has hundreds of acupoints that are linked into an interconnected and intercommunicating network by the meridians. When you stimulate specific points, you can help the energy flow and impact the health of the organs. There are several points that impact the Liver, improving its function.

In Imperial Clinic, we help you bring Liver function to its best level and boost your energy by going with the flow of nature, in the right season, and with natural TCM methods.

There are also acupressure systems that build health in general. One is the Four Energy Gates. The Four Energy Gates cover almost any health condition. These are special points that connect to the whole body and allow it to achieve balance.  The Liver doesn’t live alone in the body! The Five Elements show us that it is a part of an interdependent system with four other organ networks. When the health of one organ suffers, over time they are all affected. So you need a body that has overall health, and that’s what the Four Energy Gates are designed to build. This state will then improve Liver function.

The important point to understand about detoxification is that pushing the Liver unnaturally doesn’t mean it will do the best job detoxifying the body. The deepest application of TCM and detoxification is about bringing Liver function to its best level. And there is a safe and effective way to accomplish this:  by going with the flow of nature, in the right season and with natural TCM methods. Then you get the deepest and purest result: a truly healthy body and being.