Spring Cleaning...for Your Body

By - liz
29.04.18 03:48 AM
spring cleaning There is something to be said for Spring cleaning. It signals that the long dark days of Winter are over. It literally brings a breath of fresh air into our homes. But what about our bodies?  What about a change of pace from all the heavier and harder to digest foods we tend to favor in the Winter?  In the Ayurvedic tradition, there is a special cleanse recommended for Spring. It's simple and only takes 4 days. There are practices in this cleanse which actually benefit us year-round because they help the lymph system, which is the detox engine in our bodies. There are five easy steps to this cleanse. Think COMFORT! Think SPA!!! Step 1. Oleation with Ghee (an amazing detox vehicle) Every morning after scraping tongue with a tongue scraper and cleaning teeth, drink melted ghee in increasing amounts. Ghee (clarified butter) is available in health food stores or on-line. It's also easy to make. Day 1: 2 tsp Ghee Day 2: 4 tsp Ghee Day 3: 6 tsp Ghee Day 4: 9 tsp Ghee
  1. Drink the melted Ghee plain or mix it in a small amount of warm unsweetened almond or rice milk, and a pinch of ginger and cardamom for taste.
  2. Wait 30 minutes. Then drink a glass of warm water with 1/4 to 1/2 of fresh lemon squeezed into it. If nausea occurs after drinking the Ghee, sip ginger tea. This is not uncommon on days 3 & 4.
Step 2. Kitchari - India's "Chicken Soup for the Soul" Kitchari is a traditional Indian "comfort food" (rather like risotto) that allows the digestive system to rest while nourishing the body and keeping blood sugar levels stable. Eat it 3 meals per day for the 4 days. Should your blood sugar level become unstable, add a seasonal vegetable to the mix. If needed, add 1 to 2 oz of lean protein to the lunchtime meal. Eat enough at each meal so that you do not need to snack in between.  It is very important that no oils are added to the meals. Ghee is the only oil that should be consumed (in the morning).   See the RECIPE below.Step 3. Dry skin brushing This technique stimulates lymphatic drainage, which is one of the most important elements of detoxifying your body effectively. Do it just before taking a hot bath in the evenings. Using a dry soft washcloth, raw silk gloves or a soft brush, begin rubbing your body in circular motions starting with your scalp, then around the forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and cheeks. You can be vigorous with the scalp but be gentle with your face. Next, use quick firm but gentle strokes towards your heart from your neck, arms, hands, upper back and up the torso. Motions should always be towards your heart. From there, proceed to lower back, buttocks, upper thighs, knees, calves, and feet. Spend a little extra time brushing the feet, as there are many lymph nodes located there. Step 4. Hot Bath or Shower in the evening After brushing your skin, relax in a hot bath for 20 min. I love to add lavender scented bath salts.  If this is not possible, then shower. Step 5. Self-Massage with Sesame or Coconut Oil Use Organic, food grade oils for this massage. This massage helps lymphatic drainage while nourishing the nervous system and strengthening the immune system. Here's how:
  1. Prior to the evening bath, warm your jar of oil in a pan of hot water. You will use 2 to 4 TBSP for your whole body. Do the massage just after getting out of the bath.
  2. Start with the scalp: Use a small amount of oil on your fingertips. Use gentle but vigorous motions to work the oil into the scalp, as if you were shampooing. If possible, do not rinse this oil out of your hair. If you really feel too greasy, then rinse with water. (If you have long hair, keep it up in a ponytail or braid for the 4 days of the cleanse to keep it from getting grease on your clothes. Sleep with an old towel or cloth over your pillow so that you don't get oil on it.)
  3. Move to the ears and then face, using gentle circular motions.
  4. Move to the neck using gentle but brisk downward strokes towards your heart.
  5. Firmly circle each shoulder, elbow, and wrist on the front and back 3 to 5 times.
  6. Firmly stroke up each arm on all sides 3 to 5 times.
  7. Circle the palm of each hand 3 to 5 times, and then firmly stroke each finger from the base of the knuckles to the tips of the fingers.
  8. Firmly circle the middle of the chest over the heart 3 to 5 times.
  9. Gently but firmly circle the abdomen 3 to 5 times.
  10. Use brisk strokes over the lower back in an upward motion on each side of the spine in the low back. Only stroke up your back as high as you can reach comfortably.
  11. Firmly circle the upper thighs, knees, and ankles 3 to 5 times.
  12. Firmly stroke up each leg on all sides from ankle to upper thigh 3 to 5 times.
  13. Gently but firmly, circle the soles of the feet 10 times, then stroke each toe from base to tip.
Your body will thank you!