by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
As we move deeper into the Spring season, you may feel the desire to clean up and create more space in your environment and life.
Every year our hometown hosts a Spring Cleanup Campaign that gives us the opportunity to clear out any old items and waste that’s accumulated over the past year. It’s incredible how much we unconsciously accumulate and it’s no wonder our minds often feel so cluttered as well.
Your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world, so the more clear and open you can make your environment, the more clarity you’ll feel inside.
Last year I became inspired to tidy up using the KonMari Method and it was amazingly powerful in helping us reduce - and keep away - so much clutter. KonMari founder, Marie Kondo, recommends that you go through all of your belongings and only keep the items that 'spark joy.' In other words, only keep what makes you truly feel happy, whether it’s a suit, a necklace or a notepad.
The idea of surrounding ourselves only with things that “spark joy” has made a tremendous impact on my and Salvador's personal life and continues to enhance the beauty of our sacred spaces at home and in our clinic. It also has created space for each of us to find more ways to practice and share self-cultivation and self-care.
Marie Kondo herself states that “when your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.”
As you tidy up your external space, you may feel the need to clear your internal space - both body and mind - as well.
Since Springtime relates to the Liver, this is the ideal time of year to do a Liver cleanse.
Severe seasonal allergies, fatigue, low immunity and irritability can all be indicators of the accumulation of toxins in the body.
You can start with a simple dietary cleanse avoiding all sugar, coffee, alcohol, gluten, dairy and soy products. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat lots of leafy green vegetables, fresh fish, olive oil, small beans such as adzuki or lentils, and non-gluten grains, including millet, brown rice and buckwheat.
Allergic reactions come from an over-stimulated histamine response by the body and it is the role of the liver to detox these histamines from the blood. If the liver is too congested with toxicity, this function will decline leading to increased allergic reactions and a vicious cycle develops. To address excessive heat (toxicity) in the liver, antioxidant supplements that support liver detoxification are important at this time. These include milk thistle and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine to boost cellular glutathione levels, as well as alpha-lipoic acid. Reishi mushroom is another important single herb remedy that can be used at this time as it modulates both an under-active or over-active immune response to support both allergy or low immunity issues. To help modulate the over-activation of histamine release during the Spring or anytime you find yourself having increased allergies or inflammation, bioflavanoids such as quercetin are very beneficial as well.
In addition, keeping the flow of Qi circulating smoothly is an important aspect to maintaining a healthy liver. Committing to a regular exercise routine that doesn't over-stimulate the body is most suitable for this purpose. Yoga and Qi Gong are most supportive for circulating Qi without the side-effect of depleting your Liver's blood storage which occurs with more stimulating exercise that can burn-out an exhausted body. Furthermore, Meditation practice will calm your mind and body, as well as cool the heat in the Liver therefore reducing the irritability you may tend to feel during this season.
Clearing your body of toxins helps you cultivate greater clarity and a deeper connection to your intuition so that you can more easily harness your goals and desires.
Cleaning and clearing fosters renewal and rebirth and can have profound effects on your overall health and life.
Chiastolite: The Perfect Stone to Support Springtime Detoxification
by Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac.
Chiastolite is a unique looking stone that has a cross in the center. The name derives from the Greek word chiastos meaning “cross marked.” In Chinese philosophy, the cross represents descension and ascension to make the connection between Heaven and Earth as we see in the Christian tradition as well. Wearing or holding Chiastolite can help you become more grounded as you connect with the spiritual aspects of life.
Since it contains lithium, Chiastolite can calm the emotions and help the Heart and Kidney connect so you feel on purpose in your life. It's therefore a very useful stone to use during meditation.
Chiastolite is also a powerful protective stone that wards off negative energy and repels negativity rather than absorbs it.
In stone medicine, Chiastolite is very important to alkalize the body to reduce excess heat causing inflammation especially in the Liver.
Since Spring is the time for cleansing the Liver, Chiastolite can be taken in an elixir for a month or two for detoxification.
Chiastolite also contains chromium which makes it very beneficial for people with Syndrome X symptoms of high blood sugar, high cholesterol and hypertension as it can cleanse and break up blood stagnation in the arteries.
Springtime is also the windy season and in regards to Spring's relationship to the Wood element, symptoms of Wind can be experienced during this time.
Wind symptoms during springtime are related to allergies and can involve redness, itching, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Wind also irritates the nerves causing numbness and tingling, radiating pain, as well as irritability, nervousness, twitching, and tics. In Chinese Medicine, these neurological patterns are called Wind Bi, meaning obstruction due to Wind. Chiastolite is one of the most important stones to help reduce Wind Bi, or any problem related to hypersensitivity of the nerves such as sciatica or neuropathy with numbness and tingling in the arms, hands or legs as well as Wind-Bi in the face including conditions like Bell's Palsy and trigeminal neuralgia.
Chiastolite can be taped directly on the skin over the problem areas or acupuncture points related to these conditions. It can also be used as a massage wand to scrape along broad regions affected by the Wind Bi. Scraping massage with Chiastollite helps move the blood to release the Wind and its related symptoms.