5 Summer Detox Tips from a 5,000+ Year Tradition
If you wish to radiate this summer, keep reading for some pro tips on how Chinese Medicine will get you prepared.
The sun is shining. The air is warm. Beach season is here. Oh yeah, its summertime! Are you ready? Lets get you primed with a Summer Detox from Lakewood Ranch Acupuncture and Wellness.
Who doesn’t desire to be admired while strolling along the shoreline in your summer best? Or get heads turning as you jog along a trail, or walk the streets of downtown? So, whether you are still full on from your New Year’s resolution or realizing the time is ripe to get in swimsuit strutting shape, this TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Summer Detox is for you!
Who is this TCM Summer Detox for?
- Whoops, it’s summer already: You had the intention to get on with it after the New Year. However, life does what life does, and now you need that motivation and kickstart to feel, and see, some real results.
- 20% more: You’ve been working hard all winter. You kept it going into the Spring. Now the warm weather is here to stay, and you do not want those last few pounds to stay.
- Seeking next level: You’re looking for something unique and diverse from the usual detox programs. You’ve probably tried them all, with hit or miss results. The lifestyle you lead keeps you beach ready year-round anyways, still we are all human and maybe you had an indulgent night out or one too many nights out.
What you are NOT going to get?
- Unhealthy “Quick Fixes”
- Anecdotal Advice
So, what’s this all about?
- Over 5,000 years of documented Medical Scientific Success
- Daily lifestyle upgrades for now and for as long as you desire
- Long Lasting Benefits with the Side Effects of you experiencing Radiant Health
- Budget Friendly information for easy integration
- User Friendly instructions and no-brainer tips
- Results Driven and Evidence Based – Read: NO FLUFF!
- Plug and Play Program (add any tip, any time, any where, any way)
- For Summer and Beyond!
Each tip will be followed with the overall layout. First, the “How.” This will give you all the ground rules and landscape of the system. After you read, you can stop there, move on to the next tip, and start doing! Remember, you can always come back to this blog and glean more information. For those that desire the “Why,” keep reading the rest of the section. It’s packed with all kinds of geek knowledge sans geek speak.
Tip #1: Drink up!
Detox Tea Recipe:
- 10g Licorice
- 10g Job’s Tears
- 10g Goji Berry
- 10g Gynostemma
- 10g Orange Peel
- 6 c Water
Licorice root, called Gan Cao in Chinese Herbal Medicine, is known as “The Great Harmonizer.” This ubiquitous herb is found in both the culinary and medicinal herbal categories. It is noted to moderate the harsh effects of, and lessen the toxicity, of other herbs. One of the major constituents of Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is Glycyrrhizin. Dr. Sultana and her team wrote in the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, “Glycyrrhizin has been shown to possess many physiological functions like anti-inflammatory activity, detoxification and inhibition of carcinogenic promoters.” That makes Licorice root a very important plant substance. It also has hepatoprotective properties, or liver guarding effect, as well as promoting liver function. What’s that vital organ that is responsible for detoxification, again? Oh yeah, the liver!
Gynostemma, known among tea connoisseurs as Jiao Gu Lan, is a powerful adaptogen and antioxidant. So much so it is called “5 Leaf Ginseng,” and has been used traditionally for too many generations to count. Imagine an herb, with all the glorious benefits of the famed Ginseng root, without any of the disadvantages, I mean price! This is one of those little known secrets, waiting to be popularized to the masses. For now, it remains in the use of those herbalists on the leading edge of practice, or in the teahouses catering to discerning palettes. I say, get it while its hot before the price catches up to its amazing actions.
Job’s Tears, or Chinese barley, is closely related to the barley grain most of us are familiar with. This naturally gluten-free grain is packed with powerful substances to cleanse the body systemically. It is said to drain dampness from the body, think of it as turbid water. Who wants muddy water running through their body? Not me. Job’s Tears is the Mr. Clean of gluten-free, medicinal herbs. Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi) are super antioxidant rich fruits, and can be eaten raw as a tasty treat. This herb potently strengthens 3 vital organs related to detox – the Liver, Kidneys, and Spleen. Literally, adding this herb to your tea will purify your blood, bones (marrow), and all bodily fluids – again cleansing turbid waters – plus boost immunity, enhance energy levels (builds Qi), and is also known as a Beauty Herb to bring youthful luster back to the skin. Orange peel, or Chen Pi, regulates Qi dynamics (meaning, it moves Qi where it needs to be), while also building Qi (increasing energy levels), draining damp (turbid water), and strengthens breathing and digestive powers.
Whoa, this tea is power-packed and formulated to be super tasty too!
Instructions: Place all herbs and water in a non-steel vessel. Bring to a boil and then set to a low simmer for 20 minutes. If you only have steel pots, that is okay, just know that ceramic, earthenware and glass are best. Drink throughout the day. The easiest way is to have a separate bottle with this and carry it around. Otherwise, drink 3 times per day – morning, noon, and evening. Best not to drink right before bed, perfect to drink on an empty stomach or 15 minutes before a meal. If you notice, the recipe calls for equal amounts of each herb. I encourage you to experiment with different ratios and amounts to suit your tastes. The herbs used are super safe and very forgiving, meaning you would have to work really hard to mess it up.
Tea Variations: You may not have access to some ingredients. I totally get it. Most of these ingredients are found at most grocers, even the non-Whole Foods types. As Licorice and Orange Peel are culinary herbs too, they ought to be easily procured. Goji berry is now a staple superfood, many places have it from various brands. Job’s Tears may require a trip to an Asian market, or simply the Asian aisle. Gynostemma is the trickiest one of all. You may find this at teahouses for sale as “Jiao Gu Lan.” Otherwise, it may be an online buy. There are numerous vendors. With all of these ingredients, seek organic. Gynostemma, or Jiao Gu Lan, may come wild-harvested, that is great too. Make sure the Goji berries are raw.
Tip #2: Pink Floyd said it best, “Breathe, breathe in the air …”
108 Breath for Peace and Success
This is a simple and easy to perform Pranayama with huge benefits! Here are 2 Methods to get you going.
Method 1: Once per day, take 108 deep, slow, belly breaths.
(This may take 10 to 15 minutes to complete when executed properly. Hey, that sounds like a meditation session 🙂
Method 2: Three times a day, take 36 deep, slow, belly breaths.
(This may take approximately 3 to 5 minutes to complete each time. Hey, that sounds like MicroMeditation – see our past article for more information!)
I know what you are thinking. “Breathing? Really?” Yes! Let me put it this way. Your body has developed 5 Main Ways to Detoxify: Vomiting, Defecating, Urinating, Sweating, and Breathing. That’s it. Those are the pathways of purging toxins from our bodies. Which one sounds like the most fun, easiest to perform, most efficient, least expensive, least disgusting, and the list goes on. Just breath, okay. But with purpose!
Instructions: Think of your belly as a balloon. I want you to inflate the balloon upon inspiration, and squeeze the balloon upon expiration. Another visual is imagine a belt around your waist (that is, the space between the bottom of your ribcage and the top of your pelvis, or hips). As you inhale, expand the front, sides, and back of your waist (pushing in to the imaginary belt). As you exhale, the belt tightens and you draw inwardly the front, sides, and back of your waist. It is important to think multi-directionally when breathing from the belly. Also referred to as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. This strengthens and tones the deep abdominal muscles. Another side effect of this method of breathing is slimming the waist. Remember girdles? Well, this is your girdle. Aesthetically, your waist will appear slimmer. So, instead of sucking in your gut when a hottie walks by, your body will naturally restructure to a flat belly versus a buddha belly! This is also a tenet of exercise science, so functionally you will get stronger. Do not strain! If you feel pressure in your muscles, neck, blood vessels – do not go as deep or do not go as long. Strive to slightly lengthen each breath, meaning gradually expand your breath each time. Begin lightly, and grow your breath.
Wow, this single practice alone will accomplish detoxification, meditation, body sculpting, and body strengthening – in mere minutes!
This particular number is seen in numerous ancient traditions spanning cultures and times. There are many theories that I have heard; some say, there are 108 total chakras in the body (mainly are familiar with main 7). Some say, there are 108 deities in the Daoist tradition. Some say, ‘1’ indicates totality, ‘0’ indicates unity, and ‘8’ indicates infinity. Some say, it is an alchemical reference to connecting with the Divine. What is certain is that 108 requires discipline of attention to count up to, it requires a specific amount of determination. Face it, when was the last time you counted from one to one-hundred? How many start to run through the numbers? Well, when you are breathing to 108, rushing through is counter-productive. It requires one to slow down, pace oneself, and carry on.
Tip #3: Stand Often, and Give Me 20 … Seconds
Sitting is smoking. Huh? Yup, chronic sitting is damaging to the body, linked to numerous health concerns and dis-eases, and overall decreases one’s life expectancy. The Ancient Chinese told us this millennia ago. Stagnation leads to suffering and sickness. They also told us, movement is life. Blood circulation is a form of movement, and energy movement at that. When we sit too much, blood perfusion decreases dramatically. That means, blood does not get to those hard to reach places easily. The heart works harder, increasing blood pressure, and that literally stresses the body. Read again, sitting is stress on the body. Our joints are placed in disadvantageous position for Qi flow. In Taiji and Qigong, right angles for joints are discouraged. Let alone more acute angles, or less than 90 degrees of joint angles, really impinge upon circulation of blood, Qi, bodily nutrients, and bodily modes of detoxification.
Well, I work in an office setting, what do I do? Every 20 minutes stand up. Its that simple. No need to be counting down the minutes on a clock. When you think of it, stand up for a few moments. Trust me, that paperwork is not going anywhere. Some forward thinking employers and office workers are utilizing standing desks to stave off the health detriments of chronic sitting.
If you have a low lying desk, like I do, take a knee! Really, if I’m on a mission to get my work done and mentally the thought of standing for a few moments may disrupt my work flow and cause me to be in the office longer, I will just take a knee. Push the chair aside and get on one or both knees. For those with knee problems, this may not be the most comfortable without a soft floor or cushion to rest on. In that instance, stand up. Think the 20 – 20 rule: every 20 minutes, stand up for 20 seconds.
20 Seconds to Shred Fat
The Tabata Protocol has been long praised as one of the most effective and efficient ways to promote fat loss and muscle growth simultaneously. It is one of those “best of both worlds” discoveries. A conventional Tabata Protocol looks like this : 20 seconds of work, followed immediately by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 3 minutes total. Choose your exercise bodyweight squats, bodyweight pushups, bodyweight situps. It can be performed with 2 pound hand weights, or dumbbells, and be comprised of arm curls, shoulder presses, and rows. You can do jumping jacks, knee lifts, and heel raises. Be creative and adventurous, I mean, it’s only for 20 seconds. The goal is near-max exertion. Think of exertion on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the greatest amount of effort you can do, 1 being sleep. You want to aim for a 7-8 on this RPE scale, or Rate of Perceived Exertion.
Instructions: 20 seconds of work. Whether it’s a 20 second sprint, 20 seconds of bodyweight squats, or 20 seconds of isometric arm curls. Make it intense, moderately intense that is, RPE of 7-8 out of 10. You can do a single round a day. You can do a single round prior to eating a meal (avoid post-meal). You can do a single round upon waking (avoid pre-bed). You can cycle 20 seconds of exercise, with 10 seconds of no exercise (Read: a mere 30 seconds), for up to 6 rounds (Read: that is only 3 minutes). Now, I write only but believe me, when you’re giving it nearly all out effort, 3 minutes feels like … well, more than 3 minutes.
Caution: Be certain to be cleared for exercise from a medical physician. If you have any physical challenges, or impediments, choose a You-Friendly activity. The goal is to get your heart rate up acutely, get a sweat going, breathe deeply, and move some energy. Listen to your body, everyone will be different. Focus on yourself and challenge yourself. Feel free to work your way up to a RPE of 7-8 over the course of days, weeks, or months, as needed. Feel free to not even get up to a RPE of 7-8. Just remember though, if you can, you must!
Tip #4: Keep Drinking! The Ultimate Formula for Hydration
Take your bodyweight in pounds. Divide that number by 2, or half the total value of pounds. Use that number as the number of ounces of water you ought to drink every daily, at the lowest.
Quick example, for a person weighing 150 lbs. If we divide 150 by 2, we get 75. In other words, that is half of 150. Drop the “lbs.” and replace it with “oz.” (ounces). Therefore, a person weighing 150 pounds ought to drink at least 75 ounces of water every day.
- Half your bodyweight in ounces per day is the lowest amount you shoot for every day
- We are talking drinking that amount of ounces in water. Not juice, not tea, not coffee, not soda – water. If you drink tea, coffee, soda, even sparkling water, those ounces do not accrue towards your daily goal of water intake.
If you do nothing else, do this. The formula above was discovered and popularized by Dr. Batman, that is Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D. more precisely. He studied in Europe under Nobel laureates then during the Iranian Revolution he was tasked with treating folks under some extraordinary conditions with extraordinarily meager resources. One main resource actually. You guessed right, just water! He was treating, and more importantly healing, chronically and debilitating sick people with water!
Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, written by Dr. Batman, explores the groundbreaking science underpinning this formula. Make it a habit to have water near you always. When you think, take a sip. Literally, get some water right now in your body.
For me, the easiest way to accomplish this task is to …
- Drink a large glass of water upon waking. Dose up with water before you brush your teeth. Imbibe the most amount of water in the morning. You have been fasting for hours now, your body is craving nourishment. Also, by drinking the majority of water in the morning you are not waking up at night to urinate (as you would if you waited until the evening to drink up), plus it starts your day off right and the rest of the day becomes smooth drinking!
- Get a special bottle or container for your water. Make it something you want to carry around and rock it! There are so many bottles on the market now, it can match your outfit, it can match your personal style. Nowadays, the bottle you carry makes a statement.
- Count ounces, NOT calories. The trend used to be counting calories to lose weight. Well, to gain health, vitality, and longevity count ounces of water!
You will be surprised at how quickly your body adapts to this level of water intake. At first, you may find that you are urinating a lot. That is okay, think of it as purging impurities from your body. For most, this is the hard part. You keep getting up to pee, it can be annoying, totally been there. This will only last a few days, and then it will pass as your body adapts. After that, you may see that you are getting your daily goal of water before evening. What then? Keep drinking!
Tip #5: The Perfect Reishi-O
Reishi mushroom has been touted as a premier tonic herb for thousands of years. In China it is known as Ling Zhi, or “Spirit Plant.” Its Latin name is Ganoderma lucidum, “bright shiny skin,” owing to its sheen when harvested. It is a prolific fungi and grows all over our planet. In Asia and Europe, extracts of Reishi are used as an adjunctive treatment for those afflicted with dreadful cancers. Actually, among the many names of Reishi, “The Longevity Herb,” “The Mushroom of Spiritual Potency,” what applies here is its most notable moniker, “The Supreme Protector.” Reishi is said to protect a human being on all levels – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – so that one can fully explore one’s fullest potential.
Research has shown Reishi to be an excellent adaptogen. This term is given to herbs of the highest class, tonics. Adaptogens assist one in dealing with any type of stress, be it chemical, environmental, physical, emotional, and more. They also must be extraordinarily safe for prolonged use, have no to low side effects, and be of the highest benefit to the body by promoting homeostasis, that is autoregulation. Meaning, adaptogens bring the body to a state of total sovereignty, where it is functioning at its fullest. Guess what? Reishi is at the top of the class of adaptogens. Reishi is dual directional and categorized as an immunopotentiator. If you’re immune system is overactive, as in autoimmune disease, it sedates it. If the immune system is underactive, it strengthens it. Either way, it brings the whole immune system to its peak potential. Adding to this, Reishi greatly enhances liver function, again, the main organ involved in detoxification according to Western medicine.
Instructions: Look for an extract. You do not want to take raw Reishi, its woody and ridiculously difficult to digest. The extracted version has been processed with water or alcohol to concentrate the medicine contained in Reishi. Also, look for fruiting body not mycelium. Think of it this way, fruiting body is like it sounds. It’s like apples (fruiting body) on an apple tree (mycelium). You can take all the apples you like and the tree will still prosper. A fine extract ratio is in the range of 10:1. Truly, Reishi is so prolific, Whole Foods Market and the like sell it every day. An easy search online too will yield many trusted brands. And let me say, your Chinese Medical Practitioner will have access to some of the best quality Chinese herbs, including Reishi!
Tip #1: Summer Detox Tea Recipe
10g each of Licorice Root, Job’s Tears, Goji berries, Gynostemma, Orange Peel
Tip #2: 108 Breath Practice
Breathing is one of the 5 ways the body detoxes, and really the most enjoyable for most people!
Tip #3: 20 seconds of Movement (yes, Standing counts too!)
Standing promotes energy circulation, especially blood and Qi. These pathways are modes of detox. Blood removes toxins and delivers nutrients. So does Qi!
Tip #4: W-A-T-E-R
Hydrate to detox. There is a reason why humans have always felt the purifying and cleansing effects of water.
Tip #5: Reishi
It’s not called the “Longevity Herb,” or “Emperor’s Treasure,” or “Mountain God” for nothing! It is a prized and cherished gift from the Earth to detox you on all levels of being!
At Lakewood Ranch Acupuncture and Wellness, your practitioner can help guide you to Summer Success with these, and more, detox tips with the ancient knowledge of Chinese Medicine. We know that partnerships are important, let us be your partner in health. Through professional assistance, motivation, accountability, and inspiration, we are your team of choice in reaching your health goals! Call us today to schedule your next appointment!
We want to hear your success stories. Let us know how the medicine and information provided is helping you in your life right now! Call us, email us, or stop by the office!
- Batmanghelidj, F. The Water Cure.
- Rahman, S. and S. Sultana. Glycyrrhizin exhibits potential chemopreventive activity on 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate-induced cutaneous oxidative stress and tumor promotion in Swiss albino mice. Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry. June 2007.
- Teeguarden, Ron. Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of Chinese Tonic Herbs.