We all know that when we feel stressed out, we feel tired and that it shows - who hasn't had the experience of seeing a trusted friend or co-worker on a rough day and having them ask, "Are you okay? You look exhausted." And when you go look at yourself in the mirror you see it - crows feet, dark circles, age etched on your face.
Conversely, when you feel great, you look great too and people will ask you the opposite, "Did you go away over the weekend? You look so well rested." And again, if you check yourself out you see it: A rosy glow, smooth cheeks, a willing smile.
Our topic today, therefore, is WHY from an energetic perspective lifestyle and aging are so intimately connected and how cleansing and supplementation can give you a leg up to counteract the stresses of life.
Last month we talked about Spleen Qi and how the Spleen is responsible for digestion, that the Spleen houses "Post-Natal Qi" which is the energy you use to live your day to day life. The partner to the Spleen here is the Kidney which houses your Pre-Natal Qi, or the Qi you enter the world with. Kidney Qi is responsible for aging in Chinese Medicine, indeed, the natural decline of Kidney Qi with age is the definition of aging in Chinese Medicine.
Preserving Kidney Qi is therefore paramount to combating the effects of aging and this is done by nourishing the Kidney and supporting the Spleen due to the Pre-Natal and Post-Natal relationship.
The easiest way to think about this relationship is to relate it to finance. Imagine that the Spleen Qi is your salary and the Kidney Qi is your retirement fund. Some people come into the world with a big inheritance, some people don't, but regardless you want to make enough in salary and wages to live day to day and to put something away. When hard stressful times come, what you make isn't enough and you have to dip into that retirement a little to get by - this is where those especially stressful times get you. This is where you draw early from the "Kidney" energetic retirement fund, when your Spleen isn't generating enough for you to get by, and where signs of aging crop up early.
Focusing on the basics of Diet, Exercise and Sleep will support the Spleen, reduce stress and inflammation, and keep you from having to dip into the Kidney bank - Cleansing and Supplementation will help you rebuild your fund.
We all have times when we have to draw from the bank, so the question is how do we live within our energetic means and end up with something to put away?
- FIRST - take care of the basics. Diet, Exercise, Sleep - always key, never to be overlooked.
- SECOND - cleanse and rebuild.
Cleansing helps your body find a neutral baseline to start building from. Physically it helps your body find a clean and “safe” place to release stored up toxins and inflammatory compounds; mentally it is a challenge that refocuses you on the importance of healthy eating and can help connect your body and mind through the experience of a controlled dietary trial. When not nursing or pregnant (these are contraindications to cleansing), I recommend doing one every year - I do, and I always felt better for it.
A google search on cleansing will get you hundreds of different opinions and options, however, so what is one to do?
Since Chinese medicine is a medicine of moderation, I counsel reasonable methods and expectations. I have 3 different levels of cleansing that I recommend:
LEVEL 1: Elimination Diet - see link HERE. If you have no interest or need to test yourself for food sensitivities, that is fine - you can simply follow the diet portion of the elimination diet and skip the testing phase afterward. It is restrictive, but also simple and natural. Think of it as a challenge to see how creative you can be with limited ingredients!
LEVEL 2: Elimination Diet + Nutriclear Cleanse. Follow the recommendations dietarily for the elimination diet but add in Nutriclear shakes as part of your food intake. Nutriclear is a dietary supplement which decreases inflammation in the gut through a combination of fiber and natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
LEVEL 3: Biotics 10-day Detox Kit. This is basically the step above, Elimination Diet + Nutriclear, with the addition of a specific combo of detox supplements. This not only decreases inflammation in the gut, but triggers a slightly deeper yet very safe detoxification process by your organs and tissues, while adding in more essential nutrients to nourish your system through the process. Nicely time delimited - anything is possible over 10 days, right? - and very effective.
After cleansing it is time to rebuild, and my basic recommendation is always the same:
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil/Omega blend
Then, depending on needs:
- Vitamin B Complex
- Green Food (depending on veggie intake!)
- Chinese Herbs
No matter how excellently you eat, it is very difficult to get everything you need from your diet these days. Few of us freshly prepare all our meals or get 5+ servings of fruits and veggies per day. This means a little high quality supplementation can go a long way. Any new course of herbs or supplements for rebuilding the body should be followed for a minimum of 3 months before tapering off or reconsidering composition to get the best effect.
Of course ACUPUNCTURE is also always recommended as part of a cleansing and rebuilding program. It can help reduce the side effects of cleansing (there can be no side effects for some people during a mild cleanse, but fatigue in particular is common, kind of like the early phase of a weight loss program) and Acupuncture will accelerate the rebalancing and rebuilding process by optimizing the body energetically as well as speeding the energetic rebuilding process. Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is also an incredible and natural way to "turn back the clock" and combat the physical effects of aging on the face specifically.
Stay tuned next month when I will talk about some acupuncture specific anti-aging techniques and more specifics about supplementation to rebuild!
As always if you have questions, concerns or would like more information please feel free to call or email me anytime. Remember my schedule is online and available for booking 24/7 through my website.
Until next time - Rebecca