For ancient healing traditions such as Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and even Shamanic healing systems, taking the time to cleanse the body as the earth cleanses in preparation for a new season is common practice. And it just makes sense! We are constantly getting bombarded with toxins in our modern world. We eat what is convenient, not necessarily what is good for us. We stress out and don’t get enough sleep. All this takes its toll.
We rush along doing our thing and we may not even notice that as the cold of winter changes to spring and then the cool breezes of spring give way to the heat of summer, our eating habits, what we wear and even our moods change as well.
A “seasonal cleansing retreat” doesn’t necessarily have to be a time to completely unplug from your day to day life for weeks at a time. It could require only a simple shift in awareness and, for two week or even for a few days, a slight shift in focus to acknowledge the earth for the change she is going through as we honor and take care of our bodies as part of that change.
In general, seasonal cleanses occur approximately once every three months and they can be a gentle way to help you adjust, slow down and prepare your body and mind for the upcoming new season, with all its celebrations, unique weather patterns, birthdays, events, and rhythmic cycles that are both common to us all and uniquely yours! It can also be a GREAT way to reconnect to the natural environment around your neighborhood and your community as a whole.
Here is a simple calendar to keep your seasonal cleanses on track:
Spring Cleanse: Competed before Spring Equinox, March 20-22
Summer Cleanse: Completed before Summer Solstice, June 20-22
Autumn Cleanse: Completed by Fall Equinox, September 20-22
Winter Cleanse: Completed by Winter Solstice, December 20-22
According to Jordan Metzer, president of the Meltzer Wellness Institute and son of well-known integrative health practitioner Dr. Barnett Metzer:
“What most people don’t realize is as we shift from one season to the next, our bodies are more susceptible to getting thrown off balance. Our immune function can dip. Our energy can lag. Our eating habits can veer off track. And our metabolism, our weight, and our overall health can suffer.”
In fact, the phrase “under the weather” originates with this very concept. For pretty much my whole life until I was in my mid-30’s, I got sick EVERY WINTER, conveniently just in time for my birthday. I just figured that coughing and aching was what winter (and Christmas AND my birthday) was all about. It wasn’t until I started really thinking about how my own body adheres to the same rhythms as that of nature that I caught on to what my body was trying to say:
I just needed to take the time for a change-of-season cleanse!
In addition to the handy calendar above to help you keep track of when it is time for a cleanse, consider these basic guidelines as well:
The best timeframe to do a cleanse is one to two weeks;
The best diet to use during a cleanse is one that gives your digestive system a little time off. Eat lots of alkaline-rich vegetables, limit your grains and build up to spending 2-3 days (or longer if you can) going vegan, or if it is spring or summer, doing simple juices, at the height of your cleanse;
During your cleanse, get in the habit of drinking at least half your weight in ounces of fresh, purified water every day (You should actually be doing this every day, even when you are NOT on a cleanse!);
Consider deeper detox modalities during this time, such as enema, dry brushing, massage, specific cleansing herbs saunas and mineral baths;
Take some time for yourself to meditate, stretch, do yoga, practice EFT, journal, be in nature and just breathe during your cleanse.
Always consult with your health care practitioner before beginning a cleanse, especially if you are taking medications!
To wrap up, here is a little tip:
Tap in to how your body is feeling as you prepare for your cleanse. Is your gut giving you problems? Maybe it’s time for a parasite, digestive or pancreatic cleanse. Are you mucusy or suffering from allergies? Perhaps your respiratory system could use a little love. Are you just feeling low-energy in general? That is a sign it might be time for a liver and gallbladder cleanse!
In the end, only YOU know what is going on with your own body and how best to take care of it. Treat it like the friend that it is, with love and care. Give it the gift of a “cleansing retreat” and it won’t let you down!
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Do you practice seasonal cleansing? Tell us about it HERE!