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Spring Cleaning Starts with the Liver April 25, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Healing, Health, organic, stress, stress reduction.
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Spring has sprung. As you clear through old clothing and items in the attic or garage, shaking off the general heaviness of winter, it’s also the perfect time to move any stagnation of energy in the liver. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is liver time and it’s the perfect time to support its many complex functions.

What to expect if we support the liver well?

  • Allergies improve
  • Sleep better and through the night
  • Clearer skin
  • Smooth digestion
  • Energy and mood improves
  • Hormones are in better balance

Here are some of my favourite ways to support liver function:

Avoid over-consumption of alcohol

The liver is a detoxing organ. Alcohol increases the demand on the liver and can slow its function, especially in large amounts. If you’ve avoided that hangover, your liver is free to do other things for you!

Castor oil

This is Grandma’s oldest remedy! And I’m not talking about taking it internally. Castor oil is a fantastic way to improve circulation when used topically over joints, muscles AND over the liver. An easy way to do this is rub a thick layer of castor oil over the lower ribs on the right side (where the liver is), cover with an old towel and apply a hot water bottle for about 20-30 minutes a few times per week. This draws circulation to the area and flushes the liver, improving digestion and detoxing the body of anything that is in excess.

Lemon water

Generally this is a great way to start the day, particularly hot water and lemon because this allows priming of the digestive tract for the day. I love it also before EVERY meal because this sends a signal to the gut and the brain that digestion is needed and liver function is best when the gut is not backed up, but flowing freely.

Organic fresh fruits and veggies, particularly cruciferous

Eat your broccoli, eat your cabbage, eat your kale, eat your cauliflower, eat your brussel sprouts, eat your bok choy, etc. Cruciferous vegetables provide the liver detox pathways with essential phytochemicals to help clear waste from the body. Organic is important because, like alcohol and some medications, pesticides and herbicides wreak havoc on the gut and burden the kidneys and the liver, because they need these organs to show them the way out.

Stress reduction

This is always a good idea. According to TCM, stress, anger and frustration cause and are a sign of Liver Qi (energy) stagnation, which in turn contributes to irritability, muscle tension, hormone imbalances and other health concerns. Think of a traffic jam in the city. We want the energy flowing freely through the whole body and not stuck unhappily in one place.

Get the blood flowing

Getting the blood flowing through the whole body gets it moving through the liver. Get a good sweat going everyday to prevent stagnation of energy and help things flow. Things like yoga, tai chi and Qigong can help move the Liver Qi gently and powerfully.

Liver supportive herbs such as turmeric, milk thistle and dandelion root

Talk to your naturopathic or herbal healthcare practitioner about some of my favourite herbs, and others that may be right for you. Herbs such as these support the liver detox pathways in regulating inflammation and clearing toxins from the body.


Always my favourite prescription!

Particularly for supporting the liver, here are a few ideas to give your liver some tender loving care:

  • Abdominal massage can be very powerful because it can help move waste out of the body more effectively and help bring essential circulation to the organs
  • Acupuncture is very effective for moving Liver Qi
  • Meditation (remember in “Eat, Pray Love”, when she’s told by the guru to meditate and smile to her liver :). Do that.
  • Laughter and joyful activities

A joyful spring to you and your families, and lots of smiles to your liver!


Fall Immunity – a TCM Prospective October 19, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in chinese medicine, immunity.
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Written by Dr. Kathy Dang, ND, MSTOM

Fall is approaching, another change in season, approached with cooler weather and turning of glorious fall colours – orange, yellows and browns. In East Asian medicine thought, the change in Earth’s seasons is also reflected in changes within our own bodies, a microcosm of collected elements mirrored in the universe, and we too go through a transition, seen and felt in our constitution, pulses, immunity and mood/spirit. The organ associated with Fall in East Asian medicine is the Lung, our respiratory system, that breathes in oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide. This very system is the essence of what builds Qi, the life force within our body. The quality of our breath, the air we breath will determine the overall health state of our body, as every cell needs it to build energy, ATP.

The lung system is also associated with the immune system. The lungs act as a filter to the outside environment and it’s responsibilities are to not only oxygenate the blood, but to combat any foreign invaders/matter/irritants and prevent them from entering the body.

A robust lung system and immune system is much needed during this time, where infections and illnesses are more rampant. This is the time to take great care in washing hands, covering mouths/nose when sneezing/coughing, drinking more warming teas and taking time for self-care – mind/body/spirit rituals.

During this season, we see spices that are warming and lifting in our foods/drinks, such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves…yes…pumpkin spices! These spices are used in a way to bring warmth to our center core, digestion. Enjoy the Fall with a nice cup of Chai tea with almond or cashew milk.

Now is a great time for your seasonal visit to your Naturopathic Physician at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic for an overall assessment and a B12 vitamin boost. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in immune system regulation.

Make your appointment today and stay posted through our e-newsletter for our next Happy Hour B12 – Free B12 shots!

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