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etal_SingleOriental Medicine Journal Spring-Wood 2010

Don’t you just love the taste of sour things in the Springtime! Fiddleheads, dandelion greens, sorrel, lemon, apple cider vinegar. What a better way to flush out the Liver and get that stagnant qi moving again after the extreme Yin of Winter has passed. While you spring-clean your home, you can spring-clean your body as well.

Cleansing and detox are not just for Spring, and the sour taste can be used to treat many different Liver qi problems. I routinely recommend 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (with the “mother” floating in the bottom of the bottle) and a heaping teaspoon of honey in a glass of water to clients as a way of augmenting my acupuncture treatments for Liver qi stagnation, Liver Wind, Liver Fire Rising, and even Liver Attacking Stomach. As an alternative or for variety, I also recommend dandelion tea or lemon; and if their stomachs are too sensitive for so much sour, I suggest they mix it with or use chrysanthemum tea instead.

In Chicago, we have held a Cleansing and Detox continuing education seminar for patients and practitioners for the past five years. This year I asked some of the seminar instructors and practitioners who use cleansing in their practices to share their clinical experience in this Wood issue of Oriental Medicine Journal.

We begin with an article by Yosef Pollack on why we need to cleanse. He tells us about Nobel prize winner Otto Warburg’s largely forgotten work on toxemia as the cause of disease.

Richard “Kyo” Mitchell reviews for us the pathophysiology of the liver, from the Western and Oriental Medicine perspectives. He shows us how the liver functions, in Western terms, and how that translates to what we know as Liver Blood Deficiency, Liver Yin Deficiency, and Liver Yang Rising.

Our main article, by Mary Helen Lee, reviews all the elements involved in detoxifying the body. She outlines everything that needs to be considered while detoxing, and she shares her wealth of clinical experience using methods including and beyond OM. For those new to cleansing and detox, this article will give you the scope of what needs to be considered, as well as a broad array of methods to use to augment your acupuncture treatments.

Elaine Wagner takes the theory of detoxification and brings it into our daily practices. She uses three case studies to illustrate the pitfalls you may encounter while guiding your patients through detox, and she suggests how you can avoid them.

Finally, many people want to share their good experiences of cleansing with their animal companions. Is this a good thing to do? How does one do it safely? Janet DeVallauris tackles this question in a two-part article, the first one of which appears in this issue. In this article, she talks about why we need to be careful about detox with animals and what we can do to limit our pets’ exposure to toxins so that we reduce the need to detoxify. In a later article, she will discuss how to detox safely when an animal has had a known exposure.