By Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM and Diane Paxton, LAc, MS
Clean Colon: Sensuous Skin
In our last article, we introduced a planetary tuning fork facial, working with the archetypal energies of Venus and Mars, a dynamic duo of energy and resonance.
This article will address the skin and its relationship to a healthy, clean colon.
"The Lungs are connected with the skin." - Nei Jing
The large intestine, when not functioning properly, can pollute the body. Furthermore, the accumulation of impurities can manifest on the skin, or as chronic sinus issues, constipation or diarrhea. There is an inability in some people to release those things that are inessential in their lives - relationships, children, concerns about aging, etc. Since the skin is considered to be the "third lung," practitioners should keep in mind that your Metal patient might manifest, as the result of toxicity of the colon, skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, boils, psoriasis, rashes, etc.
Detoxifying the body in a culture of excess, such as ours, is a fundamental step in re-establishing a healthy balance. Although the Chinese have not historically addressed detoxification in the same way that we have here in the junk-food-addicted West, the colon's link to skin care is obvious even in the Chinese paradigm, where it is the yang partner to the lungs, which relate, of course, to the skin.
The colon is a muscular tube, approximately five feet long and two-and-a-half inches in diameter. A healthy colon has uniform size and tone. Its three main functions are: 1) the final assimilation of our food; 2) the absorption of water; and 3) the discharge of digestive residues and waste from our body. We experience better health and well-being when the colon is clean and functioning optimally. When the colon is congested with stagnant wastes, poisons back up into our system and pollute the inner environment. This is called autointoxication, which literally means "self-poisoning."
As one of the five major organs of elimination, the colon's health has a major impact on each of the other organs, especially the skin. As the largest organ of detoxification, the skin is especially susceptible to "picking up the slack" when the colon is sluggish and congested. Both the lungs and large intestine are rhythmic organs: The average person breathes 12 to 15 times a minute, and regular bowel movement should occur naturally after each meal. The gastrocolic reflex causes contraction of the rectum in response to distention of the stomach. Ask your patients very specifically how many bowel movements they have each day and when each occurs, and you will invariably find that many Americans are woefully constipated.
A colonic irrigation is a safe, gentle way to rid impurities from the colon. A sterile speculum is gently inserted in the rectum. The flow of filtered water, which is always under the practitioner's direct control, flows into the colon via a small tube and out through a wider evacuation tube, carrying with it impacted feces, mucus, gas, and any other waste matter. Undigested food, excess bile and uric acid may all build up in the intestine. Gentle massage of the abdomen and acupressure along the Stomach, Spleen, Liver and Gallbladder meridians will often produce a dramatic release of waste from the colon during a colonic session.
General points that can be used on almost everyone are ST 36, 37 and 38; GB 34, 35 and 36; and LV 3. LV 4 is very effective for those with a tendency to spastic colon; LV 5 will sometimes open up a stagnant colon, as will LV 8. LI 4 is a wonderful point to teach the client to massage, both during the treatment and at home to keep things moving!
Although the number of treatments will vary from individual to individual, dramatic results are often seen after six-to-eight initial weekly or biweekly sessions. An appropriate change in diet, depending on the individual's constitution, blood type, occupation, etc., should accompany this cleansing period. Elimination of acid- and mucus-forming foods, such as dairy products, alcohol, sugar and refined grains is strongly advised. Stimulants such as caffeine should also be avoided.
One of the best ways to detoxify quickly and effectively is a juice fast in the warmer months; soups and broths are better if you need to cleanse in the cooler months. There are very few fresh juices that won't produce dramatic improvement in troubled skin when coupled with a series of colonics. Some of the most effective are citrus juices such as grapefruit, lime, orange and lemon. Watermelon juice is another favorite. These fruits are rich in vitamin C, and are great storehouses of solar energy. The highest amount of solar energy available of any uncooked food is found in fresh fruits. In addition to improving our resistance to infection, eating foods rich in solar energy produces clear, tight skin, shiny hair and bright eyes.
Because of their high glycemic index, fruit juices are best combined with vegetable juices on the fast. Fruits in the morning can be followed by wheatgrass or vegetable combinations, such as carrot/cucumber/green pepper/watercress/spinach/kale later in the day. The "green" drinks have a balancing effect on blood sugar.
The benefits of such a regime are many. A seasonal cleansing in spring and fall is a good annual plan. Your digestive system will certainly appreciate the rest; bloating and constipation can all but disappear. Musculoskeletal aches and pains often see relief, the breath improves, the eyes brighten, the mood lightens, and your skin will definitely thank you!
Click here for previous articles by Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM.