Summer Detox: Signs You Need It & Best Practices
In the summer, the body is exposed to the extreme end of the heat spectrum. From the early spring thaw to the last warm days, we’ve been exposed to as much heat as we will be for the year.
For our health that means, there’s a big potential that any problems related to heat get stirred up. Some of the signs of excess heat are:
- Hot flashes
- Increase in body temperature
- Skin problems
- Excess thirst
- Craving cold things
- Yellowish or reddish discoloration
- Stomach acidity
- Ulcers, wounds getting worse
- Easily affected by vinegar, wine, spicy foods (these are all heating in nature)
- Loose stool
- Burning sensation
- Sour burps
- Excess menstrual bleeding,
- Impatience & irritability coming to the surface
- Hay fever
- Excess sweating
- Premature greying and hair loss
(Note: these have other elements contributing to imbalance, too)
What’s worse is when those signs of heat are unseen, diving deep into the body and getting stored there for future disruption.
What you do now affects how your dryness and vision will be in autumn, how your immunity will be in winter, and the aggravations like hay fever that show up in spring.
So for many people, end of summer is a critical time to do some prevention, and follow at least a mild cleanse to reduce heat and dryness.
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So here’s some tips to start you off.
Make space for your self-care practices.
Give them a super-cozy and nourishing feel. Plan some time to do self-massage, and steam baths. Get in touch with your touch sensory experience. Listen to what your tissues are asking for in this moment, and this phase of life. When you cleanse, you can more easily understand the potential for change present in your body. Practice directing curiosity & patience towards your body as unexpected or unusual symptoms come to the surface. Achieve a deeper level of acceptance of your body. See how you respond with attuned sleep, deeper rest, inner stillness, and a natural hunger that returns.
Take a screen-cation.
One of the silent contributors to increased heat in the body is visual concentration. You might remember that one of Pitta’s primary locations is the eyes. For humans, and even more so, humans in our age of intense technology, a massive amount of our brain power is dedicated to processing visual stimulation. It keeps us in our head. Our other senses, and also the heart-mind shrink in significance. If you aim to be satisfied in life, the heart-mind has to take the lead. Taking a vacation from screens is an unbelievably quick way to get the heart, sense of touch, and taste sense satisfied. If you can’t turn off the power switch, at least shut down for 15 minutes, or an hour for a week. Let family & friends know what you’re up to (why not invite them along?) and go social media and screen-free
Reduce social engagement to move inward.
There needs to be a quieting of activity and outward movement during your cleanse. Do what you can to take a break from being “other-focused”. Plan ahead, reduce being out-an about, schedule less meetings, get a raincheck for social engagements, get your family onboard so you can have a rest from meeting others’ needs. Give your body a chance to relearn the deep benefits from getting quiet and going inside.
Create a plan and ask for specific support.
Most people have initial resistance to planning their meals, but after unlocking the magic of this, never go back. Use the focus of the cleanse to practice the habit of meal planning, so you know you have everything on hand, you know what to eat, and very importantly, the timing of meals. This provides another much-needed layer of reassurance to the nervous system that all is good. Explain a bit to family & friends how what your doing might affect your availability to their needs. Come to that discussion with specific ways they can help you in the process. Identify a guided detox group, get an experienced practitioner’s guidance to enhance your results and support your commitment.
How easy can you be on yourself?
Despite planning well, things can crop up. Illness or a family emergency can require you to shift your plan. Be willing to adjust to a lighter or more intense cleanse based on what your body is calling for. Remain curious, keep listening, allow the mind to quiet and you’ll hear what’s right for you. If you take the approach to do a mild cleanse a couple times a year, the intellect has less chance of overriding the body’s needs. Approach what comes up with ease.
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Be easy on yourself. Even the best laid plans sometimes must change. Being an experienced seasonal detoxer, there have been times when I have planned a deep cleanse only to encounter illness or an emergency that required me to take a lighter approach. Or the opposite – when I plan to take only an electronic device detox, but end up following my body’s desire into a deep juice cleanse. All is good and all is well. Just use the opportunity to explore, be curious, slow down, and be at ease with what arises. That is what seasonal cleanses is all about.
I lead programs that help people actually do the Ayurveda non-negotiables that lead to thriving health & vitality. I help women do what they know they should do to get their lives back from fatigue and hormone imbalance, so they feel energized and vibrant.
I’m a trained Ayurvedic practitioner with over a decade of clinical and teaching experience. My specialties are women’s hormones, menopause, low energy and burnout.
Susan Pulley, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Instructor