Morning Water Cleansing
A simple and safe early morning practice to cleanse the digestion and switch the brain on to stay hydrated.
In traditional medicine, boiled water is seen as a stimulant for the digestive tract. We also know how important water intake is for cellular health and positive brain functioning.
In this practice, we lightly flush the digestion each morning before taking food, by cleansing the bowel with water to encourage the bowel to empty its contents before breaking the night fast with our important first meal of the day. We are also rehydrating the body after its natural loss of fluids during the night and switching on the brain to signal us to stay hydrated during the day.
In my clinical practice, this morning water cleanse is the easiest way to form a regular bowel routine with the added benefit of being in the hydration zone throughout the day.
Boil 1 litre of spring water – a standard glass is 150mls.
When the water cools to drinking temperature, pour 300mls into a large tumbler or mug. Slowly drink the contents.
When you feel ready, repeat this with another 300mls of water.
Wait 30 minutes before eating food.
Generally during this period, the bowels relax and release their contents.
This practice improves bowel regularity and skin hydration.
To activate the Gallbladder and increase your digestive metabolic function, add juice from 1/4 of a lemon to your water.
Its so simple to start feeling good.
Seasonally targeted hydration can form a central pillar in the house of wellness. Our brain, skin, intestines, digestive organs and membranes all require adequate hydration to function effectively. Our body fluids supply the various needs of the organs and tissues in our body that keep us health. A healthy fluid metabolism is an interwoven process that engages all of our organs and body systems and requires correct fluid intake. In Chinese medicine, Jin-ye is the term used for these body fluids. Our Jin-ye is sensitive to changes in Qi, Blood, organ functioning and the environment around our body. The often hectic pace of a modern life can deplete our Jin-ye fluid resources and open our body to imbalance. And sometimes we can just forget or even get bored with drinking water to match our fluid needs.
Here are some water infusions with a seasonal focus that I hope can bring inspiration to my patients to keep a balance between busy Yang energy output and our body’s Yin fluid needs.
Summer Fire is balanced by Water
summer wellness wisdom
The element of Fire is warm and light and it creates warmth and light. It is dynamic and moving, full of spark and vitality and brilliant in its activity.
During the hot Summer months we naturally use simpler, faster cooking methods to spend less time in the kitchen, and more outdoor time in the company of friends. In the kitchen we are concerned with ‘cooling and fuelling’ our family to deal with the demands of the Summer fire. We are also absorbing more light and heat into our skin.
To balance this, we can use watermelon and its white rind to drive off the excess heat and cool our body.
Into a 300ml tumbler or your water bottle:
Sliced watermelon (including the white flesh with its medicinal heat clearing properties)
A sprig of fresh Mint
Slices of cucumber
Recharge your bottle throughout the day to keep your cool.
Autumn Infused Water
autumn wellness wisdom
Autumn is ruled by the energetic of contraction. This is the gathering in phase, the drawing in of breath, and the harvest. We see it in nature as plants drawing back their energy causing leaves to dry and fall. The skin and mucous membranes will often reflect this dryness. This may be intensified in our environment by many smokey days, as cooler weather allows controlled burning in the forests.
To nourish and moisten the lungs and skin:
Into a 300ml tumbler or mug:
3 slices of fresh brown skinned pear
3 cloves (for additional antioxidant and digestive properties)
1/2 a teaspoon of raw or manuka honey
Pour over hot water and recharge it throughout the day.
Warming Water Infusion
winter wellness wisdom
When winter arrives, the water element appears in abundance – rain, ice and sometimes snow. With the cold energy of winter we need to create lifestyle habits to balance the weather and warm our body.
Ginger and cinnamon becomes a companion pair to help balance our winter energy. Ginger warms and disperses our energy on the exterior of the body to drive away the cold while strengthening our digestion internally. Its partner cinnamon warms the lower body and support immunity. Both herbs are strongly anti-inflammatory and so important to balance the inflammatory effects of our lifestyle choices.
I frequently use this water infusion when I have been gardening in winter, or get caught out in the forest and it rains. I use it as my insurance policy to not contract an external cold condition that causes my immune system to plummet. I will make up a large tumbler of the infusion and recharge it many times during the day as I go about drinking my daily litre of water to stay hydrated.
In this simple formulation, Ginger targets the digestion and warms the exterior, Spring Onion rootlets drive off the wind and cold to protect the exterior, and Cinnamon boosts the immune system & warms the interior.
Into a 300ml tumbler or mug:
3 slices of fresh Ginger
3 Spring Onion rootlets (fresh or dried)
1 stick of Cinnamon (broken up to encourage release of phytonutrients)
Pour boiled water over and recharge it throughout the day.
Spring Balance Water
spring wellness wisdom
The returning sun of Spring will melt and relax our winter energy. Our bodies begin to feel more open and the increased sunshine brings new optimism. But we need to be vigilant in our self-care. Spring is a changeable season characterised by Wind, and in Chinese medicine Wind is believed to carry the pathogens and temperature changes that challenge our immune system. The work that we do to support our Wei Qi – our Exterior protecting Qi, will bring benefits to reduce allergy responses. We also need to decongest the Liver and Gallbladder after the long work of supporting the heavier and richer cooking styles of Winter. Decongesting these organs can lead us forward into robust Spring health.
When the Wei Qi and the digestion are balanced, it brings a flexibility and strength to our Spring immunity.
Into a 300ml tumbler or mug:
2 slices of fresh Ginger
2 Spring Onion rootlets (fresh or dried)
Slices of organic lemon
1/2 teaspoon of green tea leaves
Happy healthy sipping