The concept of spring cleaning has been around for a long time. We spring clean our homes, our wardrobes and our gardens, while the most important part of our lives continues to accumulate filth year after year. Our lives, mind and body, would last a lot longer if we were to apply the same spring cleaning philosophy to them as we do to our environs.
My brother lives with his wife and daughter in a very large house in South NSW, from which he also operates a vibrant business producing, stocking and selling non-hybrid, non-GMO, heirloom vegetable seeds. We spent several days last week skiing together in the Australian Alps. Yesterday I told him that my wife and I will be spending a night at his place before returning to Queensland. Well, he panicked to say the least. When we arrived, the house was spotless. However my brother told us that he had spent the entire day cleaning up in preparation for our visit. He added that the exercise of tidying up his home and office had motivated him beyond words. He felt fresh, revitalised and energised. His mind was bubbling with new ideas and exciting prospects. Most people would have enjoyed a similar experience at some stage of their lives. It feels good when we clean up our surroundings.
How much more when we clean up our bodies? In spite of our high-tech elimination systems, our bodies accumulate toxic waste in fatty and organ tissue. Day after day, week after week, we are exposed to pollutants – chemicals in our food and household products; chlorine and fluoride in our water; smog and fumes; cosmetics; off-gassing from synthetic products, new carpet and building materials; petrochemicals; organic solvents; pesticides and heavy metals. Even the fillings in our teeth can provide a steady source of toxic mercury which accumulates in the brain, organs and fatty tissue. I have heard it said that if cannibals were to consume some of the people in our society, they would die from chemical poisoning.
Some years ago I visited a university in India that specialised in agriculture. For many years the students had been using chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers to produce huge crops of vegetables. They had no modern machinery, so everything was done by hand. In time the soil became so toxic that mutations started to appear in the vegetables. Many of the students became ill and some developed cancer and other terminal diseases. The entire agriculture project had to be closed down. A professor of organic farming was flown in from Zimbabwe to assess the situation and advise whether or not the soil could be healed. Initially he tested soil from various parts of the farm. He concluded that, in its present state, the soil posed a grave danger to human life.
He advised the university to bring in truckloads of wood charcoal from local timber mills and plough it into the soil, while saturating the soil with water. For eight months the farm was dressed with charcoal as hundreds of trucks dumped their loads. Charcoal absorbs up to eighty times its own volume in poisons, so the project proved to be a great success. The soil was continually tested until there was no trace of toxic chemicals. The professor then educated the students in the practice of organic farming. A worm farm was established and composting was introduced. Areas were set aside to grow nitrogen-rich greens for mulch. The results were nothing less than amazing. Not only did the soil produce perfect crops, but the spirit of the students improved immensely. I was very privileged to meet the professor and see with my own eyes the results achieved by spring-cleaning the soil.
Many years ago a young, depressed cotton farmer came to our health retreat presenting multiple symptoms of disease. Her skin was covered in an irritating rash. Her lungs were producing excessive mucous and her digestive system was a mess, to say the least. It was obvious that her occupation had exposed her to chemicals and that she needed an urgent spring clean. For several days she fasted on protein drinks, made with whey protein concentrate, organic eggs and water. The albumin component of protein mobilises fat-soluble poisons, while the fat in the eggs ensures effective elimination via the liver. Healthy raw eggs are one of the most effective natural detox agents known to man. This method of detoxification addresses toxins stored in the fat, without compromising muscle integrity. When one fasts on juices or water alone, muscle wastage occurs first in order to provide the body with essential proteins.
Treatments for this cotton farmer consisted of daily steambaths, lymphatic drainage, clay wraps and wet sheet wraps. Each day a therapist would wrap the young lady in an icy wet sheet with a warm woollen blanket wrapped around the outside. She would rest in this contrast cocoon for one hour, after which she would be washed. After each treatment the stained sheets reeked of chemicals. They actually had to be destroyed. Our therapist became ill from exposure to the poisons coming out of the girl’s body, so she, too, needed a spring clean in time.
The result achieved by our agrarian friend was amazing. Not only did all her physical symptoms disappear, but the girl’s personality revived. She was no longer depressed; in fact, she once again became the vibrant person that she had been in her teens. The relationship between the body and the mind is intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathises. Many people come to our retreat for a spring clean, simply because they feel toxic. However it never ceases to amaze me how many of our guests experience an emotional release once the toxins are eliminated.
In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from ten babies born in August and September 2004 in hospitals in the USA. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these ten children, collected by the Red Cross after the cord was cut, harboured pesticides, consumer product ingredients and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage. Of the 287 chemicals detected, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.
Our environment is indeed toxic, causing the symphonic language of the human organism to go out of tune. Just like a musical instrument needs regular tuning, so our bodies and minds need time set aside every year to detox the system and fine tune the mechanisms that guarantee our health and happiness.
This article was first published in Why Fitness Magazine.