Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Cleaning and Castor Oil Packs

As spring makes itself present, many of us are cleaning up our yards, cleaning out closets, packing away winter clothing and bringing out the short sleeves and light weight jackets. For me it always feels good to get my home ready for the new season. I can feel it in my body when it has been cleaned up, unused or broken items removed, walls washed, frig cleaned out, and patio furniture spray washed and ready for use. I feel like I walk lighter on my feet once it has been finished. So if we clean out our houses, what about cleaning out our bodies, our spirits home? Along with eating more fruits and veggies and drinking plenty of water, I often turn to castor oil packs in the spring to clean out my inner workings... I find it to be one of the best self care treatments I can do on a regular basis to improve my own health. Castor oil, applied topically to the abdomen, is absorbed through the skin directly into the lymphatic fluid. It thins the lymphatic fluid and promotes its circulation throughout the body with special attention to the liver, spleen, and intestines. Our lymphatic system (our bodies “sewer system”) absorbs dead cells, functional immune complexes, and debris from all over the body and brings it to the liver and spleen for filtering. When our lymphatic system becomes slow and stagnant it effects digestion and "gut" immunity leading to inefficient bowel movements, susceptibility to viruses, and worsening food sensitivities. Castor Oil is an "old fashioned" remedy which improves circulation to the vital organs and can correct the aforementioned processes. Its easy to do, not that expensive, and has no known side-effects. I will often do it 3 to 4 nights in a row, once a month, to keep my insides working well. I also find that it helps alleviate back aches, stomach aches, and headaches when done regularly. To do a castor oil pack you will, of course, need castor oil. I highly recommend cold pressed organic, since it is absorbed into your system, you really don't want added chemicals or pesticides... right?? Next cut a piece of cotton flannel (I usually recommend that it not be colored, as the dye will also be absorbed through the process of castor oil pack). Find an old towel or t-shirt (which you will need to prevent staining your sheets or the couch if you do it while resting on your couch). And last but not least a hot water bottle, heating pad, or microwavable bean bag. Procedure Pour approximately 1-2 tablespoons of Castor Oil to your cotton flannel and apply onto the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, just under the ribcage (location of liver). Place your old towel or t-shirt over the flannel to keep any excess oil from touching your sheets. Place heat source on top of the towel. Temperature should be high enough for you to feel the warmth on your skin but not get burned. Relax for 30-45 minutes while your skin absorbs the oil. This is a nice ritual to do before going to sleep, while reading or relaxing in bed, or watching a movie. You can keep a container next to the bed so that when you are ready to go to sleep it is easy to drop all materials into the container without getting out of bed. You can keep the flannel in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and re-use it for all four nights. Be sure to take it out about an hour before you plan to use it again so that it is does not freeze your tummy when applied again. Happy spring cleaning! Be well, Janet