What about an emotional ‘cleanse’?

I hear the word ‘cleanse’ a lot as a naturopathic doctor, and honestly, it makes me cringe.

Yes, it is true that heavy metals, parasites, poor eating habits, should be supported in the body. Eating well and treating the body with respect is always important.

What I don’t hear often enough is, “I’m heading to my therapist to deal with the feelings I’m repressing from a trauma I experienced last year, and I’d like to process them properly”. Imagine if a friend said that to you during a coffee date! You’d think they were losing their minds. In fact, it is a very healthy thing to address emotional discomfort and negative thoughts we have, as they impact our general health.

It is wonderful that being mindful of our emotional states through meditation, mindfulness methods, cognitive behavioural therapy, and other methods of self-awareness, are now being encouraged by all health professionals, teachers, and even in organizations to manage stress and how we deal with our lives. These tools however shouldn’t just be vogue or new and fun ideas. They should be a deeply intertwined part of how we cope with our lives.

And what happens if we don’t do these things?
Our physical health will suffer.
Our body responds to emotional distress, and will actually create disease when emotions are unable to be processed, synthesized, or understood.

Our body is the shell that holds it all together. It is most often not to blame, but trying to tell us that something is amiss in our lives, and we need to find out what that is!

Stuffing down our feelings and not acknowledging what truly makes our heart soar is actually damaging to our health. It it often what forces us to adopt poor health choices (drinking, smoking, bingeing, working too much) to avoid what we are feeling. Avoidance is a tool that many of us use to not make decisions, but we need to acknowledge that we are only hurting ourselves.

If you are struggling with a physical symptom right now, ask yourself:

“Is it possible that there is something larger in my life that I need to address?”


“How can I best support my body in supporting me make this decision?”

You might be surprised what you discover about yourself.

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