The liver, one of the largest organs in the body, is responsible for detoxification, energy production and the production of chemicals necessary for normal physiological processes.

Over 500 chemical reactions occur in the liver daily. The liver is filled with blood vessels for filtering. It is one of the organs that can regenerate itself because of the amount of blood it receives.

Man-made chemicals are absorbed daily into the body by eating, breathing and touching. The liver determines whether these chemicals are nutrition or waste. In some cases, the liver stores them in our bodies, usually in fatty tissue, which can irritate tissues enough to cause cancer.

The strategies below will minimize your risk of developing toxic related problems.

Avoid toxicity. Minimize chemicals in food and drinks, household cleaning products and your physical environment. Eat more natural foods. Use less toxic chemicals for cleaning. Avoid breathing smoke from tobacco and forest fires.

• Eat more vegetables and fruits to detoxify the body. The alkalizing effect of plants and their fiber content reduces the damaging effects of acidity in the bloodstream, decreases leaching of minerals from bones and helps the digestive tract remove waste from the body.

• Move more. The muscles act as a pump to move the lymph fluid, which is responsible for moving cellular debris and other waste material out of the body and helps strengthen our immune system. Muscle movement helps get waste out of the lymphatic system.

Drink more water. Dehydration causes sluggish movement of the lymph and blood which creates stagnation on a cellular level. It may also cause a more acidic environment damaging the cells, blood vessels and organs.

Avoid watching a computer screen or video screen for long periods of time. Chinese medicine believes the eyes are connected to the liver and radiation from electronic devices can enter the eyes and damage the liver. Take a 10-15 second break every 30 minutes of viewing or several minutes break after one hour. Watching green, living things is also recommended.

• Avoid being angry. One episode of very intense anger can sometimes trigger a stroke. Someone who angers easily may have significant liver dysfunction.

Avoid glaring angrily into children’s eyes. According to Chinese medicine, children have a more delicate system and looking angrily into children’s eyes will cause liver damage.

Do detoxification cleanses once or twice a year. Most of these cleanses advocate giving the organs a rest by eating mostly vegetables and fruit and drinking water.

• Practice qigong. Many qigong exercises help improve the function of the liver and decrease stress, as well as helping you sleep better.

There are many ways to improve your health. Take one step at a time and see if you feel more energetic, happier and healthier.

Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, specializing in integrative manual therapy, utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. She also offers a qigong “Chinese energy” exercise class. Your first class is free. Call (626) 576-0591 for more information or visit www.yonemoto.com.

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