ME/CFS and Minimising Toxic Overload

Every morning when I wake up I feel sluggish and poisoned. Sometimes it can be like a terrible hangover, even though I don’t touch alcohol at the moment. After I’ve done my T’ai chi and drank a couple of mugs of hot water I usually feel much better. It makes sense to me that the 8-9 hours of relative stillness and lack of fluid intake have allowed toxins to accumulate in my body. Movement and fluid then get my detox system powered up again and I start to feel better. The fact that I’m so sensitive to overnight build-up makes me think that my detox system can’t really be working that well to start with. So to give my body the best chance of health I want to try to minimise any toxic overload. How can my immune system have a chance if just sleeping results in me feeling poisoned?
Toxic overload can be tackled with two main strategies:
1.    Minimising the body’s exposure to toxins
2.    Encouraging the healthy function of the body’s detox systems
Minimising Exposure:
For me this means aiming to eating natural unprocessed foods. I try to avoid e-numbers and eat organic wherever I can. I aim to avoid caffeine and alcohol and other nasties like aspartamine. I also aim for more natural cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products and try to minimise their use. Perhaps controversially, I also see medication as a source of toxins and aim to minimise their consumption. I try to weigh up the benefits any medication can offer against the extra work my body has to do to metabolise it.  My experience is that any acute symptoms are worth treating with medications, otherwise the symptoms themselves can put an extra strain on the body. However I believe that long term use of some medications could place more strain on my system than the benefits that they provide. I always ask myself if my use of each medication is sustainable. Will it give me a boost that will help me move forward or is it contributing to keeping me stuck in a vicious circle of toxic overload and compromised immunity?
Encouraging Healthy Detoxification:
The lymphatic system plays an important role in our immune function and detoxification process. In fact, Dr R Perrin believes that a congested lymphatic system plays a fundamental role in the cause of ME/CFS. The lymphatic system is a circulatory system without a pump. In order to flow it needs muscle contraction, a healthy nervous system, and fluid pressure. Gentle movement/exercise is an important aspect of healthy detoxification. The positive effect of relaxation and meditation on the nervous system will also benefit the lymphatic system, and it’s essential to keep well hydrated. I drink 2 ½ to 3 litres of water/herbal teas a day and I still wake up feeling dehydrated every morning. Drinking plenty of fluids is also really important for our liver and kidneys, the two main organs involved in removing waste products from the blood and eliminating them. This page offers a simple outline of 7 steps to cleanse the liver. I’m presently considering starting a milk thistle supplement.
Massage can also play and important role in encouraging healthy lymphatic flow. I practise the self-massage from Dr Perrin’s book daily after meditation. But there are also numerous videos of lymphatic massage on YouTube.

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