Yesterday I introduced you to the concept of primary emunctories and hopefully convinced you that most people are exposed to way too many environmental toxins in their daily lives, including chemicals and stress. I used the analogy of a bucket (your body) and said that your skin, liver, digestive tract, kidneys, lungs and even your emotions act like a spout at the bottom of the bucket letting all of these toxins out. These organs are your body’s primary emunctories and they are constantly working to empty your body bucket. Your body works better and thrives when the bucket is clean and empty.
How do you know if your primary emunctories are being overworked and your body bucket is too full for thriving? One quick way that I assess patients’ emunctories is by identifying whether or not their body is using their secondary emunctories. Secondary emunctories are the body’s second choice for dealing with toxins and waste.
In addition to these “little” daily exposures, you might have some bigger exposures that have occurred at different points in your life. For example, mercury in dental fillings, lead in the paint you stripped out of your home, chlorine from years of competitive swimming, all the pesticide-laden food you ate growing up, and even unresolved heartaches and emotions. Eventually, most of our body “buckets” become full and they might even start to spill over. When this happens, your body will start to use secondary emunctories.
Your secondary emunctories are your skin, muscles, joints, bones, mucus membranes, and emotions. Skin and emotions are on both the primary and secondary emunctory lists. When your skin is sweating, it is a primary emunctory. If you develop acne, eczema, psoriasis, discolorations, or mystery rashes, your skin has become a secondary route of elimination that is compensating for your overburdened primary emunctories. The issue is not your skin; it is an internal issues. And emotions? It is normal to have ups and downs, but when we develop depression, anxiety, easy weeping, or easy anger, it is probably evidence that there is an issue with some primary emunctories.
Examples of Issues with Primary Emunctories
Unreasonable soreness and inflammation after routine workouts or minor joint aches can be examples of small issues with primary emunctories. Fibromyalgia and arthritis more serious examples of the body resorting to secondary emunctories. Although the musculoskeletal system is traditionally listed as a secondary emunctory, it is a little bit of a misnomer. This is because when we see symptoms show up here, the body isn’t really eliminating well at all which leads to inflammation and soreness. Chronic sinus infections and chronic vaginal discharge are more examples of the body using secondary emunctories.
Do you have any of these symptoms that suggest your body is resorting to using secondary emunctories? In pretty much every case of chronic disease that I work with, I see evidence of the body using them.
Are you convinced yet that your body’s natural detox routes need some support? One way to do this would be to do extreme cleanses a couple of times a year. A more practical approach is to minimize your exposure to toxins and then to develop little habits you do every day to support your emunctories. During the first 2 weeks of May, I’ll be sharing daily tips on how you can do both of these. These will start in two days; tomorrow I want to talk a little bit more about who should do daily detox and when a more aggressive plan might be appropriate.