I was joyfully surprised when I noticed the first daffodil blooming in my garden today! Its splash of yellow against the backdrop of melting white snow suddenly reminded me that is near. It’s been 3 solid weeks since February 2nd, when the groundhog saw its shadow and declared 6 more weeks of winter. That time of year is also known as Imbolc, the halfway point between the winter solstice and the . I felt like winter would never end then, but now there is hope.

It is the perfect time of year to come out of hibernation and start letting go of sedentary winter habits and fattening winter foods and libations. Now is the time to start planning a spring cleanse. Spring is a natural time to start eating better and to renew healthy habits like taking regular walks. Soon there will be more fresh veggies available and the days are already getting longer and warmer, offering us more opportunities for time outdoors looking for spring flowers.

In the next couple of months, I will periodically post blog entries about the whys and hows of , a preventative health technique that physicians are expertly trained to teach their patients. I will share my own cleansing experiences with you as I do my own spring and also share patient cases to illustrate the benefits of regular, gentle cleansing.

I have been doing to keep me warm and healthy throughout the wintertime. Saunas are a form of hyperthermia treatment, meaning they heat up the body and encourage toxin elimination via the skin in the form of sweat. They are a great way to release the solvents and heavy metals that we are all exposed to in our modern world. I am always reminded of summertime while I am sweating in the sauna and it gives me hope of its return. Soon, I will start riding my bike to work again and eating spring greens from the garden every day. At that point, I will give up saunas until the fall and incorporate some other detoxification techniques into my routine. I’ll keep you up to date as I go.

Margaret Philhower, ND