Detox, also called, healing reaction, healing crisis, die-off and Herxheimer reaction. They all essentially have the same concept.
Ideally, you would think that by changing your diet, you will automatically feel better – for many people it does. But for some who have a high toxic load, healing can initiate symptoms.
When you begin a healing plan, whether it’s nutritional, antifungal, antimicrobial, cleanses or herbal; the body starts to clean up the layers of pathogens, debris and toxins that have been building up for years. This can create some unpleasant symptoms.
A detox reaction occurs when the body begin to release these toxins, pathogens (yeast, bacteria & viruses) or metals at a rate faster than our elimination systems are able to excrete them. These eliminative organs include the liver, kidneys, colon, bladder and skin.
It’s important to note, that not ‘all’ symptoms are detox reactions. It’s best to keep in touch with your practioner. It could be a different reaction, for example some of the mineral supplements can lower stomach acid, so it maybe a digestive issue. However, in many cases it will be a detox reaction!
A genuine detox is an inevitable, yet important part of many nutritional plans. Although symptoms can be uncomfortable or scary, it is a positive sign that the body is repairing itself.
Common detox symptoms include:
These reactions can include a flare up of old symptoms or current symptoms, or a completely new set of symptoms that haven’t been experienced before.
- Brain fog/spaced out feeling
- Poor mood
- Increased mucus secretion
- Increased bathroom trips
- Blurry eyes
- More emotional
- Cold/flu like symptoms
- Changes in urine/stool including frequency, colour changes & smell
- Muscle/ joint aches & pains
- Any symptom that you have been dealing with can flare up for a time as the body heals
Tips to help detox
- Increase drink (ideally water) to flush those toxins out!
- I suggest if the symptoms become too bad, either stop or reduce the program for a few days.
- I always say “Less is more”. It’s tempting to go fast, but going too fast can overwhelm the body’s detox pathways.
- Make sure you’re eliminating (i.e. not constipated), otherwise toxins may recirculate.
- Ensure stomach acid and digestion are working (see my other posts).
- Enjoy lots of sleep and try not to push yourself.
- Keep up your minerals (especially salt and magnesium). We need strong adrenals to detox.
- Potassium can be lost through detox, so keep topped up!
- Dry skin brushing
- Try not be tempted to use any over-the-counter medications to reduce a healing reaction! This will just make the healing process longer and less effective because these suppress healing.
- Alternating warm and cold shower (stimulates the lymph to get the system moving).
How long does it last?
A healing crisis typically lasts two to three days, but can extend for much longer periods of time, even weeks. However it is temporary.
It can take time to completely detox. Just keep remembering that detox reactions are temporary and they are a positive sign that your body is trying to finally heal. Once they pass, the body is in a stronger state of health than it was before.