Starting on the road to good health isn’t always smooth sailing. Those who are just beginning to detoxify the body will experience a wide range of reactions, which can be quite scary if you are not informed. The decision to detox is a great choice you have made to restore your body to optimal health by removing harmful, disease-causing toxins. This decision however, does come at a price.
Dr. Richard Anderson, N.D., N.M.D., describes this healing crisis as the “completion of a cycle”. The beginning of this cycle started years ago when a disease or illness starts and impairs the body, and it ends when the body reacts to the evacuation of those sickness producing elements within your body. If you don’t know what is happening to your body you won’t know how to react to physical reactions you are experiencing.
Understanding the healing symptoms of detoxification is as important to your good health as the detox itself. Many ignorant detox dieters freak out about the symptoms they experience and when combined with uninformed loved ones can spell a regression back to those toxic behaviors that cause your sickness in the first place.
By the time you finish reading this article you will be prepared to handle the healing symptoms of detoxification to ensure you complete your first (or next) detox.
Symptoms of Detoxing
The first thing you need to understand about detoxing and the subsequent healing crisis, is that it is a perfectly normal reaction to getting rid of what makes you sick. Detoxing to get rid of toxins is similar to detoxing to get drugs like nicotine or other narcotics out of your system. The body has a twofold physical reaction: the first is learning to cope without those systems and the other is returning to normal functions as these toxins (finally) pass through the body.
When I see how frightened people are about their healing symptoms I tell them the words of wisdom I found from Dr. Bruce Fife, author of The Healing Crisis; “any harmless method [of detoxing] that strengthens the body’s natural healing processes can induce a healing crisis. If you’re looking for a quick way to detox with a pill then the healing crisis will not likely occur, but you are just fighting toxins with, well, toxins.
Welcome this crisis even though you want to bid it a quick “adieu” because it is part the healing process. And once you are able to identify the symptoms you will better prepared to deal with them as they arise.
Headaches are a common symptom of detoxing because the toxins circulating in the brain stem can cause headaches or migraines as well as nausea and poor coordination. These headaches may be mild dull pain or eviscerating pain that renders you immobile; either way it is very important that you avoid treating these headaches with painkillers or other chemicals.
Cravings have been known to occur as part of the healing and detoxification process because our bodies have basically become addicted to toxins. For each person these addictions and cravings can vary. That sweet tooth of yours? It is basically a sugar addiction and why you will very likely crave sugary snacks during your healing crisis. For others they will crave cigarettes, soda, vodka and even carbs.
The important thing is that you DO NOT succumb to these cravings because they will go away—eventually. Just remember that a relapse will start the entire detox process, and therefore the healing crisis, all over again.
Fatigue is a healing symptom of detoxification that leaves people most mystified because, according to Dr. Anderson, it almost always precedes a day of high energy. This day of energy makes you feel as though you are finally healing…and you are, but the following day the healing process kicks into high gear and you feel tired, fatigued and pretty blasé about doing anything that resembles exercise. This is often the most intermittent of healing symptoms because you may experience for a few days, feel better, and then experience fatigue again for a few more days.
Avoid caffeine and any other stimulants. I will give you natural ways to alleviate these symptoms.
Constipation/Diarrhea is the healing symptom of detoxification all of us are most likely to experience…especially during your first detox. Since many of the toxins have been ingested as food or drink your bowel is where most of the putrefaction is occurring. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t jumped to other elimination systems, but it does mean that this is the hub of your healing crisis.
As these toxins are fighting their way out of your system, they will cause unwanted bowel responses resulting in either constipation or diarrhea…and worst case, both.
Skin breakouts are especially common symptoms of detoxification because the skin is the largest elimination organ, which means it is the easiest escape route for toxins jumping ship. Then there is also that diseases such as toxemia or autointoxication have been known to cause skin problems such as acne, eczema and in some instances skin cancer. The skin is the most efficient way to exit the body as there is so much of it, so expect bouts of acne, uneven skin tone, dull skin and even redness as your body—inside and out—begins to heal itself. And when the worst of the healing crisis is over, you’ll learn that detoxing offers many beauty benefits!
Healing symptoms of detoxification vary from person to person, mostly depending on what toxins and diseases your body is fighting. The symptoms mentioned above are some of the most common across the board, but that list is in no way complete. You may experience a multitude of symptoms that include:
- Fever or chills
- Joint pains
- Inability to focus
- Hot or cold flashes
- Symptoms that mimic the flu or common cold
- Muscle cramps
- Generic aches & pains
- Too emotional or a lack of emotions
- Yeast infection or other bacteria
Dr. Anderson reminds us that no one has ever died from a healing crisis so you will simply have to endure these symptoms for anywhere from 3 to 7 days. The good news is that a healing crisis is a one-time event (if you don’t stop it) and once it is over, it is completely over.
There are, however, a few things you can do to lessen the symptoms and ease your discomfort.
Alleviate Healing Symptoms
The number one thing you can do to alleviate the healing symptoms of detoxification is rest. You will need lots and lots of rest because the body is working overtime to finally get rid of all the toxins making it sick. This is a pretty nasty break up that will require you to be the referee to make sure your body isn’t overtaxing itself and that the toxins are being kicked out.
The body is going through a process, Dr. Jensen identifies 3 stages: elimination, transitional and building. It is the bridge between elimination and transitional stages that the healing crisis occurs. Rest is the most crucial part of healing, which means it is one of the best ways to get alleviate these symptoms. You may find that you require more than your regular 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, but not all at once. You may find yourself in need of an afternoon nap to replenish your energy levels enough to complete each day.
Water is such a part of our lives yet we so often forget to drink enough of it each day. On any normal day you can experience dehydration or overeating, but during detoxification you may find your body stuck, unable to get rid of the toxins without enough water to move them out of your system. An insufficient amount of water may cause the toxins to build up even more for a short period of time, which can lead to many of these healing symptoms. Drink more water during your detox period and increase that amount if necessary during your healing crisis.
Herbal tea is another great healer because it can help sleep when you have insomnia or experience problems sleeping. Herbal tea is also, according to Dr. Anderson, a great tool to aid in good bowel health so you can curb constipation or diarrhea urges. Target specific healing symptoms like nausea or vomiting with ginger or peppermint tea.
Although it seems counter-intuitive when you need additional rest to make it through a week of a healing crisis, light exercise will help alleviate a number of symptoms such as cramping and joint pains. Additionally even light exercise will cause you to sweat out toxins through your skin. Any natural way in which you can expedite the toxins out of your system will not only hasten the length of the healing crisis, but it will also help your body heal quicker.
Dr. Anderson recommends pure water or coffee colonics or enemas to help relieve healing symptoms of detoxification. If a pure water enema is not helpful to you, a coffee enema or colonic may help the liver dump toxins into the bowels so that the liver can begin working at full capacity again.
It is important that you don’t overdo anything in an attempt to get relief from healing symptoms. This is one hurdle you cannot jump over or go around; you must bust through it so that you may come out better on the other side.
As your healing symptoms of detoxing begin I want you to remember that this small amount of discomfort will end, and when it does you will be stronger and healthier than you’ve ever been. That’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of good health and well-being.
Now that you know what kind of reactions you can expect to occur when you being your first detox, you should be prepared when it happens. The last thing you want is to have unbearable symptoms hit with no natural way to relieve them. Armed with a few tools such as the ones listed below, you might just welcome this cleansing, revitalizing healing crisis with open arms!
- Keep extra water handy. Whether you drink bottled or tap water, make sure you have water with you at all times to ensure the toxins always have a ride out of the body.
- Peruse your local health food store for a variety of herbal teas to treat nausea, insomnia, anxiety and irritability. Having them handy means quickly treating a symptom.
- Learn about meditation before you detox. It will help give you something else to focus on during your healing crisis but it will also ensure you are able to remain relaxed and calm when symptoms get bad.
- Create a relaxed schedule that you can adhere to when the healing crisis occurs. Reduce your hours at work if necessary, enjoy more down time at home without using too many electronic devices.
Learn about colonics and enemas so you are prepared if you need one during the healing crisis.
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