It is a reaction that occurs when your body is detoxifying and the released toxins either exacerbate your presenting symptoms or these toxins create their own symptoms. It is also often referred to as a healing crisis, a detox reaction, or die-off syndrome. It is a short-term detoxification reaction in the body last can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. If your have a high toxicity level, reactions can last longer – up to a week or more.
As your body detoxifies, it is not uncommon for you to experience:
- flu-like symptoms
- itch and rashes
- joint and muscle pain
- body aches
- sore throat
- general malaise
- sweating or flushes
Warning: If you experience more serious symptoms such as cardiac irregularity; breathing difficulties; chest, lung or throat constriction; significant swelling; or any other severe symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms could be unrelated to your detoxification protocol and could be caused by some other serious condition.
What causes it:
The following factors will determine your toxicity levels and the degree of a Herxheimer reaction you may experience:
- your general state of health
- the health condition you have
- the degree of accumulated toxins that exist in your body
- the support your body is provided in eliminating the toxins
Toxins (endotoxins) are released when large amounts of pathogens are being killed off and your body is not eliminating the toxins quickly enough. This detoxification and healing process can be experienced in varying degrees.
The important thing to know is that worsening symptoms do not indicate failure. In fact, the opposite is true. The biggest problem with the Herxheimer reaction is that when you start experiencing symptoms, you get scared and you stop taking the supplement or medication that is facilitating the detoxification process. It’s important to understand that it is not the supplement or medication, it’s the die-off of pathogens that is causing your symptoms. Your Herxheimer Reaction is actually a sign that healing is taking place.
In most cases, the reaction tends to be mild and barely noticeable, but there are exceptions, particularly in cases of severe infection. In such cases, it’s important to work with a qualified health professional. Certain conditions (such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease and other spirochetical illnesses) can produce noticeable Herxheimer Reactions as the disease-causing pathogens are killed off.
What can I do about it:
If your Herxheimer reaction is mild enough, the best approach is to continue your detoxification protocol and assist your body in eliminating the toxins as quickly and thoroughly as possible. If your reaction is too severe, cutting back on your detox protocol can be very helpful in lessening your symptoms but still allow the healing process to continue. Here are some things you can do to help facilitate a more comfortable detoxification experience:
(1) Drink more water. Water is one of nature’s natural cleansers. Drinking optimal levels of purified water will benefit your stomach lining and help with elimination. Commit to drinking 1/2 your weight in fluid ounces of water each day. Drinking sips of warmed water (not microwaved) can help support you with detoxifying the congestion in your lymphatic system. Eliminate all other caffeinated, sugary, mucus-producing, carbonated beverages (such as coffee, tea, dairy, and soda pop).
(2) Upgrade your diet during your detox period. Eat simple, light meals so that the body is not loaded with additional chemicals and toxins to eliminate while it is already working hard. This means eliminating processed foods, bad/trans-fats, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Substitute them with balanced meals of pure protein, low-glycemic and high-fiber starchy foods, lots and lots of dark leafy greens, and healthy fats.
(3) Minimize intense exercise, but keep moving during your detoxification period. However, it would be helpful to do some movement exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, stretches, and deep breathing. Doing so will continue to move the congested lymph to escort toxins to the elimination channels.
(4) Keep your organs of elimination functioning properly. This includes your bowels, lungs, skin, kidneys, lymph. If your channels of elimination are not working properly, the toxins will stay in your system longer and can be reabsorbed. You should be having at least one bowel movement per day. If you are not, you are constipated and need additional elimination support.
(5) Consider working with a skilled health professional, who can guide you through a step-by-step detoxification protocol. They can provide guidance on your diet and preparing your elimination channels before you begin your detoxification process so that your experience is as comfortable and easy as possible. They will also provide support if you experience unpleasant symptoms so that you can continue with your detoxification process.
How can Essential Wellness help:
If you are experiencing a Herxheimer reaction, what you’ve tried is not giving you relief, and you need more assistance in addressing your symptoms and their cause, Essential Wellness can help you in the following ways:
- An individualized Nutrition & Wellness Plan can help you structure your diet and lifestyle habits to eliminate the causes that lead to a Herxheimer reaction. This will also support the repair of your digestive and immune systems, because we focus on nutrients that rebuild and repair. We take this step further and make recommendations for supplements that support the repair of your digestive and immune systems as well as your elimination channels.
- When you suffer from a Herxheimer reaction, you have a toxicity issue that needs to be addressed. Colonics, Core Lymphatic, and IonCleanse Foot Detox can help unburden the toxic load you carry in your body, with focus on your lymph and elimination channels.
- For structural imbalances, pain relief, and stress reduction involved with symptoms associated with a Herxheimer reaction, we have Core Synchronism, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, and Vibrational Raindrop Technique to assist you in balancing your physical body. These therapies are used to address inflammation, congestion and discomfort in your body as well as encourage the relaxation response.
- With the Herxheimer reaction comes a lot of stress. We can support you with Mental-Emotional Stress Release techniques to help you cope with your stress more effectively.
- If you are experiencing multiple symptoms associated with your Herxheimer reaction, we suggest RAE Radionics Hair Analysis to help you determine the deepest level of imbalance in your entire energy system. It can show you deeper imbalances than those held in the physical body. It is often combined with a flower remedy or homeopathic remedy to support the balance and alignment of your body, mind and spirit.