I talk about ups and downs of healing a lot – especially on the physical side of things. When you start a healing program or even just detoxing, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and feeling better straight away.
Healing and detoxing on a deep level can be a hard process with periods of detoxing symptoms or healing reactions.
But you want specifics right? What does it actually feel like? What can you expect? How do you handle it?
WHAT IS A HEALING CRISIS?
This is such a misunderstood concept, because most people aren’t healing at such a deep, fundamental level – they’re busy whack-a-moleing symptoms.
A healing crisis, sometimes called a healing reaction, Herxheimer reactions, flare-up or retracing, occurs when you deeply heal and restore part of the body.
As we go through our lives we pick up infections, get injured or traumas, and just the general deluge of toxicity and injury to the body from everyday toxins, stress and food. This can actually include emotional traumas as well.
As Charlotte Gerson says, the body isn’t able to heal selectively. So when you start truly healing, you’re not just healing the present disease, you’re healing everything, old and new.
With the traditional way of treating the symptoms, just because symptoms go away, doesn’t mean the body has restored itself completely.
When I talk about healing, I’m talking about a complete restoration of the body. When you healing this way, you’re body goes through the process of revisiting all those past injuries as well as current symptoms and illness and healing them.
Healing reactions are a scary and paradoxical experience, because they produce symptoms that look worrying and like you might be getting worse, but they’re actually a sign of healing.
If you are trying to heal health problems and not getting healing reactions, it’s actually likely that you’re just treating symptoms, and not deeply healing.
Here’s what the Gerson therapy has to say about healing reactions:
“When the body is first turned around from advancing cancer (or other chronic diseases) towards healing, what Dr. Gerson called the “healing mechanism” is being activated and the immune system begins to kick in. The body produces a healing inflammation and releases toxins from the tissues, producing a massive toxic load that has to be eliminated from the liver. The process is sometimes accompanied by a healing fever and even spells of depression and panic.
On top of all this, the patient may also experience nausea, toxic stools, lack of appetite and even aversion to food or drink, especially to the green juices. There can also be more gas than usual, plus difficulties with the coffee enemas (due to increased toxic pressure from the liver). Without advance warning, the patients may feel that their condition is worsening.”
WHAT A HEALING REACTION LOOKS LIKE
Because every single person and their health problems and history are different, people experience healing reactions differently.
Sometimes they can be pretty mild and go by almost unnoticed, other times they be a real pain in the ass.
- feeling like you have a cold or flu
- hot/fever & chills
- sleep disturbances
- liver pain
- tooth pain (weird but very common)
- skin issues like acne and rashes
- body aches
- body odour like sweating and bad breath
- bowel irregularities like constipation or diarrhea
- emotional fluctuations and mood swings
MY HEALING REACTIONS
That photo above was taken on one of my “bed days” back in 2015, when the healing reactions and detox symptoms were almost constant, with little breaks in between.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had some strange symptoms that I didn’t understand were healing, and then just the annoying ones.
Just a sidenote: I think my healing process was a little more painful and probably not always a healing reaction because I believe that I actually chose the wrong healing therapy for my body and my illness, so that screwed things up a little.
The most common were:
Feeling like I had the flu, but only a couple of the symptoms like sore throat and headache. This happened probably once every month or two.
Fatigue, headaches and just general aches and not feeling good were frequent, and so was nausea.
I have had liver pain on and off the entire time I’ve been healing.
For the first maybe 6 months I felt really sick after my last enema of the day – my head hurt and I felt really hot, almost feverish and then felt better after I ate. This happened almost every day.
Tooth pain – my wisdom teeth flared up fairly regularly, and there was the time where my jaw was crazy swollen for a week or so. I almost went to a dentist to have them pulled out so many times, but I’m glad I didn’t now.
Recently I went through another big healing reaction when I started using my near infrared heat lamp sauna.
When I started doing the near infrared sauna daily, just two days in I could already feel my body responding. My ears started feeling funny – almost like when you have an ear infection, except there was no pain. When I was a kid I had ear infections all the time. Like every summer for 7 years straight, and I went on antibiotics every time (how did I get leaky gut I wonder?!)
Then I started to feel like I had a cold – but it wasn’t exactly like a normal cold, it isn’t follow the normal progression or symptoms, which means it’s actually detoxing/healing. So I think that the sauna has actually started healing an underlying infection that I’ve had this whole time. For awhile now my acupuncturist has been saying she thinks I have an underlying infection, but we had no idea what it was and its impossible to test for it unless you know what your testing for. So we couldn’t really do anything.
My whole head has felt strange – slightly like I have a cold, sinuses clearing, swollen glands.
I also starting tasting metal, which happens when I’m detoxing metal. I had it for a little while with coffee enema’s, then again when I started taking zeolite and now with the sauna. I would have a lot of metal build up in my mouth and throat because I had metal braces for 2 years (huge exposure to nickel and other metals).
Herxheimer or die off
This is the removal of an infection, bacteria, yeast problems, viruses, and parasites. According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, most adults have approx. a dozen chronic infections. I had ear infections all the time when I was a kid, and have just recently been having a healing reaction for this (I can actually feel it right now). Parasites are also extremely common, almost everyone has them – something else I’ve seen heal for myself.
When bad bacteria, yeast and parasites are being cleansed from the body, this produces a “die-off” effect, which feels similar to detoxing, because they are releasing toxins as they die.
The body releasing toxic chemicals and toxic metals stored in the body. Every single person on Earth (and even the polar bears) have some level of these toxins inside of them.
It’s like stepping into a calm river and churning up all the mud at the bottom. Moving towards healthy habits and adopting detox strategies churns up all the old sludge – including the emotional stuff.
Expect to also do some emotional cleaning during this process, and clear our old grudges, traumas and hurt. Let it come to the surface so you can clear it.
The chemicals, metals and old waste in the body that you’re clearing also has a neurological effect as it’s going through the system to be cleared out. For example, if you’re detoxing mercury, it means there is some in the blood stream and around the body as it’s being detoxed, and it will likely have an effect on you not only physically but also mentally.
Removing heavy metals will cause symptoms from time to time. They can include energy fluctuations, headaches, skin rashes and other symptoms as well. Emotional and mental symptoms often go along with this too, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia or mood swings.
More common detoxing symptoms are feeling like you have a cold or flu.
Detoxing and retracing can also act as a sort of time machine – sometimes you will be able to taste, smell or experience chemicals, medication or other toxins you’ve been exposed to. I had this happen when I started smelling ammonia and my scalp was itching and stinging – I died my hair black for about 7 years, and all the ammonia was starting to detox out! Crazy.
HOW LONG DO THEY LAST
They can last anywhere from hours, to days to a couple of weeks. They usually start off lighter and then as your body builds energy and strength, get more intense and deep.
OTHER CAUSES OF SYMPTOMS
Healing and detoxing symptoms can also be caused by needing to adjust part of your protocol due to changes in body chemistry.
Sometimes symptoms like these can actually mean getting worse, so you can’t always just assume it’s a healing reaction. This happening to be, about 8 months into the Gerson therapy. I was getting really weak and not feeling good. Intuitively I knew it was worsening, not healing, and that’s when I started focusing more on healing the gut with bone broth and fats, and then I improved again.
If you are following a comprehensive healing protocol, and were feeling better and stronger just before the symptoms started it’s likely a healing reaction. Also, if you’ve had these symptoms in the past, it’s likely a flare-up. Healing and detox symptoms usually last a few hours to a week – more than several weeks is likely worsening.
HOW TO HANDLE HEALING
When you are going through these healing and detox reactions, you need to slow down and support the body through the process. There’s not much you need to do, and it’s usually best not to interfere with the process and let it play out.
REST & RELAX – Lot’s of rest and even just laying down as much as possible (these are what I call bed days), let the body use it’s energy for healing.
EAT LIGHTLY – Drinking lots of water and eating lightly can help. Digestion takes up lots of energy, which would be better used for healing.
SUPPORT – Coffee enemas can be a lifesaver during healing reactions. I usually do an extra coffee enema or two to help reduce symptoms. Other supportive strategies are kinesiology, energy healing, reflexology etc.
STAY POSITIVE – It’s important not to be fearful, or stress out and worry about what’s happening too, as that will stop the healing. Staying optimistic, positive and hopeful (and knowing this is a good thing thats happening) will help you get through it easier and get better results.
Remember this is temporary and this too shall pass.
Emotionally, healing reactions can be draining. It’s important to keep as level head as you can during the healing process. It’s going to be up and down, physically and emotionally. Strap yourself in for the ride, and be prepared for hard times and obstacles – but don’t let them take you down.