Here is a guest post from A. Vogel
When doing a detox, it is common to experience a period of discomfort on some level, whether physically as the exit routes start to open up, or emotionally as the diet is altered and certain foods avoided or lifestyle changes implemented.
People sometimes panic when symptoms appear, not understanding the cause. Outlined below is an explanation of the healing crisis.
A disintegration of health, following a time of worsening diet, little in the way of exercise, poor sleep patterns, high stress levels or repeated infections is called a disease crisis. This is a negative condition but, despite involving fatigue and depressive feelings, and indicating a worsening of general health, outward (visible) signs of illness may be reduced. This is because the pathway of disease is from outside in – the toxins have moved deeper into the tissues. An example is that symptoms of eczema may lessen as asthma develops – the toxins have travelled inwards from skin tissue to lung tissue, as the body is no longer strong enough to throw them out through the skin. Asthma can kill whereas eczema can’t – the condition has thus worsened.
On the other hand, if someone starts drinking more water, avoiding caffeine, taking remedies to improve their bowel function, and eating more fruit and vegetables, they may well feel physical effects such as bloating, digestive noises and wind, or skin breakouts. This is because the body is opening up the exit routes (the bowels, urinary tract and skin), as it is now strong enough to shift some of the toxins lying around in the tissues. This may feel uncomfortable for a while, but it is an indication that things are improving – better out than in!
When people start to get better they often rediscover their energy and enthusiasm and start clearing out old junk physically around them in their houses – this is just a reflection of what is going on inside: the body has got out its big brooms and is dusting and sweeping with vigour! This temporarily raises lots of dust and the house looks worse than it did before, but this passes and a clean, shining, sweet-smelling house emerges from the rubble!
The person detoxing may get a big, mucous-filled cold with a temperature and sweating. This is akin to a huge bonfire – dragging all the old rubbish out of the attic and garage and setting fire to it as the fastest and most effective way of breaking it down and getting rid of it.
All of these symptoms – when things become more visible or any of the exit routes become more active or the immune system kicks in – indicate a healing crisis and are an indication of improved health.
If you are detoxing and are finding the symptoms difficult to handle, make sure you drink plenty of water and get sufficient rest as well as gentle exercise in the fresh air to benefit your immune system. Your body is working hard on the inside to clean you out, so some tiredness is to be expected. Extra sleep for a short period of time will sort this out. You can add an iron tonic such as Floradix and ensure you aren’t drinking tea, which inhibits iron absorption and thus increases fatigue.
Women who have heavy periods may need extra iron quite badly, as they are losing a lot of blood on a regular basis. Periods are often lighter after a detox, as the body is then able to use the proper channels for waste removal (the bowel and urinary tract) instead of defaulting to the menstrual blood.
Drinking gently supportive teas such as Golden Rod Herbal Tea (good for the kidneys), Fennel (good for the urinary tract), and Nettle (good for removing uric acid) will help ease detox symptoms. A prebiotic such as Molkosan will often reduce bloating or gassy feelings. Eating bitter foods such as artichoke, chicory, rocket or watercress will stimulate the proper production of digestive enzymes to work on all that healthy food. Herbal bitters such as Artichoke, Dandelion or Yarrow can be taken for extra support if digestive symptoms are troublesome. Avoiding all refined carbohydrates and ensuring the bowel moves daily will shorten any period of discomfort. Herbs like Milk Thistle will support the liver, which sometimes eases symptoms such as feeling queasy as the body adjusts to a new dietary regime.
One last note – in naturopathic terms, the healing pathway travels outwards physically (so, whilst healing, someone with asthma may have less trouble breathing/coughing but may break out in eczema), but also emotionally. So someone’s symptoms may go from “I” to “my”: “I feel so low and depressed”, becomes, “my psoriasis has flared up (but strangely, I feel a bit more cheerful).” This is a good sign! I often find that clients tell me all the symptoms of their snotty, feverish cold, and then say that they feel surprisingly well and more energetic than they have for a while – this is a true healing crisis!