By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
In the first few days of a detox – possibly longer, you may start to feel somewhat – if not, incredibly worse than what you did the day before you started this detox. “Detox” they said, “You’ll feel energised” they said. This is what you will be thinking whilst you are possibly harbouring a headache, feeling exhausted and achy, and wondering what this new itchy rash is doing over your body!
The Herxheimer reaction – also known as the “Healing Crisis” within naturopathic circles, is a reaction to endotoxins released by the death of harmful organisms within your body such as parasites, bacteria, Candida etc within the body.
The dead pathogens leak toxins, break down and are absorbed by surrounding tissues, which were already displaying symptoms caused by the infection of the pathogens in the first place. The majority of these toxins end up at your liver, overwhelming it. When your liver is overworked you can feel exhausted, depressed and achy.
This increase in the concentration of toxins worsens the original symptoms and elicits a further immune response from the body causing histamine release, swelling and pain. The body ramps up its detoxification and cleansing processes which may result in other uncomfortable symptoms. Your body will try to release the waste products via bowel motions. Ensuring you are not constipated will help clear the toxins faster and minimise discomfort. As the overload of dead organisms is reduced and removed from the body, healing and a surge of energy should follow.
Eliminating sugar, caffeine and alcohol if you’ve previously consumed high amounts, increases unpleasant symptoms as your body experiences withdrawal.