What are the symptoms of a Herxheimer (Detox) Reaction?

When your start to do a detox, juice fast or cleanse, you might expect to start feeling better right away. However, sometimes the exact opposite happens. As old, excess toxins flush out and unwanted bacteria, microbes and viruses die off, you can actually experience a temporary detox or cleansing reaction. You may suffer from mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating, fatigue, aching muscles, mucous, body odor, rashes, dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain for a few hours or in some cases, a few days. Based on the work of Dr. Karl Herxheimer in the late 1800s, this temporary feeling of illness is known as the Herxheimer effect and is actually an intense sign of healing. These reactions can indicate that your body has started to cleanse itself as it quickly tries to catch up on the overload of toxins being released.

What is a Herxheimer Reaction, cleansing reaction and healing crisis?

What is a Herxheimer Reaction, cleansing reaction and healing crisis?

In his book The Healing Crisis, Dr. Bruce Fife explains that the removal of disease-causing agents is the catalyst for both cleansing reactions and healing crises. He notes that, “most any harmless method that strengthens the body’s natural healing processes can induce a healing crisis. This could involve switching to better quality foods, taking homeopathic medicines, cleansing the colon, fasting, juicing, using healing herbs, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, vitamin therapy, exercise, etc.”

Dr. Fife states that when you enter a cleansing process, “often chronic conditions from which you are suffering will temporarily get worse. If you suffer from arthritis, joint pain may increase. If you are troubled with chronic migraines, you may have terrible headaches. A psoriasis problem may run wild. Hemorrhoids may flair up. PMS may intensify. Allergies may get worse. Asthmatics may experience breathing difficulties. Blood pressure may increase. Any number of other symptoms may surface during this time that may appear unrelated to existing health conditions. Sometimes these conditions improve after the crisis. Sometimes it takes several crises to cleanse the offending toxins from the body and stimulate healing. At times, health problems can improve immediately after a crisis, and at other times, they improve gradually.”

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Cleansing Reaction

A cleansing reaction occurs any time your body is releasing toxins faster than it can eliminate them. For example, you may stir up an old piece of undigested food that was stuck in the colon, temporarily releasing bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream as the liver works to filter out the excess build-up. A cleansing reaction is usually a sign that the liver is a bit sluggish and not fully doing its job. This is also a sign that your body most likely needs regular cleansing every year and a long term change of diet to strengthen its immune system.

If you experience a cleansing reaction, you can try to help speed up the elimination of toxins by:

1. Having a colonic to help flush the colon

2. Doing an enema at home using distilled water (or an organic coffee enema)

3. Taking extra minerals – either liquid minerals, green juice, wheatgrass or green smoothie (depending what type of detox you’re doing)

4. Drinking more water to help flush the kidneys

5. Practicing dry skin brushing, take an herbal steam or far infrared sauna to help the lymphatic system

Usually a cleansing reaction will last a few hours at the most. I do not advise anyone to “tough it out” or suffer through the cleansing process. Consulting with a detox expert (like myself!) can help you make the best and safest detox plan so you don’t put added stress on your elimination organs – your liver, skin, kidneys, colon and lungs.

Healing Crisis

Having an actual healing crisis is more rare than a cleansing reaction. A true healing crisis occurs when the body has been getting stronger and cleaner and is a true sign of progress. A healing crisis may mimic any disease or condition you have had in the past, but it’s abbreviated, typically lasting from a few hours to a few days.

In the book The Healing Crisis, Dr. Fife offers simple suggestions on how to listen to your body during a healing crisis. “The symptoms you develop during a crisis will guide you as to what to do. If you are tired – rest. If you are thirsty – drink. If you have a fever, your body is trying to build up heat; keep yourself warm and let the heat run its course. For aching muscles, a warm bath might help. Pain in the lower back is often caused by the kidneys crying for water, rather than the result of being sore back muscles. Drink more water. If you have diarrhea or are vomiting, the body is trying to empty itself, so don’t try to eat. You will lose fluids, so you should try to drink water to keep from being dehydrated. Drinking a lot of water during a crisis is usually a good practice because water (especially distilled water) will help to dilute the toxins in the bloodstream and aid their removal.”

When you are going through a healing crisis, it definitely helps to have the guidance and support of a detox expert. The key is to remain calm, focus your mind on healing, and support your body back to health, slowly.

Hering’s Law of Cure

When you’re experiencing a healing crisis, remember the homeopathic law of cure, also known as Hering’s Law of Cure:

Healing occurs from:

1. The inside-out (meaning the from the internal organs first, then to the joints and skin),

2. From the head down (the body clear symptoms in the head first, then to the trunk, hips and toes), and

3. In the reverse order as the symptoms have appeared (your most recent ailments are cleared first).

This is the process the body goes through when returning to a healthy state, naturally of course.

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

10 Detox Tips

In the same way you spring clean your house and schedule maintenance service on your car, you should also make the time to do regular detox for the promotion of health and prevention of dis-ease. Whether you go away to a tropical paradise for your next detox holiday or simply try an at-home detox program, you should be make a plan to do at least one 7-day detox per year. It’s even better to do a colon cleanse program every 6 months. When you’re clean inside, all of your organs work better. That means more energy, clearer skin, better sleep, improved digestion, balanced weight and a boosted immune system to keep you healthy all year long.

Clean Your Body, Clean Your Mind, Clean Your Soul!

Imagine giving your body the gift of a cleanse and creating time for a much needed rest, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. As an Iridologist and Nutritionist, I have become increasingly aware that the toxic overload on all of these levels contributes to many health issues. The following detox guidelines will help you get the most out of whatever cleansing program you do, and many of these tips can be done on a regular basis to keep you feeling balanced long after your cleanse.

10 Detox Tips

1. Drink Lemon in Water Upon Rising.

When you wake up in the morning, juice 1 lemon into 2 full 8-oz. glasses of water and drink both glasses immediately. This is a great way to hydrate your body, a natural form of detox, and also creates an alkaline pH in your body. Lemon stimulates digestion, getting the digestive enzymes in the stomach active and ready for proper absorption and assimilation of food. You can switch out the lemon occasionally and drink 2 Tbsp. of raw apple cider vinegar in water upon rising too.

2. Try some Cold Water Therapy!

At the end of your hot shower, turn the water to cold for just 60 seconds. This is a natural way to stimulate circulation and is great for the immune system. It also tightens the skin and gets you feeling energized for the day.

3. Stretch and Move.

Stretching the body helps to strengthen and detox the lymphatic system. Especially if you are used to sitting all day, be sure to take a break every few hours and move! You can also practice dry skin brushing to clean the lymphatic system. Or, better yet, treat yourself to an occasional lymphatic drainage massage.

4. Drink Herbal Teas.

Use the healing power of Mother Nature by drinking more fresh herbal teas (with no sugar or dairy of course!). Try fresh mint tea for digestion; sage tea for clear mental thinking; parsley tea to strengthen the kidneys; red raspberry tea for female fertility; hawthorne berry tea for heart health and blood circulation; and fennel tea as a natural anti-parasitic remedy.

5. Enjoy an Epsom Salt Bath.

Add 3-4 cups of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) to a bath. It’s a great way to absorb magnesium directly through the skin, also known as “transdermal magnesium therapy.” This helps the muscles relax and is excellent for improving blood circulation and kidney function and also for reducing stress. You can add a few drops of pure organic lavender or grapefruit essential oil to your bath to get a nice essential oil infusion. If you don’t have a bathtub, simply make a foot bath and soak your feet in the Epsom Salts for about 30 minutes.

6. Take a Media Detox.

Let your brain have a break from the daily negative and toxic information over-load. Avoid any emotionally disturbing information the news, Internet, magazines, television, movies, newspaper or radio. When your mind feels calm and rested, your body can go deeper into the physical process of detoxification.

7. Get in Tune with Nature.

Get outside, breathe fresh air, enjoy a sunrise or sunset, listen to the sound of the ocean waves, take solace in the beauty of the forest and reconnect yourself with nature. Our bodies are organic beings and we have to recalibrate ourselves to natural environments to feel more natural, whole and pure.

8. Detox Your Home.

At the same time you detox your body, make time to also clean and purge old items from your home. Give away things you don’t use, organize your belongings and simplify your living space. Letting go of the old creates a lot of space for new healthy habits and new goals. And that’s a great form of detox!

9. Enjoy a Daily Liver Flush.

You can add a healing boost to your detox routine by drinking 1 Liver Flush Drink per day. You can even do this as a separate detox after your 7-day cleanse by having 1 Liver Flush every day for 30 days. The liver is your “grand filter” in your body; it filters everything you drink, eat and breathe. When you clean the liver, your entire system runs more efficiently.

10. Drink More Water.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they don’t drink enough water, and especially during a detox, the importance of water is not to be under-estimated! Your urine should be clear and copious (by “clear” I mean not cloudy). If your urine is dark or cloudy, you are already dehydrated. Water helps your kidneys flush out excess toxins and acid waste.

Taking the time to detox the body on a regular basis is a great way to invest in your health and well-being. Whether you choose a raw food cleanse, a juice feast, a Green Smoothie detox, a water fast or a colon cleanse, you are giving all of the elimination organs a chance to catch up on internal work and that’s a good thing! The cleaner your are inside, the better you feel…and the better you look too!

For more personalize detox advice, see me for a private consultation via Skype or phone. We will optimize your detox program to get the best results in the shortest period time, truly a “fast-track” to health.

More on Skin Cleansing:

Dry Skin Brushing to Detox Lymphatic & Reduce Cellulite Naturally!

The lymphatic system is a cirulatory system in the body. It’s cleaning cells and dumping toxins into the blood all the time to keep the body clean. But, unlike the blood, the lymphatic system has no pump. If you don’t move, the lymph doesn’t move. It waits for movement to ‘surf’ from the contraction of muscles. So, in order to keep the lymph moving and clean, you have to move!

Practice Daily Dry Skin Brushing to Detox the Lymphatic System

According to David Wolfe in The Sunfood Diet Success System, “The average person has 1.2 gallons (4.5 litres) of blood. But each person has four times as much lymph fluid as blood. Clean and light foods allow the blood to become clean and light, which in turn allows the lymph to become clean and light. Cooked fats are thick, heavy and have a deranged structure. They clog the blood, arteries and lymphatic system.”

The lymphatic fluid rests just below the skin; if it is toxic or sluggish (from processed foods, smoking, chemical body products, lack of exercise), the skin simply won’t look good. A healthy glow comes from the inside out.

If the lymphatic system becomes sluggish, it will try to ‘off-gas’ through the skin. If someone is wearing nylon or polyester clothes or putting chemical creams on their skin, there is nowhere for those toxins to go (imagine wrapping yourself in plastic wrap). So those toxins get re-absorbed. That’s creates a back-log of internal work. This is where a detox can be a good idea to give all the organs a chance to catch up.

How to Clean Lymphatic System

Exercise is the best for lymphatic. Many people who sit all day long develop a sluggish lymphatic system simply because they do not move! Lymph likes gentle exercise, like walking, stretching, swimming or yoga. Go for a walk during lunch, stretch throughout the day and develop a regular exercise routine. Drink plenty of water to keep the lymphatic cells hydrated. Choose a natural deodorant with no added aluminum. Avoid foods with chemical coloring, flavoring, sugar replacements and preseratives which all add more internal housework to the body. Dry skin brushing and wearing natural fiber clothes also allows the skin and lymph to breathe.

Always brush towards to heart to stimulate circulation

How to Practice Daily Dry Skin Brushing To Detox Lymph

Dry skin brushing means to brush the skin when it’s dry. Brushing the skin in the shower is wet skin brushing. Using a loofa in the shower will not give the same effect because once the skin cells are wet, you’re essentially pushing all the dead skin cells around over the surface of your skin. Dry skin brushing adds just the right amount of pressure to move the lymph while at the same time flaking any dead skin cells off of the skin. Many people will say that the skin actually becomes more clean from dry skin brushing than from taking a shower!

You only need 5-7 minutes a day to do your dry skin brushing. The best time is just before you get in the shower in the morning. Brushing the lymph will stimulate circulation and this can also make you feel more awake and alert for the day. You can also do your dry skin brushing later in the day or in the evening too, whatever works best for your schedule. I prefer morning because not only does it get the circulation moving first thing in the morning which is great, but it also gets me into the habit of doing it every day.

Always use a natural bristle brush. Nylon brushes will scratch the skin. A natural bristle brush can be found in any health food store. Most will also come with a handle for brushing the skin on the back.

Brush the skin with a reasonable amount of pressure, but not too strong. Start at the feet using short to medium strokes and always brush towards the heart. You can brush your arms, torso, back and chest but avoid sensitive areas like the breasts and face.

Daily Dry Skin Brushing To Reduce Cellulite

Now, the keyword here is daily! If you practice dry skin brushing on a daily basis, you can start to break up the toxins that have settled into the fat cells creating those unwanted pockets of cellulite. If you practice this daily for a minimum of 3 months, you can start to see results.

Clean Diet for Clean Blood and Clean Lymph

Remember, your body is ‘a community’ of organs. A natural whole and pure diet is always best. Everything you eat affects the entire body, including the lymph. If you choose to eat a lot of animal-based fats, fried foods or processed foods, you will still be creating a daily burden of internal toxicity giving all of the organs more work to do. Combining a healthy diet with healthy practices like dry skin brushing will give you the best results for a beautiful, healthy energetic you!

More on Skin Cleansing:

Top 5 Tips on How to Recover from Jet Lag & Travel

So you’ve booked the ticket, researched hotels, checked out internet options and chosen a few local sites to see, but have you made a conscious plan to stay healthy while on the road? It is possible to stay healthy while traveling. The first obstacle to overcome is jet lag.

Be gentle with the body during travel and you can minimize the effects of Jet Lag naturally.

Use your raw food/detox knowledge to travel healthier!

Frequent flyers know how hard it can be to adjust to local times after a long flight. The body is sensitive to the earth’s magnetic pull.

As Dr. Gabriel Cousins says, ‘Moving through time zones and magnetic lines causes a cellular confusion that manifests as the body’s homeostasis begins to shift into the new time frame and rhythm.’

That ‘cellular confusion’ is what makes you feel Jet Lag.

Top 5 Tips on How to Recover from Jet Lag

1. Avoid all alcohol the day before and during flights.

Reducing the amount of toxins and free radicals in the body will automatically help. If you have the tendency to feel stressed or fearful while on airplanes, opt for option #4 instead of having an alcoholic drink. Alcohol is a also diarrhetic, which means you will become even more dehydrated after traveling at high altitude on a dry plane. Your skin and kidneys don’t need that!

2. Fast on herbal teas or eat only fresh fruit on your journey.

Bring your own dried herbal teas and ask for hot water during the flight. Carry a few oranges or other fresh fruits to enjoy. Opening an orange mid-flight is a great natural way to freshen up the stale plane air as well! (You are permitted to take fresh fruit on a plane as long as you eat it before your destination. I’ve taken fruit on every flight from nearly every airline to many countries, and I’ve never been refused!) Fasting is the perfect way to recharge and renew on a cellular level, so can you see how it would help with Jet Lag? Makes sense!

3. Avoid all airplane food!

Airplane food is processed food, full of salt, chemical additives and colorings and preserved to still look fresh by the time it gets to your seat. Even if it is a lacto-ovo vegan meal, it is not a healthy meal. Airplane food can make you feel bloated, tired, constipated and sick on it’s own – not a good thing to add to time zone stress! If you have felt puffy or bloated after long flights in the past, it could have been the food. Food additives, salt and hidden sugars in food can create inflammation. These are especially important to avoid while traveling on airplanes through several time zones.

4. Try Kava Kava capsules for sleeping or relaxing on long flights.

Kava is native to the Pacific Islands and has natural relaxing qualities as well as mood-elevating and pain-relieving effects. Take 3-4 capsules when you get on board and sit back for a healthy, relaxing flight! My suggestion to use Kava is for a long-flight to help relieve tension and promote natural relaxation while traveling. Taking 3-4 capsules is perfectly safe and is a natural, non-dedyhrating, non-free-radical forming solution for the body. (With regards to some people’s worry that Kava is harmful to the liver; please note that Kava is not meant to be taken for more than 30 days continually because it can be habit-forming. That said, so can alcohol….but no one seems to worry about that!!)

5. Eat only fresh raw fruits for the first day upon arrival.

Fresh fruit: hydrating and full of vitamins & anti-oxidants

Eat fruits such as apple, pineapple, mango, pear or papaya. Add berries for more anti-oxidants to help reduce free-radical damage from low-oxygen airplane air. Eating raw food for one day is a gentle, easy cleanse and a great way to get your colon re-adjusted to the new time zone as well! (Dried fruits are dehydrated and the body will already be dehydrated after a long flight, so especially for the first day, fresh is best.)

Your travels can actually become a new avenue to discover more about raw food, natural healing and healthy living!

More on Traveling Raw:

How to Clean the Lymphatic System & Detox the Skin in 5 Simple Steps

Clean skin from the inside out

The skin is an organ, and in fact it is the largest organ in the entire body. It is also an eliminative organ, meaning it assists the body in detoxification by pushing out toxins directly through the cells and membrane of the skin. If you do not have a natural, healthy glow, it means that your body inside is overloaded with toxins. Nothing that you try on the outside will give you long-term positive results as long as you continue to hold on to too much toxicity inside.

How does the lymph system affect healthy, clear skin and sparkling eyes?

The lymphatic fluid rests just below the skin; if it is toxic or sluggish (from processed foods, smoking, chemical body products, lack of exercise), the skin simply won’t look good. A healthy glow comes from the inside out. Even the fluid in the eyes is lymphatic fluid. The cleaner your are inside, the brighter and clearer your eyes will be – truly a window to your health!

What happens to the skin when lymphatic drainage becomes sluggish?

If the lymphatic system becomes sluggish, it will try to ‘off-gas’ through the skin. If someone is wearing nylon or ployester clothes or putting chemical creams on their skin, there is nowhere for those toxins to go (imagine wrapping yourself in plastic wrap). So those toxins get re-absorbed. That’s creates a back-log of internal work. This is where a detox can be a good idea to give all the organs a chance to catch up. From there, living a cleaner lifestyle, with natural foods, natural clothes, regular exercise and only natural chemical-free products on the skin (especially deodorant) keeps the lymph and skin happy.

What foods for improve or stimulate the function of the lymphatic system?

Remember, your body is ‘a community’ of organs. A natural whole and pure diet is always best. A simple rule for the skin is this: if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t be put on the skin. If you have to use something, go for the baby product line (for sunblock or laundry detergent). They will always have less chemicals. A simple rule for lymph is this: Keep the lymph moving with movement (exercise). Drink plenty of water. Avoid foods with chemical coloring, flavoring, sugar replacements and preseratives which all add more internal housework to the body.

What lifestyle habits improve the function of natural lymphatic drainage?

Stretch, walk or swim to help clean the lymph

The lymphatic system is a cirulatory system in the body. It’s cleaning cells and dumping toxins into the blood all the time to keep the body clean. But, unlike the blood, the lymphatic system has no pump. If you don’t move, the lymph doesn’t move. It waits for movement to ‘surf’ from the contraction of muscles. So, in order to keep the lymph moving and clean, you have to move! Exercise is the best for lymphatic. Many people who sit all day long develop a sluggish lymphatic system simply because they do not move! Lymph like gentle exercise, like walking, stretching, swimming or yoga. Go for a walk during lunch, stretch throughout the day and develop a regular exercise routine. Dry skin brushing and wearing natural fiber clothes also allows the skin and lymph to breathe.

To keep your skin clean, you’ve gotta have a clean lymphatic system. You cannot get clear skin from the outside in; it has to happen from the inside out. Every organ in the body affects every other organ in the body. Treat your body as a whole and you will long-term results that last.

5 Steps to Keep your Lymphatic System & Skin Clean:

1. Avoid nylon and polyester clothes.

Opt for all natural fibers that allow the skin to breathe, such as cotton, hemp, wool, or silk (note that silk and wool are not technically ‘vegan’ fabrics).

2. Avoid skin creams and body lotions with chemicals that suffocate the skin.

Choose natural moisturizers such as virgin organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is non-greasy and very affordable when compared to the cost of multiple skin products. In winter months, try cold-pressed virgin organic olive oil. The olive oil is more moisturizing and works well against dry skin in cold months. Remember, if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t be put on the skin. Be sure to use an aluminum-free deodorant.

3. If you have to choose a chemical product, always choose the baby version.

Buy organic baby sunblock, baby dish detergent, or baby washing detergent. The baby formulas will always have less chemicals and less sodium lauryl ethyl sulfate (SLS), the chemical agent that creates sudsy bubbles in cleaning products.

4. For face, look for products with natural essential oil combinations and fresh herbs for daytime use.

At night, use virgin organic coconut oil before bed as a wonderful non-greasy moisturizer. Argan Oil is a nice option for the face. Be sure to find 100% organic and only Argan Oil (without any other ingredients). I’ve seen 100% certified organic Argan Oil on iherb.com. If it’s your first time buying on iherb, you can receive $5-$10 off your first purchase by using this link: iherb rewards. I use iherb all the time for my fluoride-free toothpaste, organic soap, virgin organic coconut oil, hemp seed, spirulina powder, organic raw apple cider vinegar and so much more. They always have the lowest price!

Ready to get started? Check out my personal shopping cart with all of my favorite skin & body products, all natural and organic of course!

I use Dr. Bronners Balm for the lips

For lips, I recommend an Australian product called Paw Paw ointment – it’s a fermented papaya salve and is wonderful for the lips and also for cuts, scratches, burns and even diaper rash. There is a non-petroleum version available by PhytoCare. If you’re in the USA and looking for something more local, I recommend the Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Organic Baby Balm. This stuff works great for lips and is also good for any dry patches of skin.

5. Keep the lymph moving with movement (exercise).

Drink plenty of water. Avoid foods with chemcial coloring, flavoring, sugar replacements and preseratives which all add more internal housework to the body. Practice dry skin brushing. As a treat, book a lymphatic drainage massage every 3 months, and especially at the end of a detox or cleanse to help keep lymph clean.

(Yoga photo from sheknows.)

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