What to Expect When You’re Detoxing
Congratulations! You have embarked on the important journey of ridding your body of what it wants to shed. Be that a parasite, metals, molds, environmental toxins, Candida overgrowth, bacterial or viral infection, your body is eager to be free of these pathogens. What can you expect when you are detoxing?
As with many good things in life, this journey may hold some surprises for you. For many of my clients, detoxing represents minor discomforting symptoms, while for other clients, it is more severe, and for a time they may actually feel worse than they did before beginning their protocol. As disturbing as this might be to you if you are the one suffering, it is all within the normal range of expectations.
There is a reason for this: you are removing and killing off things no longer welcome in your body. This means three things:
- The live pathogens (bacteria, viruses, candida, molds and parasites) are happy living off of you, and they do not want to die. The others (metals, environmental toxins) are losing their relatively stable lodgings.
- Dead and toxic things are being processed out of your body; and
- Tissue where these pathogens have been harbored will be raw as they are pulled out.
Each of these considerations bears significance.
1. Nobody wants to leave…
Freeloaders like to freeload. The metals and environmental toxins have found their spots. The live pathogens want to live and have created circumstances to their liking. Some parasites even have the capability to slow your elimination process, or “motility,” and cause constipation – for why would they want you to clear out their cozy environment? They want to survive.
If you are not already aware, the gut is often called your “Second Brain.”
When you are detoxing and starving these pathogens of the food they like, as well as administering targeted “kill” nutraceuticals, you may find yourself convinced the correct name should be “The First Brain,” as what’s going on down in your gut sure seems to be in charge of the whole machine. Everything in you may just plain want a sugary treat – NOW! Clients have even said these cravings can wake them up at night. These critters are hollering at you: “feed me!” And the non-living toxins have been stable (metals, environmental toxins such as solvents, dyes, etc), but now they are on the move, their casings cracked open, flooding your system with their bad selves.
IBSolutions Method solution:
Do not go hungry. Plan ahead and stock your home (also preparing for times away from home) so that you can eat enough of the right things. Jonesing for something sweet? Sip on Pao D’Arco tea with stevia. If low-sugar fruit is allowed for you right now, treat yourself to a handful of ripe berries. Fight these feelings with non-food tools such as a walk outdoors, morning sunshine, a gentle massage, a warm bath after dry brushing (limit Epsom salt baths to 20 minutes), deep breathing. A powerful combination is to do your deep breathing exercises outside in the morning sun, while repeating to yourself “I am healing, I am becoming well, I am strong.” This is a perfect time to add to, or begin, a daily gratitude journal.
2. Dead and toxic things are being processed out of your body…
Have you ever left a potato too long in a cupboard, or a piece of fish too long in the frig? All of a sudden, your nose alerts you that something is off as a distinct smell of rot permeates your fresh home. Similarly, as the living pathogens die in your body during a detox, they are rotting. The detox is also blasting off the “protective shell” sequestering the metals and environmental toxins away from you, and they mobilize, too. Specifically, these are all releasing endotoxins as they mobilize or die, which may be a bit overwhelming for your body as they flood your system. Just like your house kitchen stinks with a rotten potato or old fish, your body can get a little “stinky” for a while. This may take the form of:
- joint or muscle aches
In addition to these symptoms, here are others that may surprise you:
- skin irritation
- brain fog
- cold sweats
- irritability or depression
- sore throat
This is the “Herxheimer Reaction.” But what is that?
The “Herx” response is your body’s natural healthy response to toxins in your system.
This process has already been ongoing daily without you noticing. As harmful pathogens (such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, molds, metals, and environmental toxins) are destroyed, they release poisons called endotoxins into your blood stream. This allows the body to use cytokines (proteins made by various types of white blood cells to fight infections) to activate an immune response and process them “down and out,” and then expel them.
This is a natural inflammation process: picture your body burning out toxins with the flame of inflammation. During a detox, there may be a more rapid destruction of a greater quantity of pathogens, which can result in a surge of toxicity in your system, and therefore a surge of cytokines, which means greater inflammation…which can lead to the above symptoms.
For some, these symptoms are a non-event, or just a slight bother. For others, they can be more severe. Typically, they might develop within a few hours or a few days of beginning your protocol. They may last a week or upwards of months, depending on your state of health, your body’s capability to transport toxins, and the severity of what you are purging. Day to day you may feel worse or better. Although these symptoms can be concerning, the condition ultimately improves, with such a response actually indicating that the protocol is working! It isn’t the protocol – it is the die-off.
IBSolutions Method solution:
Utilize all of these four pathways of detoxification – respiration, perspiration, urination and defecation – to support your body as it moves these toxins out.
To reduce the impact of a Herxheimer reaction:
- Drink plenty of pure liquids: distilled water, herbal teas (peppermint and pao d’arco especially), organic coconut water (unless it accelerates diarrhea).
- Keep regular bowels.
- Sleep more: vital to your body’s restorative process – nine to ten hours during this period is not excessive!
- Limit exposure to toxins: drink pure water, breathe pure air, use non-toxic skin care, and eat only non-grain, non-GMO organic foods free of pesticides. Avoid alcohol, smoke, BPAs (plastics), and all processed food and drink.
- Support the colon and detox pathways with the proper nutraceuticals (such as glutathione, anti-oxidants, and proteolytic enzymes – but please ask me before adding anything to your protocol).
- Move: walk, swim, stretch, do yoga (especially yin). This is not a time to go “all out” in any exercise, however. Be gentle.
- As above, employ warm baths, deep breathing, morning sunshine.
- Get out in nature.
- Dry brush to supports your skin’s detox capability.
- Limited use of a dry or wet sauna (maximum 10 – 20 minutes).
Note: although a “Herx” response is normal, and it is best to stay the course, moving through its symptoms as best you can, if you feel your symptoms are severe (more than 7 on a scale of 1-10), I want to know in order to make protocol adjustments as needed. In addition, I want to know if you are experiencing – at any level – body rash, sweaty palms, or anxiety/panic attacks.
3. Raw tissue gets exposed where pathogens were harbored…
This is a time and opportunity to carefully rebuild your system in the right way. You must come out of a detox be as carefully as doing the detox itself. We will be laying down the optimal environment in your gut once we have “taken out the trash.” Removal is only the first step; after we retest to make sure the removal goals have been met, we embark on repair, repletion and rebalancing.
IBSolutions Method solution:
As above, breathe fresh air, drink pure water, use non-toxic products on your skin and in your home, and eat only what has been indicated for you: non-grain, non-GMO organic everything, and nothing identified as an allergen to you on your LRA or IgE tests. Avoid alcohol, smoke, BPAs (plastics), and all processed food and drink. As the detox process may leave you deficient in beneficial bacteria due to the powerful cleaning you have just completed, we will be building beneficial bacteria back up, too, with targeted pre-and probiotics, in the measured approach that is the hallmark of the IBSolutions Method.
A final word…
Healing is not often a straight and narrow path, and detox represents that. You may have good days during your detox, and some not-so-good days. This may even be an hourly process back and forth, and may last days, weeks, or months. You are an individual and your process will be individual. In addition to your physical feelings, your emotions may very well feel a bit roller coaster-y. Toxins and pathogens were laid down accompanied by emotions. Many of my clients report that as those pathogens get essentially ripped out, and moved out, the same emotions are experienced, which can be challenging.
You have embarked upon a path to wellness. This is just one way-station along the route, and you will be stronger for having passed through.
Give yourself grace during this time. I am rooting for you, and I believe in you.