Healing crisis constitute a key mechanism by which the body can restore homeostasis. In this page, i will examine the conditions under which the healing crisis occurs (Section A) and conclude with a word on different interventions that can be used to mitigate and even reverse the feel bad effects of this crisis. (Section B).
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Nature of the Mechanism and Causation
Detoxification is meant to rejuvenate the mind and body and positively impact well being and clarity. However, sometimes the initial reaction to a detoxification program can be anything but pleasant. The process of healing sometimes includes a healing crisis, also known as the detox reaction, the cleansing reaction, and the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction.
During a healing crisis, you can feel even worse than before you started your detox program. The good news is that this reaction is likely a sign that you’re getting better by way of a deep and thorough cleansing.
What is a Healing Crisis?
Environmental toxins accumulate in tissue throughout the body, especially fat tissue. Additionally, the human body has bacterial colonies. When you cleanse your body, the toxins dislodge and the bacteria die off and release endotoxins. When the toxins and waste are dislodged, the body begins to flush them into the bloodstream to be filtered and eliminated. This sudden circulation of toxins can temporarily impact your well being and symptoms of illness (sweating, fever, discomfort, etc.) may occur.
What are the Indications of a Healing Crisis?
The indications that you’re experiencing a healing crisis can include headache, nausea, and fever — symptoms typically experienced during illness. During the crisis, a recurrence of symptoms from long-forgotten illnesses may also occur. Symptoms of a healing crisis vary from one person to another and may include:
•Aches and soreness
•Low blood pressure
How Long Does a Healing Crisis Last?
A healing crisis generally lasts around three days, depending on the individual and the severity of their situation. The more severe the toxicity, the more intense the healing crisis can be. As your body begins to expel toxins, your energy may decrease and you may begin to feel ill. If it happens, take it as a sign that your body is working to flush out toxins and waste.
What Else Can Cause a Healing Crisis?
Sometimes you don’t even need to begin a cleansing protocol to experience a healing crisis. Women who’ve participated in reflexology have reported experiencing the effects.  Massage, sauna bathing, and other therapies may also dislodge toxins and encourage a healing crisis (and healing!).
Conventional medicine has indicated that treatment protocols for many diseases can include a healing crisis. For example, syphilis treatments often initiate a Jarisch-Herxheimer response (healing crisis), with headache, fever, chills, worsening of lesions, and malaise.   Case studies suggest antibiotics for leptospirosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, may prompt a healing crisis, too. 
The threat of toxins that accumulate in the human body is increasingly believed to pose a major health risk to an individual’s well-being. Chemicals, biologically infectious agents, and their toxic metabolites are released − causing side effects associated with poisoning. These harmful substances are found throughout the body in blood, urine, tissue, and organs as well as in breast milk and cord blood which provides a direct threat to fetal and newborn health.
Eliminating such toxins from the body is a vital part of allowing the repair of damaged cells and tissue but can result in a normal process called a “healing crisis.” A healing crisis is a common experience centered on the basis that you become worse before you feel better. In other words, symptoms can worsen before they begin to disappear.
This reaction is clinically termed the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. It is a complication that generally follows treatment of infectious diseases resulting from the most likely cause of the body’s reaction to endotoxins. Symptoms of this immune response typically include chills, fever, flushing, low blood pressure, headache, and muscle pain.
What are Endotoxins?
Endotoxins are produced from infectious bacteria that exert a systemic inflammatory response. These compounds circulate and interfere with biological processes such as activating macrophage activity and stimulating other inflammatory immune responses.
This adverse reaction was first noted following the treatment of typhoid fever where the full dose of antibiotic therapy caused the sudden and potent release of endotoxins. Symptoms of infection generally worsened as a result of the release of these pro-inflammatory compounds.
Storages of endotoxins are also released when microbes are destroyed. As a result, the higher the number of infectious organisms killed, the more severe side effects will be experienced from the release of the endotoxins. Other infectious agents such as viruses and yeast infections are also destroyed following the initiation of a healing protocol.
Fortunately, the elimination of bacteria over time results in a reduction of endotoxins and the improvement of symptoms.
How to Handle a Healing Crisis
For a cleanse- or detox-induced healing crisis, it’s important to stay hydrated with purified water to encourage your body to flush and expel the toxins. Depending on the detox program, lemon juice and herbal teas may also help flush out toxins and provide nutrients and antioxidants. Massage, acupuncture, EFT (emotional freedom technique), and meditation may be helpful for relieving the indications of a healing crisis, especially anxiety and stress.
Cleanse by Fasting
A key part of aiding in detoxification pathways is to reduce the energy your digestive tract needs for breaking down and absorbing food. Performing a cleanse that lasts between 3 to 10 days four times a year can significantly increase cellular performance. You may also decide to do a 24-hour fasting cleanse to flush toxins from the body. Which cleanse is better for you depends on your own attainable health goals.
Some of the best foods to consume to optimize your healing pathways are fermented beverages. Liquid nutrition in the form of coconut water kefir, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, and fermented whey are easy on the digestive tract and act as functional foods.
Functional foods provide key dietary antioxidants that repair free radical damage and inhibit oxidative stress. Such foods promote physical and mental wellbeing by enhancing physiological functions.
Fermented Foods Aid Detoxification
Healing foods including fermentable foods and beverages naturally stimulate a healing crisis. High concentrations of healthy bacteria in cultured foods helps to eliminate pathogenic substances eliciting side effects of detoxification.
Eating anti-inflammatory fermented foods can also trigger a healing crisis in individuals who normally are burdened with foods high in sugar. This response is an effect called metabolic acidosis which results from the burden of sugar and its resulting toxic effects on the body.
Establishing healthy gut bacteria is key to overcoming any health problem and should be incorporated into your diet every day. Consider adding some of these fermented foods to your diet regularly:
Remind yourself that symptoms are temporary and are a sign that your body is detoxifying pathogenic organisms and toxins that lead to serious diseases.
Follow these 9 strategies to help you feel better during a healing crisis.
1 Consume Bitter Herbs: Bitter herbs have been traditionally used in alternative medicine for centuries. Bitter herbs like ginger, milk thistle, cilantro, and even artichoke help reduce blood sugar levels and fight inflammation. Such herbs cleanse the digestive tract, stimulate gallbladder and kidney function, and improve detoxification pathways in the blood.
2 Get Adequate Sleep: When the body is fighting an illness, try sleeping 10 to 12 hours daily. This allows the primary functions of the healing process to take over while energy is not being used for other functions − such as cognitive thought or digestion. Sleep is also essential for reducing cortisol, pain, and stress that causes inflammation and slows the repair process.
3 Take Probiotics: Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that support gut microflora and thereby stimulate a healthy immune response. Beneficial bacteria boost detoxification pathways by increasing gut motility and neutralizing endotoxins.
4 Detox with Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar: Squeezing the juice from half a lemon or adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to every 8 ounces of water you drink has powerful healing abilities. Lemons and ACV are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that boost the immune system and kill microbes that inhabit the digestive tract.
5 Detoxify with Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal has the ability to absorb various toxins. It can even prevent the damage that their absorption causes on the entire body. Toxicological studies have shown that activated charcoal is so effective at removing poisons which cause inflammation and tissue damage that it can be used more effectively than gastric emptying of harmful drugs and toxins.
6 Maximize Hydration: Drinking purified water is one of the best things you can do to optimize your health. Water is the main component of the human body comprising the majority of fluids. Hydrating your body well by drinking 2-4 oz of water every 15 minutes is a great way to heal. Water helps eliminate toxic waste and substances that cause inflammation by flushing it from organs and detoxification pathways such as the lymphatic system.
7 Eat Sulfur Containing Foods: Garlic and onions have long been used for alternative medicine to prevent and treat bacterial infection. These foods contain sulfur which boost your body’s natural antioxidant systems such as glutathione. They also contain quercetin which in combination with their sulfur properties dramatically suppresses inflammation, enhances detoxification, and lowers circulating endotoxins in the blood and tissue. Eat garlic and onions every day for their protective health powers.
Improved Health: The End Goal of a Healing Crisis
While being stricken with increased suffering for doing the right thing for your body may seem unfair to endure, the end result is improved health. Understanding the biological activities taking place as a result of detoxification can help you overcome feelings of anger and depression that you may feel while undergoing a healing crisis.
Symptoms of lethargy, insomnia, flatulence, diarrhea, and rashes may persist for a few short days but may linger for weeks depending on each individual’s toxic burden. Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, night sweats and hot and cold flashes.
For example, a patient who is already afflicted with disease is likely to experience more severe side effects from the detoxification process than is a person who performs a routine detoxification cleanse multiple times in a year.
While a healing crisis may be difficult to endure, rest assured it will pass and you will be better because of it.
1Gunnarsdottir TJ, Jonsdottir H. Healing crisis in reflexology: becoming worse before becoming better. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Nov;16(4):239-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.01.005.
2Meislin HW, Bremer JC. Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. Case report. JACEP. 1976 Oct;5(10):779-81.
3Belum GR, Belum VR, Chaitanya Arudra SK, Reddy BS. The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction: revisited. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2013 Jul-Aug;11(4):231-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2013.04.001.
4C. Vaughan, C. C. Cronin, E. K. Walsh, and M. Whelton. The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction in leptospirosis. Postgrad Med J. Feb 1994; 70(820): 118-121.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.
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