Healing reactions go by many names: detox, copper dumping, healing crisis, Herxheimer reaction. They all essential have the same concept: when you embark on a natural healing path, your body starts to clean up the layers of filth and toxins that have been building up for years (even for generations!). This can create some unpleasant symptoms that can be scary. Ideally, you would think that changing your diet and lifestyle will automatically make you feel better- for many people it does! But for those that are truly way past their toxic load, healing can be a rough road with many ups and downs.
Our bodies have more healing potential than anyone has ever led you to believe! We are meant to heal. We just need the right tools.
I started my natural healing journey over 4 years ago. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but even then there were not many resources about natural healing so I went through a lot of it on my own. I somehow learned to trust my body’s instincts and I just went with the flow. Now, we are lucky to have many groups and forums filled with people on similar journeys that can help each other through the healing process.
With healing, it is very helpful to be in tune with your body and notice how you react to certain things. This way, you will be able to correctly identify a healing reaction and then know how to follow it to completion.
So why do we experience healing reactions?
Our bodies tend to accumulate lots of junk. Pesticides, certain chemicals from plastics and beauty products, and heavy metals are the huge offenders. We are bombarded with these things on a daily basis! Couple that issue with the Standard American Diet and then it becomes apparent why autoimmune, neurological, and endocrine disorders are on the rise. Our bodies need certain nutrients to function correctly. So the average American is not only eating “food” that is lacking in these nutrients, but they are poisoning themselves from every angle with perfume, makeup, and plastic bottles!
The liver seems to be one of the first things affected with this lifestyle. When the liver gets overloaded, it cannot filter toxins so it stores them in fat. So we literally can be full of toxins! This is why when we embark on a natural healing path, we can experience these healing reactions- these toxins can finally get filtered out. They cause an increase in symptoms as they get released. This is why liver and gut health are CRUCIAL to the healing process. They work in tandem to eliminate these toxins in a timely manner. Read my liver healing and gut health posts to learn more about keeping them up and running.
Symptoms of Healing Reactions:
Basically any flare-up of symptoms you have ever experienced is common. Healing tends to have an order- the body heals the issue that is the newest, and then works backwards. For example, if you had strep throat last month, your first healing reaction could be a sore throat again but it wouldn’t feel the same- it would be milder and last only a day or 2 instead of a week. It is VERY important to not use any over-the-counter drugs or pharmaceuticals to counter-effect a healing reaction! This will just make the healing process longer because these suppress healing.
Common symptoms include:
Increased mucus secretion
Increased bathroom trips
Overwhelming emotions (emotions can actually get stored in our organs– when we start healing, these emotions come flooding out)
Cold/flu like symptoms
Changes in urine/stool including frequency, color changes, and smell
Muscle aches and pains
Any symptom that you have been dealing with can flare up for a time as the body heals
Copper dumping seems to have its own set of symptoms: Anxiety, rashes, liver pain or a feeling of it being swollen, insomnia, depression, paranoia, panic attacks, loose stool or an increase in frequency (many claim it is a copper color), changes in appetite, anger, crying, hopelessness,feeling wired and tired, joint pain, and any exaggeration of current symptoms Just remember that healing reactions are temporary and they are a great sign that your body is trying to heal finally.
It takes years, decades, even generations before some people reach their “toxic load”. So healing fully can take time for some people. The general rule is one month of healing for every year you have been sick- may not be true for everyone but it is a good guideline. The best way to ensure that you succeed on the healing path (and this is what I didn’t know 3 years ago) is that proper testing can take a LOT of the guesswork out for you. A HTMA can show you so many of your deficiencies and imbalances, as well as show your adrenal strength- our adrenals are a huge factor in our vitality so if they are not functioning, then healing will be difficult.
Some quick tips to get you through a healing reaction:
Fiber like psyllium husk is also great for ushering stuff out quickly.
Also, legs-on-the-wall yoga pose, Buteyko breathing, and EFT are great ways to calm down and help release both toxins and emotions that may come up with a healing reaction. Going for a walk or grounding can also help!
I’ve had my fair share of healing reactions the last few years- and I promise: It gets better! It is amazing to see what the body can do when you give it the correct nutrients.
My name is Kristin, and I've been on the path to help people achieve better health using whole food nutrition, mineral balancing, and holistic healing principles for almost 7 years now. The body is a whole and we must treat it as such! I have my Bachelor of Science in Natural Health Sciences, certificates in Herbal Studies from Herbal Academy, and I am constantly learning more about health to help my clients and followers.