Understanding Healing Crisis: Feeling Worse Before Feeling Better
What is Healing Crisis and Why Should I Care?
“Why do I feel worse after taking a supplement or doing a detox?”
It is not uncommon for someone to experience symptoms when undergoing detox. This is actually good and essential to help the body start off the road to healing. Many people fail to understand why and end up stopping before it has even started.
In the world we are living in right now, it is inevitable to be exposed to many environmental toxic substances and heavy metals such as pesticides, pollutants, preservatives and other harmful chemicals. Through time, these persistently low levels of toxins sneak into the body and stay there especially the fatty tissues and bone, until it takes a toll leading to chronic toxicity.
Naturally, our bodies have the capability to process and excrete them through perspiration (sweating), respiration (breathing) and lastly, digestion and elimination (urination and defecation). But eventually, our bodies can easily get overloaded by too much processed food, alcohol, medications and many other chemicals and toxins that end up loading in our tissues.
When one start to detox, the level of toxins and heavy metals slowly increase in the blood and lymphatic system as they are forced out from their storage sites and into circulation. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Manganese and Zinc are some examples that can “chelate” or grab hold to environmental toxins and heavy metals. As these toxins are “displaced”, they saturate the blood stream and vital organs leading to symptoms such as fatigue, headache, light-headedness, aches and pain, skin irritations, abdominal discomforts, mild cough with phlegm, watery eyes, runny nose, mild flu-like symptoms, among others. Generally, the toxins greatly affect weak organs which are more susceptible to inflammation leading to symptoms mentioned. When these undesirable symptoms arise during the start of detox, this is known as the “Healing Crisis” or “Detox Crisis.”
During the Healing Crisis, the body system are working together to eliminate waste products in preparation for restoration and regeneration. The body is trying to eliminate existing toxins at a much faster rate than usual. The degree of discomfort varies among individuals and depends on their health condition. The more toxic substances stored in the body, the more detoxification is required and the more serious the Healing Crisis.
What Should I Do During A Healing Crisis?
In general, a healing crisis usually lasts 3 to 5 days. For others with more toxins, it may drag up to 10 days or more.
1- Rest and Reserve Your Energy
At this time, it will help if you reserve your energy with adequate rest (physically & mentally) to ease the process. Do not force your body to overwork if it needs rest during detox. Because sleep is very critical in healing and detoxification, make sure to sleep for 8 hours (or more if needed) during the Healing Crisis.
2- Increase Intake of Water
Drinking more water and natural juices helps in carrying off the toxins out of the body. This will ensure that the pathways for elimination are not blocked.
3- Eat Right
As the body tries to remove toxic substances, it is not advisable to add the burden of inflammatory rich food such as refined carbohydrates, sugar loaded food, fried food, excessive alcohol and processed meat. Instead, eat more anti-inflammatory rich food such as your rainbow colored fruits and vegetables. This will assist and support the body by decreasing the gravity of symptoms during the Healing Crisis stage.
A Note of Encouragement
As you experience symptoms while cleaning your body and your diet, remember that this is a GOOD thing. It means that your body is detoxifying. Just like a room that needs to have a major fix, you cannot completely organize the room without first clearing out the trash and unnecessary things. The process of cleaning will take time and discomfort but eventually will lead to a much cleaner and more organized room where you can enjoy living in.
So don’t give up. Symptoms will pass. A few days adjustment period will be worth it as you get past this phase and on to start your journey to achieving optimal health.
If your symptoms persist for a much longer time, seek out a Functional Medicine Practitioner. There may be something deeper happening.
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