Detox Healing Symptoms | Liver Detox Program

Date: 09/29/2003    Written by: Jon Barron

The Healing Crisis

On occasion when detoxing, particularly during your first few detoxes, you may experience some symptoms, often referred to as a healing crisis (Herxheimer's reaction). It is characterized by a temporary increase in symptoms during the cleansing or detoxification process. Reactions, when they occur, are almost always mild, but on rare occasions can be severe.

There are three primary triggers for a detox reaction.

  1. Any large-scale die-off of bacteria can release a significant amount of toxins present within the actual bacteria. The stronger those toxins are and the more bacteria present to release them, the stronger the cleansing reaction. Colon cleansing, the use of probiotics, digestive enzymes, immune enhancers, and pathogen destroyers can all trigger bacterial die-off.
  2. Any detox that causes the organs of the body (particularly the liver, which is a storehouse of drug and poison residues) to purge their stored poisons and toxins, can trigger a cleansing reaction, as can the use of an herbal blood cleanser.
  3. Any program, such as fasting or the use of weight-loss herbs, that causes a rapid breakdown of fat cells (which are a storehouse for toxins) can be accompanied by a detox reaction.

The bottom line is that the body must go through an elimination process to achieve good health. There will be ups and downs. Symptoms, if they appear, are usually mild, but in some cases can be severe. Understand, the symptoms you experience are indicative of the cleansing, purifying process that is underway. Go as slowly as your body needs to so that your elimination is gradual and comfortable. Also, keep in mind that this is not an endurance contest. If symptoms become too severe, stop the detox and regroup. You can always restart the detox again at a later date.

Easing Your Way through the Healing Crisis

  • Drink plenty of fresh water, juices, and herbal teas to flush the body of toxins.
  • Use a colon stimulation formula to make sure that you are eliminating waste promptly. Symptoms frequently disappear immediately after a good bowel movement.
  • Use psyllium seed husks, ground flaxseed, or oat bran daily to absorb toxins and to help speed their transit through the system.
  • On occasion, a good enema or colon irrigation can provide relief.
  • Sometimes, rest is the best therapy.
  • And, on rare occasions, a reduction of the dosage or temporary cessation may be required.

The follow story comes from an actual letter I received from a competitive cyclist who went through a healing crisis while detoxing. His reactions were on the severe side to be sure, but it's instructive to see how the crisis ended.

The 30 day colon cleanse went without a hitch. I lost 10-15 lbs, maybe more. This is excellent news for a competitive cyclist because weight loss without losing muscle mass is a win-win situation.  

After I was done with the colon cleanse I began the liver/gallbladder detox. The first day I had some cravings for food and that night I dreamed I was at a banquet stuffing my face.  I thought, “Oh no I'm supposed to be fasting,” and then woke up and realized I hadn't broken my fast. I had interesting dreams almost every night of the five days.

The second day I had a headache in the morning and, when I got home around 4PM, the headache still persisted. I tried to make the potassium broth but the smallest tasks seemed monumental, and I lay down in bed and started to burp a little.  I couldn't sleep, the headache got worse and I began to feel as if I was going to be ill.  Eventually, I ran to the toilet and had my first bout of vomiting and “dry heaves.”

The only way I can describe the next hour or so is that it was like how “going cold turkey” from heroin is portrayed in the movies. I had several sessions on my knees, hot and cold sweats, one of the worst headaches of my life and actually had to time my breaths between “puking my guts out.”

The first session was the carrot juice I had consumed or so it looked like. The second time around was what, in retrospect, may have been ancient maraschino cherries or tape worms (?) -- chunks of red, but not blood.

Round three brought up some mucous like substance and some yellowish, bile like fluid.  At this point the “heaves” were so bad that I was getting scared and thinking I might have to stop the detox. The final bout was the worst and brought up yellow bile (?) with red “blood” specks in it, seemingly from the deepest recesses possible (or that I had ever experienced).

Exhausted and not wanting to be too far from the toilet, I sat back in a reclining chair and fell asleep. I woke up in an hour and immediately noticed that my sinuses were clearer than I can ever remember. My headache was gone, and I felt like a million bucks. I called my chiropractor friend and he confirmed that it was probably the effects of toxins being released by my liver into my system and that I may have gotten rid of some bad stuff when I became ill.

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    April 8, 2012 - 6:06pm

    Why in the world would anyone be rushing to do a liver detox after reading this? I've certainly changed my mind.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    April 11, 2012 - 3:40pm

    At the Baseline of Health Foundation, we want to give as much information as possible so that you can make “informed” decisions. Some people have no reactions at all.  Others, if they have any toxic build-up in the body, will have more of a reaction such as mild headaches and fatigue. And a few have stronger reactions. Simply put, the more toxins you have, the higher chance of a "healing crisis" reaction.  That does not mean you should not try a detox.  Would you rather keep the toxins inside, slowly poisoning you years after year? Quite simply, people put up with the side-effects that may or may not occur when detoxing because of the end-result benefits. Keep in mind the cyclist’s description of where he ended up after the detox. “I woke up in an hour and immediately noticed that my sinuses were clearer than I can ever remember. My headache was gone, and I felt like a million bucks.” As a result, he became a regular, and dedicated detoxer – and never again experienced a similar reaction.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest on
    May 6, 2012 - 6:25am

    You and me both!! I was considering it until I read this. No thank you!

  •  
    Submitted by Sam on
    May 7, 2012 - 4:33pm

    To the two people who wrote about not wanting to try the detox, what a mistake! There is NO ESCAPE from bad health. You are either going to suffer from the side effects of your bad diet now when you detox, or later from either cancer, heart disease, MS, and on and on. What is worse: years of suffering from chemotherapy or a bad week with a headache on a detox? Don't you people get it? I have a family member going through chemotherapy. He refused to do a detox, now he suffers ENDLESSLY with cancer and other health issues. If only he would have listened. Sure, he tried to eat healthy, but with the toxins today, that was not enough! I tried to warm him. What is nice about this site is they tell you the truth. If a detox was easy, then it means it is not DOING ANYTHING. Also, if you are healthy, you shouldn't have these side effects. My first detox was hard, now it is nothing.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest Judy on
    May 27, 2012 - 9:58pm

    In reading the above comments from those that decidec not to do a detox, is there any way you can detox in increments that would make
    it easier were it to become a rough detox? A little at a time? And by the way, my email IS valid.

  •  
    Submitted by Guest Mom of 3 on
    June 3, 2012 - 7:54pm

    Currently I am on a metal detox, as I am having amalgams removed. I have done several colon and metal detoxes in the past and it is possible to go slower - currently I take 2 capsules instead of 6 for the metal cleanse, more the day and a few after I get fillings changed out. I feel better going slower with it.

    My colon initially was a mess as was I, I fought parasites almost 2 years, but havent seen any for over a year and none out of the last colon cleanse. For years I was Ill and did not know I was gluten intolerant, another reason I was in poor health, dx lyme, chronic epstein, then erlichia, myoclonins (tics) memory problems, anxiety and depression.

    My health has improved greatly besides finding the right medicine, from cleansing and the right supplements. 15 years of medicine alone was not enough, in fact last year I had to stop medicines due to low white blood counts. My memeory is now better and tics have all disappeared with supplementing more vitamins for kryptopyrolouria B 6 B 12 Biotin Niacin Zinc and others. I also supplement some grapefruit seed extract for candida control with probiotics and with juicing, miracle reds and macro greens.

  •  
    Submitted by victoria kula on
    January 24, 2013 - 11:08am

    It might sound strange but I am looking forward to the liver flush. I'm currently almost finished the 30 colon cleanse/metal detox. Once in awhile I will get a detox symptom, but for the most part it has been pretty uneventful. There are plenty of things keeping me from feeling like a million bucks...I hope I can say I get that back!

  •  
    Submitted by nate on
    March 10, 2013 - 10:19am

    I must be crazy, but reading about this person's experience makes me want to do a liver detox!!!

  •  
    Submitted by R M Coles on
    April 7, 2013 - 8:52pm

    Do you recommend cleansing for me? I'm 69 years old, 100 lbs. overweight, diabetic, have hypertension, chemically-induced asthma, have NASH/cirrhosis, scarcoidosis, type 2 diabetes, low thyroid. On meds for diabetes, low thyroid, hypertension. I need your help; what do you recommend?
    Thanks for your help!

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    April 9, 2013 - 1:08pm

    For obvious legal reasons, we cannot diagnose or prescribe for specific medical conditions—merely provide information. With that in mind, many senior citizens with severe medical problems have used the Baseline of Health program to significantly improve their health and dramatically or even completely eliminate their prescription medicines. Check with your doctor to see if he/she will work with you to incorporate elements of the Baseline program into your own life.

  •  
    Submitted by Keri on
    June 2, 2013 - 6:32am

    I went through the colon first and lost a lot of old fecal matter(wow)! To think this cramp is in our body for years. No wonder most people walk around so grumpy:)! I did not have any side effects.
    Than I did the liver gallbladder cleanse. This one wasn't as a walk n the park. I had headaches, sweats, and on my last day I broke out in rashes and felt very faint. All apart of the cleanse.. I recommend doing a few cleanses on the bowel first so that at least your clean there and maybe the process won't be as toxic. So I'm on day 2 of my second bowel cleanse :) best of health to everyone!

  •  
    Submitted by Rose on
    July 17, 2013 - 10:32pm

    Do you have to do the full body cleanse or can you just do one certain cleanse you wish
    .

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 18, 2013 - 9:44am

    It depends on what cleanse you are going to do.  You should always do the colon cleanse before the liver detox.  However, the heavy metal detox can be done by itself or as part of the full body cleanse.  Same with the kidney detox.  Make sure to read the section in Jon's book about detoxing.  Just click on "Free Book" above.

  •  
    Submitted by neigh on
    September 11, 2013 - 7:12pm

    i can hardly wait to try..i did do a liver cleanse years ago..w yes..a headache to die for..but when i woke up the next morning i felt soo much better..i cant wait to precleanse w the colon one first..then i will do the other two..i have never cleansed the kidneys..wondering if that will help w lower back "stiffness." cant wait..but i will take it slow and do it right!

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    September 11, 2013 - 8:18pm

    That is the best attitude to have!   As for relieving low back stiffness, it all depends on why you are having low back pain in the first place, but it is possible.

  •  
    Submitted by Keith on
    September 9, 2014 - 8:47am

    I did the three-stage detox about 4 years ago. I've been wanting to do it again, and convinced my wife to do it for the first time. We are in the first 10 days of the colon cleanse and are also doing the blood chelation with metal magic. I personally had some light headedness the first time I did it, but nothing except generally foggy (it just went away yesterday). But my wife had a severe reaction. The night before, she woke up at 3AM and her arm, hand, part of her leg, and lower jaw were numb. She got very nervous thinking it could be a heart attack or stroke. She went to the emergency room. Did an ECG, which was clear. Blood work, fine. They said she was dehydrated, gave her an IV. Wanted to do a cat scan, she refused. Still had the numbness, but thought the fluids would clear it up. She came home, slept for a while, woke up, still numb. She got nervous, went back to the Emergency room. They did an MRI, all clear. Got home, slept the whole night and she feels fine this morning. She's going to give it a day or two, but wants to go back on the detox. By the way, she noticed on the discharge paper work they gave her that it said paresthesia, which one cause is heavy metal poisoning. Very interesting, given that is one of the main uses of the detox is to rid the body of heavy metals.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    September 9, 2014 - 2:25pm

    Hi Keith,

    We’ve never head of this particular situation before, but it’s not surprising. As Jon makes clear when talking about detoxing, strong reactions may not be common, but they do happen for some people. The scenario, as presented, is quite plausible. If your wife’s body was indeed packed with an abundance of heavy metals, then doing the heavy metal detox would stir them up, and it’s quite possible they could produce some side effects on their way out.

    With that in mind, you might want to have your wife separate the intestinal detox and the heavy metal cleanse. Do the intestinal detox first so that she will know whether or not that contributed to her numbness. If that proves clear, then she can start the metal cleanse again, but this time start slowly and build gradually to allow the heavy metals to clear at a slower pace to minimize the chances of a detox reaction. For example, start with one dropper, three times a day, for a week. Then double it to two droppers, three times a day for the next week. Then three. Then four droppers, three times a day from week three on.

    The good news is that once she gets through the detox with no significant side effects at the end, it means that she has cleared enough so that it is unlikely she will ever have that problem again. Also, if her body was carrying that much heavy metal, then it’s likely her health has been compromised for some time—just at a low enough level that she had come to accept it as normal. Once she clears those metals, she is likely to feel a whole lot better and realize what normal truly is.

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