3 Signs You Are Healing (even though you feel lousy)
Healing reactions can cause mass frustration.
When you aren’t properly educated on what these reactions mean or why they occur, it’s a never-ending cycle of questions, false starts, and unnecessary misery.
Is this working?
Why do I feel worse?
Should I stop?
Instead of masking symptoms, natural healing allows them to surface while the body mends itself.
As a rule of thumb, most reactions should begin to resolve within a week of manifesting. If your symptoms continue to worsen, then there may be a missing piece that your body needs – a ‘co-factor’ – or some adjustments need to be made.
There is no one path to healing.
In addition to my previous article ‘Why Healing Diet Can Make You Feel Worse’, the following reactions are the most common ones that my clients experience during deep healing.
The 3 Main Types of Healing Reactions
1. Digestive Reactions
These are categorized by an increase in symptoms of digestive distress. In the series on healing digestion, we discuss how optimal digestion works.
Once you start healing the northernmost points of digestion, the entire system is affected and takes some time to normalize.
- You may have only had small bouts of heartburn on occasion but are now dealing with bloating or gas as you begin to kill of the pathogenic microbes in your gut.
- Your spouse now has alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation as the GI tract cleans itself out.
- Food used to run right through you but now you’ve been stopped up for days.
These are all normal reactions as the toxic load is reduced and the body begins to work again.
If there is blood in your stool or prolonged elimination changes, you may be moving too fast or the changes you’re making are not right for you at this time. Please contact a qualified holistic health practitioner with any health concerns.
2. Allergic Reactions
When you immune system is overstimulated and hyper sensitive, allergies develop.
Unless you are dealing with true anaphylactic allergies, this can be reversed when the gut environment is sealed and the bloodstream is no longer bombarded with foreign bodies.
[Side note: when non-IgE allergies do not subside there is usually an energy or psychological component to them.]
If you are dealing with non-threatening allergic reactions, slow down until it’s at a pace you can deal with.
I prefer to focus on gut healing and avoiding reactive foods and supplements until there is no longer a strong reaction to it before consuming on a regular basis.
3. Healing Reactions
Healing reactions often look like what you are trying to heal.
- If you are working on healing the digestive system, it can mimic the symptoms you are trying to heal.
- If you are focused on the immune system, it may manifest as flu-like symptoms or a viral flare.
- A small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause external yeast infections as the pathogenic yeasts are pushed outside of the body when they are excreted.
a. Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions (‘herxing’) are what is commonly called die off or detoxing.
It’s the release of a large amount of toxins as pathogens die within the body. The toxins overwhelm the body’s detox pathways and cause symptoms as they build up – nausea, fatigue, brain fog, shakiness, sleeplessness, etc.
b. Retracing is a reemergence of symptoms after they’ve been gone for some time. The body is cleaning house and taking out the trash.
Eczema flares, acne, painful joints, yeast infections, tics, stuttering, and any symptom that you have experienced in the past is fair game.
Real joy will come.
Once you move past these symptoms (and what can feel like endless work at times), there is true joy at the end of the long road. I am still healing myself, but it feels amazing to wake up refreshed and ready to greet the day.
Keep your chin up, dear readers. Health is worth it.
Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.
When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.