“Herxheimer Reaction,” aka healing crisis is a medical condition that can occur when ones chooses a path of healing. A healing crisis occurs when cells release metabolic waste too quickly into the system and the organs cannot eliminate the waste fast enough. The metabolic waste gets recycled over and over again in the body. Symptoms may be subtle or severe including headache, soreness, nausea, fatigue, fever, stomach distress, rash, skin eruptions and other conditions.
A healing crisis simply is not limited to massage. It may happen to those that are incorporating a new health and exercise regiment, recovering from a long or short illness or disease or have been previously injured. Those that are currently ill or recovering from an aliment may experience severe reaction of a healing crisis. Conditions can last from one to three days or in some cases up to a week or more.
When your body is undergoing a healing crisis it will go into a flushing mode creating an organized cleanse. It’s the body’s way of flushing out previous illnesses, viruses, bacteria or disease. The muscles retain and hold memory like a hard drive on a computer. Our muscles and fat can store previous aliments and injury. Sometimes by touching a part of the body will trigger a response for the muscles to remember and release. This is a natural cleansing mechanism and necessary in helping repair and healing of the body systems.
No massage therapist can predict if you will receive these symptoms after a massage session. In some cases it is unavoidable. You just go to ride the dragon and allow your body to do its job by releasing the metabolic waste. Do not allow a healing crisis deter you from receiving much-needed body work.
It is best to prepare in cases such as these. Here are some things you can do to prevent or reduce a healing crisis after your massage.
1. Drink plenty of water before and after a massage. VERY IMPORTANT -HYDRATION! HYDRATION!
2. Epsom salt baths help to reduce soreness and stiffness after a massage. Mustard seed baths help to eliminate metabolic waste and reduce soreness, too.
3. Daily intake of luke warm water with lemon in the morning can assist the liver in flushing out metabolic waste. This is a great daily routine to incorporate in your health regiment.
4. Drinking apple cider vinegar before and after a massage session can aid in reducing DOMS. 1tb of apple cider vinegar, 8oz of luke warm water and 1tsp of organic honey (to taste). Also a fermented drink! Read on.
5, Fasting for 24 hours has been proven to help the body eliminate metabolic waste, frees up space in the colon and help the integrity of the cells in the regeneration process.
6. Fermented drinks or food help to decrease a healing crisis. Fermented food and drink can help increase flora in the intestinal track, reduce sugar cravings and kill off bad bacteria in the digestive track. Fermented food and drink are abundant in enzymes and electrolytes.
7. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest. Sleep aides in the body to heal.
8. Enema’s can help to vacate dried fecal matter and excess waste in the colon.
9. Rest is necessary in repair of the body. Make sure you're getting your 8 hours of rest.
There are many ways to help your body while in a healing crisis. Books and research on the internet can give you more information on a healing crisis and how to reduce the symptoms.
Suzan Walker, LMT, CR, LDT
Connective Integration Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is not a substitution for medical treatment. The massage therapist cannot diagnose, treat or prevent disease. The therapist can only recommend products and services. Please consult a medical physician.
Healing Crisis: One May Effect You After A Massage
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