What Are "Healing Reactions" When Juice Fasting?

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When you embark on a juice fast, especially on an extended juice fast, you should expect healing. But, along with healing, you may experience some reactions that we call “healing reactions” or “healing crisis”. This article explains what is a healing reaction, when they occur, how long they last, and how to recognize them.

What Is A Healing Reaction?

Before you go on a juice fast/feast, you need to know what to expect during your journey. It’s not all a bed of roses. Juice fasting/feasting is easy to do, just make the juices, drink them, and wait for your body to heal, right? Right! But! … while waiting for your body to heal, healing reactions (or “healing crisis”) are also waiting to happen.

When you are not fasting, but eating normally and drinking juices, all’s well. Your body receives the juices, it assimilates and nourishes your body with all the precious nutrients. But when you begin a juice FAST (i.e. you don’t eat solid foods but just drink juices and other liquids); or a juice FEAST (i.e. you eat raw or lightly cooked plant foods in small amounts, frequently, and drink an increased amount of freshly extracted juices) … it’s when your body begins to detoxify.

The Process Of Detoxification

Cleaning House

Detoxification is like spring-cleaning your house, when you give your old house a thorough cleaning inside out. It’s a time when you move all your furniture and carpets, and clean under them.

When detoxifying, there is a deep cleansing work going on in your body that stirs up old toxins from every nook, corner and joints in your body.

Woman dusting

In the process of house cleaning, there is dust flying all over in the house, making you sick. During detoxification, old toxins that are being stirred up begin to circulate in your blood system again. The toxins had caused you some problems when it entered your body through the air you breathe, or the food you ate and by other means. They had stayed in your body and could not be eliminated, causing some diseases. Now, when detoxifying, it would not leave your body without creating the same problems.

If you were prone to headaches, while detoxifying, the headaches will get even more severe. If you have asthma, the attacks may recur when you detoxify. If you had been encountering fatigue, you will feel even more lethargic during your juice fast/feast.

Healing reactions are very individual. Not everybody will experience the same flare-ups. The more toxic your body, the more severe the reactions may be. Whatever the degree of flare-ups, healing reactions are an important aspect of true and deep healing.

Although unpleasant, it will be easier for you to go through it if you understood what it is, and welcome it as part of your healing process. Some who don’t understand healing reactions may conclude that juice fasting is “not for them” and may decide to end the fast prematurely.

The “Symptoms” Of Healing Reactions

Some Fats Facts

Fats in our bodies are the storehouse of toxins. It’s our bodies’ way of storing the toxins and preventing them from getting to our internal organs. Any detox program that causes a rapid meltdown of these fats, like a juice fast, will cause the toxins to be released very quickly into the blood system.

When these toxins are not being eliminated quick enough (like without the aid of enemas), they continue to circulate in the blood looking for a way out. This is when some symptoms will surface as healing reactions.

The more fats you have to lose using a detox program, the longer and more severe your healing reactions might become. That is why it is so important when going on a detox program to know what you’re up against, be prepared, and know how to deal with the symptoms when they happen. This is not to say that thin people will not experience healing reactions when detoxifying. Their toxins may be stored somewhere else, among tissues or joints.

Waste Elimination Through Your Detox Organs

In the process of looking for a way out through any of your detox organs, these toxins create some symptoms that you may be familiar with. They may manifest identically with the disease/pains that you already have, possibly with greater intensity. Here are some examples of the symptoms that can occur when juice fasting/feasting.

  • Through skin:  Skin breakouts like acne, rashes, eczema, pimples.
  • Through lungs:  Respiratory problems like asthma attacks, wheezing, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose.
  • Through kidneys:  Urinary problems like pain while urinating or bad odor urine.
  • Through liver:  Blood circulation problems like dizziness, light-headedness, headaches, nausea, fatigue/restlessness, joint paints, palpitation, hot flashes, etc.
  • Through colon:  Feeling of bloating, cramps, diarrhea or purging.

Some people may also encounter chills or even low-grade fever (between 99 and 101 degree F) just by drinking juices! This happens because of the stirred up toxins. Your body is trying to fight off the internal bacterial activity faster than your liver can handle. This is nothing serious but just needing to drink a lot of water to help flush out the toxins/bacteria that’s in the blood system. Seek medical help if you encounter high fever which is definitely not a healing reaction but of something else.

Some other smaller ways of your body throwing out toxins are through your tongue and eyes. In the morning due to overnight inactivity, your tongue, teeth and gums may be covered with a thick coating. Brush your teeth and use a tongue scraper (or a spoon) to remove the coating. Bad breath and mouth ulcers are common during this time. Your eyes may also develop some encrustations or be tearing a lot. Simply wash your eyes with some clean distilled water.

How To Recognize A Healing Reaction

Symptoms of a chronic disease linger and are always there. With a healing crisis, you’ll know because you’re doing something positive by improving your diet and eating/drinking superior foods. You will feel good with a surge of energy when you begin your juice fast/feast.

healing reactions

Healing reactions usually appear AFTER you begin to feel better, when you are ready. The first one may just be mild as your body is responding to the healing.

Subsequent reactions may last longer for a day or up to a maximum of three days in more severe cases. Old pains may happen many months later even after you’ve stopped fasting but as you continue to eat healthily.

One thing for sure, they will occur in longer intervals and for shorter periods and lesser intensity each time, as it works towards healing. It heals one part at a time and you will see healing moving throughout your body.

Read more about the stages of healing reactions that you go through during an extended juice fast/feast.

During an extended fast, the newer injuries will be corrected earlier in the fast. As it continues to cleanse, it will trace back and work on the older pains/injuries/poisonings as they happened “chronologically” (it’s like last in, first out).

You might have an old injury that happened when you were very young, and that you may not remember. The longer you do an extended juice fast, the deeper it will cleanse and this very old pain will reappear which you may not understand. But just remember, that our body has a very high intelligence, created by a Higher Being, and it has the ability to always want to heal itself.

What To Do During A Healing Reaction

When you encounter a healing reaction, depending on the severity, you may be tempted to end your fast. During this time, follow your instinct. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s not severe, stop drinking juices but drink plenty of pure water instead. Lie down, rest or sleep to help lessen the discomfort.

A water enema is helpful in aiding the detoxification process along. If you include coffee enema in your regime, it is even better, as it helps to drastically reduce healing reactions.

If your body is telling you that it cannot continue with the fast, pay attention and gently break your fast. It is not a time to stretch your endurance or punish your body. Eat a piece of soft fruit, gradually reintroducing soft solid foods back into your system.

Solid foods will help relieve you of the severity of the healing reactions. This is why juice feasting (while eating plant foods in smaller amounts) can be a very good way to continue the cleansing for a longer period. The healing reactions are significantly played down while healing is more gradual.

When you break your fast because of a healing reaction that your body cannot handle, the released toxins are not being eliminated properly and continue to stay in your body. Some of them may be reabsorbed into the tissues. A coffee enema during this time is best to help unload the liver. As soon as you’re up to it, start another fast another time. A regular fast, even one day a week helps. In a year, you would have done about 50 day-fasts during which your healing reactions will become lesser and lesser.

When It’s NOT A Healing Reaction

When you’re diligent with your juice fast/feasting, not “cheating”, and encountering healing reactions, you know that they’re genuine healing reactions. As I mentioned above, listen to your body. Know when to stop and break your fast responsibly.

How to know when to stop juice fasting/feasting and seek medical help:

When there’s bleeding in the gums, in the stools, in phlegm or mucus. These are not healing reactions, seek medical help immediately.

When a flare-up lasts more than three days, is severe and causing a weakening condition, it could be something more serious, seek medical help immediately.

Be well!

Go to the Juice Fasting Section for more articles.

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About Sara Ding

Sara Ding is the founder of Juicing-for-Health.com. She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.

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