Updated: Mar 22
This article was written by my dear friend and fellow Lyme Sharon of Chronically Imperfect Check out her awesome website!
Detoxing to help heal from Lyme disease is a critical part of the long journey. It encourages the body to flush out toxins, reduces muscle and joint pain, inflammation, and also reduces herx reactions. You can learn more about those fun herx reactions here- https://globallymealliance.org/what-does-it-mean-to-herx/. In patients with chronic Lyme, our detox pathways and immune system are often compromised. As a result, high levels of toxicity develop, and autoimmune attacks against the body are instigated. The bacteria in Lyme patients creates an accumulation of greater quantities of toxins. Therefor, those suffering from Lyme often have overworked livers and kidneys. This is due to the stress caused by the inflammation and toxic burden created by the chronic infection. (Sauna works, https://infraredsauna.com/). In other words, our bodies are literally filling up with nasties and overloading and stressing out our organs. We need to keep our bodies running smoothly in order to heal.
This post will briefly discuss just some of the detox options out there. These are mostly low cost options, because let’s face it, most of us are broke, thanks to the countless doctors, lab works and treatment! This list should help offer some basic info and a starting point. I will discuss some of these more deeply in later posts. Think of this as the “cliff’s Notes” version of Lyme detox.
Before we get started, please note I am not a doctor. Prior to starting anything new on your healing journey , always consult your doctor.
10 Detox Methods
1. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is the byproduct of burning a carbon rich source like wood, peat, or coconut shells. It is an extremely fine charcoal that contains millions of tiny pores that grab and adhere to heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins. It binds to toxins and flushes them from the body. Activated charcoal can aid in relieving muscle and joint pain, mental clarity, digestive issues, bloating, and heart health. It may also help aid kidney function, act as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial agent.
Activated charcoal comes in tablets, powder and liquid forms. It can be found at most “super” grocery stores and pharmacies. Because it is a binding agent, it should not be taken within 2-3 hours of any medications or supplements. Consult your doctor to see if activated charcoal is right for you and for dosing instructions.
2. Hot/Cold Showers
This one is easy and completely free! There’s really not a whole lot to write about here. At the end of your warm shower, switch the water temperature setting to cold. Let the cold water run over your head, face, and body for a good 30 seconds. The hardest part, in my opinion, is convincing your hand to turn the shower lever! However, once you get past the mental part and follow through, it feels fantastic. Your body will thank you later!
This surge of cold water quickly tightens your skin’s pores after being opened up from the warm shower. Thus, the quick shift in temperatures increases lymph flow and blood flow to your organs and stimulates circulation. It also boosts the immune system, increases white blood cells, aids in muscle recovery and increases mental alertness.
3. Lemon Water
Fresh lemon juice “helps to balance the pH in the body which is known to fortify immunity and maintain good health. Lemons also help the body to naturally detoxify and get rid of illness-promoting agents,” according to Prohealth.com. As well as enhancing the immune system, lemon juice also aids the digestive system, boosts antioxidant intake, cleanses the liver and promotes hydration.
Squeeze 1/2 to a whole lemon into your water and drink several times a day. You can also add ginger or cucumber and/or a pinch of pink salt for added benefits and taste.
Cool tip: Juice several lemons in a juicer and freeze in ice cube trays! You can pre-juice the ginger and cucumber this way as well. Add a frozen chunk to you water glass and stir! This helps keep life a little simpler. Which, who are we kidding? Who has the energy to clean the juicer several times a day every day?
4. Dry Skin Brushing Dry skin brushing is pretty much what it sounds like. Its using a natural bristle brush on dry skin in order to exfoliate and remove dead skin. Doing this aids in detoxing by stimulating the lymphatic system. It removes environmental toxins, pathogenic organisms and opens pores to release cell waste. It also aids in blood circulation. Dry skin brushing is pretty simple and easy. Start at the bottom of your feet and move the brush in gentle strokes towards the direction of your heart. Then move to the top of your feet, then all the way up the legs, thighs and buttocks. Continue the gentle, overlapping strokes towards the heart. Next, brush the palm of your hands and back of your hands, arms and shoulders. Then gently brush your abdomen, chest, and back in upward circular motions. The skin around these last areas may be more sensitive, so use gentler pressure while brushing there. You can find natural bristle brushes in the healthy living section of most grocery stores, drug stores, or online. I bought a set of three for about $18. I like it because it has a separate brush for my face, body, and feet (eww). Dry skin brushing can be done several times a week. Do not brush over wounds. If you have very thin skin, or other skin issues talk to your doc first. After brushing your skin you can use an all natural organic lotion or olive oil to condition the skin. Do not use harsh soaps, or products with chemicals, or fragrances as these will clog your pores and add more toxins back into your body.
5. Detox Baths This is my favorite way to detox! Soaking in warm water can encourage your body to pull out harmful toxins and heavy metals through the skin. The minerals in epsom salt also ease muscle and joint pain, improves nerve function, reduced inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces herx reactions. You can learn even more about herx reactions here, https://www.tiredoflyme.com/the-herxheimer-reaction.html. Before your bath, start with dry skin brushing. You don’t have to, but it further encourages the detox. Use warm to hot water. Hot enough to induce a sweating, but too hot may cause spirochete die off, which could cause a herx reaction. Mix in 2 to 4 cups of epsom salt and submerge as much of your body as possible. Soak and relax for 20-40 minutes. Rinse off with cool water to remove any toxins lingering on your skin. Avoid using harsh skin products. Again, chemicals, fragrances, dyes and other non-natural ingredients will add more toxins back into your body and clog your pores. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after your detox bath. Adding lemon and a tiny pinch of pink salt will help rehydrate your body quicker. Other ingredients to consider adding to your bath are, pink himalayan salt, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, bentonite clay, and essential oils. I always add essential oils and 1/2 cup of extra coarse pink salt to my soaks. Bentonite clay is awesome too, but it’s super messy! I’m usually not up for the clean up afterwards. If you have heart issues, or are pregnant or nursing please speak with your doctor before dunking yourself into warm/hot water.
6. Bentonite Clay Bentonite clay is a natural, absorbent, and fine clay occurring from volcanic ash. It can be used internally or topically. It can also be found in many natural oral and skin care products. When consumed, it can remove toxins from the body by acting as a binder to harmful toxins or materials. As it removes the harmful waste, it can restore balance, increase oxygen, circulation and blood flow. If ingesting, make sure it is of food grade. Because it is a binding agent, do not take medicines or supplements within 2-3 hours of consumption. You can also add bentonite clay to your warm bath and soak for 20-40 minutes. You’ll want to pre mix 1/4 cup of the clay in a bowl with warm water until well dissolved. Adding it directly to your bath does not end well! This method is also very messy, however it makes for a great detox soak. When bentonite clay is made into a past or mud mask and applied topically, it pulls and attracts toxins and bacteria from the skin. Simply mix the clay with warm water to make a paste. How much clay you will need will depend on how much body surface you plan to cover. 1 tbsp of clay should be enough to mask your face and neck, while a 1/2 cup should be enough to cover your entire body, give or take according to your size. This method is also a bit messy, but my favorite way to use bentonite clay. I like to apply the mud mask to my entire (avoiding my unmentionables) body and then soak in the tub for about 20 minutes. Then I rinse all the remaining clay off with cool water and rinse it down the drain.
7. Herbal Teas Herbal teas can enhance and support the detox process. They can cleanse the body acting as a laxative or diuretic, help boost the immune system and improve metabolism. There are so many herbs, flowers, and roots that are beneficial to the body’s health. Have fun trying as many different one as you want until you find your favorites. Some of my faves are rooibos, ginger, green tea, peppermint and chamomile. But, my all time favorite is roasted dandelion!
8. Infrared Sauna Infrared saunas use a dry heat instead of humidity like traditional saunas. The dry heat penetrates deep into muscle and tissue. As your body absorbs the infrared heat, your core body temperature increases causing a deep and relaxing sweat. Sweating allows toxins to be excreted from the skin. Many Lyme patients use infrared saunas in their regiment to alleviate symptoms. Below are a few advantages infrared saunas offer:
Allows the body to eliminate neurotoxins and environmental toxins
Reduces muscle and joint pain
Assists the immune system
Aids in facilitating detox from mold biotoxin illness
Increases mental clarity
Aids mind and body in relaxation
It is recommended to start slowly. Two 15 minutes sessions in the sauna your first week is ideal, until you feel comfortable. Then you can increase time and frequency. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after sauna usage! When shopping for an infrared sauna, there are, what seems like, a bazillion choices. Portable saunas start around $150, while stationary ones tend to start around $900. Do your research and definitely shop around! Look for the best low EMF sauna for your budget. I found my stationary sauna on Craigslist for free! I got super lucky. A nurse was moving and downsizing and it needed to go! Woo-hoo for me!
9. Oil Pulling Oil pulling is gently swishing coconut oil in your mouth. The oil pulls toxins and bacteria from the mucous membranes in your mouth. Coconut oil is extremely absorbent. Not only does it remove hundreds of different bacteria from your mouth, it reduces inflammation and helps whiten teeth. To oil pull, place about a tbsp of coconut oil in your mouth (you can use olive oil if you don’t like the taste of coconut) . Swish gently moving the oil through and around the mouth for 10-20 minutes. Be Careful not to swallow it so you don’t consume all the nasties you’re trying to get rid of! When finished, spit the oil into the garbage and brush your teeth to eliminate any remaining bacteria.
Fun Note: Do not spit the coconut oil into the sink or toilet, because it may cause clogging. Also, it’s just gross! I learned the hard way, and ignored the “spit it into the trash” advise, and EWW! Ya’ll, I’m not lying, the funk I was cleaning out of my bathroom sink was straight out of a sci-fi horror movie. Just don’t.
10. Enemas I saved this one for last for a reason. If you’re anything like me, you may be wondering, “why would I voluntarily give myself an enema?” Well, because enemas clean the liver, gallbladder, and colon. They remove toxins from your body, reduce fatigue, improve cognitive function, eliminate parasites, and candida, enhance celular generation and more. There are several different kinds of enemas, coffee enemas being the most popular for those with chronic illness. While many people swear by enemas, they do not sound fun to me. I, personally, will wait until utter desperation before I use this route for detoxing. But you do whatever floats your boat!
The information shared on this page is for informational purposes only, it is opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult your medical provider for medical advice and before starting any new treatment.
Sources: Dave Asprey https://blog.daveasprey.com/, Bullet Proof https://www.bulletproof.com, Medical News Todayhttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322609.php , Educate Lyme http://educatedlyme.com, Pro Health https://www.prohealth.com, Dr. Axe https://draxe.com, Banyan Botanicals https://www.banyanbotanicals.com, Stram Center for Integrative Medicine https://stramcenter.com, Madison Area Lyme Support Group https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com, Sauna Works https://infraredsauna.com, Good Health Saunas https://www.goodhealthsaunas.com, Myers Detox https://myersdetox.com, Pro health https://www.prohealth.com/library/lemon-juicy-immunity-boost-46021, Tired of Lyme https://www.tiredoflyme.com/the-herxheimer-reaction.html