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What is a Detox Reaction?

By Jodi Cohen

A thoughtful woman resting her chin on her hand, looking down with a contemplative or possibly fatigued expression.

Nutrients, supplements and healing remedies like essential oils can all provoke a detox reaction, also called a healing reaction.  If a remedy makes you feel worse, it is understandable that you would assume the remedy isn’t working.

But the opposite may actually be true.  You may recall that healing processes like regeneration, immune function, digestion and detoxification are all activated by the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. These processes all require energy and vitality.  When you are stressed and fatigued, these processes slow down dramatically.


Parasympathetic Activates Detoxification

If you are stuck in chronic Survival Mode, your sympathetic nervous system down-regulates detoxification immune function. This allows toxins and pathogens to accumulate.

When you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, you turn on your detoxification and immune function.  The parasympathetic nervous system allocates energy away from survival and toward healing.  This allows your healing processes, like detoxification, to speed up.

Activating the parasympathetic state with Parasympathetic® gives your body the bandwidth and energy to turn on the immune system and eliminate accumulated toxins. Toxins can finally be excreted, food can be digested, and the immune system can fight pathogenic invaders.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction

As your immune system turns on and more toxins are mobilized, you may experience an increase in symptom intensity due to greater release of toxins, including:

  • Headache — When detoxification is enhanced, you can sometimes feel the effects of these mobilized toxins as a headache, especially neck congestion prevents these newly mobilized toxins from exiting the brain.  If these toxins recirculate in the brain, it can trigger inflammation and pain that you may experience as a headache.
  • Nausea — If digestion has been compromised, bile in the gallbladder can become congested and loaded with toxins. Nausea may occur when this toxic bile begins to move out of the system.
  • Fatigue — When you have been stuck in the Sympathetic state of the nervous system, known as “Survival Mode,” your body is flooded with stimulating stress hormones. When you shift into parasympathetic, your body can finally breathe a sign of relief and feels the underlying fatigue. It is only in parasympathetic state that you can fully feel your body, and this includes feeling fatigue if you’ve burned yourself out.
  • Muscle Weakness –Released toxins flood through your musculature contributing to muscle weakness.
  • Cold symptoms — Improving your parasympathetic tone means supporting your immune system. A depressed immune system is unable to fight off pathogenic invaders. So when you shift into parasympathetic state, your body recognizes these invaders and fights them off.
  • Inflammatory Flare-ups – As toxins work their way out of your body, they must travel through your blood, tissues and joints on their way out.  As they travel through your body they can irritate tissues triggering inflammatory flare-ups like achy joints, puffy fingers or other physical pain.
  • Skin Issues – Congestion in the detoxification pathways – like the liver, gall bladder and gut – can force toxins out through your skin, presenting as breakouts, rashes, Hives or other skin related issues.

Other possible less common detox reactions are cold feet and hands, fuzzy teeth or tongue, mood swings (especially anger or sadness), mucus in the nose or the back of the throat, blurry vision, sleeplessness or over-sleeping, and heightened sense of taste or smell.


If You Have a Detox Reaction to Parasympathetic

If use of the Parasympathetic® blend triggers any of the symptoms mentioned above, do not panic.  If your body is responding in this way, it usually means that the blend is actually working effectively.

That said, we do not want you to experience any discomfort and want to arm you with strategies to ensure that your healing experience is as pleasant as possible.  If you experience a negative reaction to Parasympathetic® or any of our essential oil blends, we encourage you to follow the steps below:

  1. If you are having a detox reaction, pause the usage of oils and shift focus to supporting detoxification pathways.  Supporting your detoxification pathways can reduce detox reactions by enhancing your body’s ability to eliminate toxins.  This includes supporting the lymph flow, the liver and gall bladder.  Also consider applying castor oil over the liver and gall bladder before bed to support healthy liver and gall bladder function.
  2. Consider adding binders to your regime before bed.  Binders are solid, insoluble particles, like charcoal and clay, which pass through the gut unabsorbed. Binders can attract and bind to toxins to ensure that the toxins actually leave your body.  They work by attracting or trapping toxins, and transporting them out of the body.  You can learn more about binders in this guide. Epsom salt detox baths are also an amazing way to pull toxins out of the body.  You can learn more about Epsom salt baths in this Guide.
  3. After adding in binders and other support for your drainage pathways – including essential oils for your lymphatic system, liver or gall bladder and binders – slowly begin re-introducing Parasympathetic® blend, without our other oil blends, one to two times daily.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.