The Honeymoon Theory of Detoxification
Q: It seems that whenever I do something in an attempt to be healthier, at some point into the program I begin to feel really terrible and then I quit and this doesn't seem to make sense. I'm really frustrated. Can you explain this?
A: Yes, let's take a look at this phenomenon. From what I've observed in treating patients since 1983, when a person starts making changes to improve their health, there appears to be different phases that the body goes through.
There are many physical things that can contribute to an upswing in one's health. For example, decreasing the level of toxins that one takes into the body can be very beneficial. Quitting smoking, switching to natural pest control products, and changing cookware to a non-aluminum type are examples of this.
Another category is improving the quality of food one eats. If your diet has primarily been pre-packaged, microwaved, and/or fast foods, changing to one of fresh, organic vegetables, grains, and non-fried fish and poultry can make a big difference.
Also, taking up any type of exercise program after many weeks, months or years of a more sedentary lifestyle can make a big difference in the body's ability to function better.
Another area is taking supplements. If one begins taking high quality, needed nutrients that have been lacking in the diet, sometimes for many years, it can really kick in improved function of the organs and glands.
As well, receiving effective hands-on treatments such as chiropractic, massage, and acupressure/acupuncture assists the body in removing interference to proper function of the nerve, lymph, organ and gland systems.
Doing one, some, or all of the above lifestyle improvements creates a positive change in the ability of the body to function. As this continues, at some point the person is aware of feeling better. This can occur almost immediately, or it can take weeks to months to notice. They may have more energy, feel perkier upon waking, and notice that certain areas of previous pain and discomfort feel better.
This is all very good in most people's opinions and I agree. This is what I call the "honeymoon" phase. For some people, as in some marriages, this phase lasts a long time and for others it is relatively short.
At some point, as one continues the beneficial lifestyle changes and treatment(s), the body is then functioning well enough to begin to spontaneously "clean out" previously ingested, inhaled, and/or produced toxins.
This phase of improvement is called detoxification, and is also a very good thing. However, as it can be accompanied by symptoms such as lung and sinus congestion, sore throat, aching in the areas that are detoxifying, and changes in the bowels to only name a few, it can appear that one is no longer physically doing well.
This is only an apparency as the presence of symptoms DOES NOT always equal illness or infection. At this point, if you are unsure as to whether you are ill or improving, it is important that you be tested by a trained and competent health practitioner that can determine exactly what is going on.
If it is determined that your body is detoxifying this is a time to celebrate! The "honeymoon" may be over but your body is now functioning well enough to start taking care of "old business" and is fully on its way to restored health.
The level at which one is comfortable with this detox process varies from person to person. This can be controlled to a degree, and more information is available on how to do this from my office. With some (sometimes a lot) tweaking of your lifestyle changes it is possible to find the fine line where the body is doing well enough to detoxify mildly, but not so much that there are heavy symptoms that can interfere with your life activities. For most people this is the ideal scene.
I have seen this process of honeymoon/detox occur many times throughout one's health improvement program. After an initial stage of detox you can reach an apparent plateau. At this point, you know your body is doing a lot better than when you began, but it seems to be "stuck" in its progress.
If you continue with all of your lifestyle improvements and maybe incorporate more, the body will then continue to improve its function even more and will get to another level of ability to detoxify. Again you will need to jockey the factors around so that this process is at a workable gradient for you.
Your desire to be healthier is a very good one. Hopefully, now that you are armed with more understanding of what your body is going through along the way, it will be easier for you to continue with your chosen program in a workable manner.
I wish you well on your venture!