Feb 22, 2015

Herxes, Flares and the Healing Crisis

Living with a chronic Lyme disease infection can be extremely painful and life altering.  Fatigue overtakes you leaving your mind in a fog and your body so heavy you can barely roll over in bed.  I have never slept as deeply or as much as I have during my illness with chronic Lyme.  I'm not sure I could ever explain it.  I've had four children and I can tell you the fatigue a new mom experiences is mild compared to the fatigue that overtakes you when you have chronic Lyme.

I've found through the years that each person affected by chronic Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have many symptoms in common but to varying degrees.  Some are completely bedridden, some requiring hospitalization while others can push through continuing to work and maintaining their busy lifestyles.  This is determined much by the person's immune system, how long the person has had the infections, what co-infections they have and which treatments they have received.

Once a person has begun treatment for tick-borne infections they will experience an increased in symptoms commonly called a Herx or Jarish-Herxheimer reaction.  This is believed to be a result of
dead bacteria releasing their endotoxins into the bloodstream and into the body's tissues which would typically eliminate the toxins.  This occurs much faster then the body can handle leaving the toxins in the body and producing an inflammation response, therefore an increase in symptoms occur.

Sometimes an infected person who doesn't realize they are might go on antibiotics for another infection like a sinus infection and they won't understand why they begin to have increased pain and even symptoms they may not have had before.

Although Herxing is commonly referred to when speaking of Lyme, it is not Lyme specific, it's seen with many other diseases, bacterial & parasitic infections and even with a candida (fungal) infection.

Most will call their increased symptoms a flare which could be considered part of a herx but typically a flare happens as an inflammatory response to the life-cycle of the infection.  It could even happen when the infected person is eating inflammatory foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates or are a part of the nightshade family of foods like tomatoes or eggplant.

A Healing Crisis is the term used during more natural treatments including homeopathic remedies.  We're newer to this terminology since we've only recently changed from antibiotic therapy to homeopathic.  A healing crisis is basically the same thing as a Herx where the toxins are released much faster then the body can handle but it was also explained to me that during a healing crisis your body is learning to respond to the infection in order for it to heal.
I think the term "healing crisis" sounds more positive don't you?  It reminds us that our body is healing, that we need to slow down and care for ourselves.

Regardless of what we call it, the increased symptoms are an alarm system which tells us to stop what we're doing and pay attention.  During this time we will need to get plenty of rest, drink clean water maybe including a squeezed lemon to help with the detoxification process and eat healthy nutritious foods.  There are many things that can be done to minimize this time of increased pain and fatigue.

Our family, especially my children, find it helpful to take Epsom salt baths mixed with pure essentials oils from Young Living, our favorite for this purpose is lavender.  The lavender is very calming, the Epsom salts provide magnesium that our bodies need and they help to draw toxins from the body leaving us more relaxed and hopefully reducing symptoms.  

Drinking plenty of water during this time is incredibly important so that the body doesn't become dehydrated but also to help clear the toxins from the digestive track, the liver and other detoxification pathways.

We've also found that using Burbur and Sarsasparilla tinctures can help in as quickly as 5 or 10 minutes.  Sometimes it's been necessary to use this combination every hour depending upon the severity of our symptoms.
Over the past 5 years we've incorporated the use Young Living essential oils into our daily routine.  I have come to love these oils because I know they are pure and safe for my family.  The company not only manufactures the oils themselves but they also grow their own herbs and plants in their indigenous countries.  They're not just a bottling company but are involved from seed to seal.

I feel confident that these oils are helping us in our journey toward healing and I have experienced firsthand how they work to alleviate pain and help with detoxing.  We have used them to boost our immune system when we've been exposed to viral or bacterial infections and I even use them to clean my home while avoiding toxic chemicals.

If you're interested in learning more or purchasing Young Living Oils, I'd love to help you.  Take a look at their products by going to the Young Living website.  You can use my Distributor number #1206972 when ordering.  If you'd like to discuss the use of oils feel free to leave a comment or email me.

If you find that your efforts to detoxify are not working and your symptoms are more than you can handle, it is very important to contact your doctor right away.  Symptoms can become severe enough to need immediate medical attention.

Whether you're having a Herx, a Flare or a Healing Crisis, take good care of yourself.  Slow down and listen your body.  Learn ways that you can alleviate your symptoms.  Nutritious food, healthy water and detoxification are the keys to feeling better more quickly.


  1. I can't handle lavender. Is there a second choice?

    1. Absolutely Copygirl, you can use just about any of your favorite oils as long as they're not a "hot" oil like lemongrass (I learned the hard way on that one :) ouch) My new favorites are Purification and Stress Away, perfect for detoxing purposes and relaxation. Hope that helps.


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