If you’ve ever heard someone say, “I’m doing a detox” or “I’m on a detox protocol,” you may wonder, what does that feel like? Perhaps you’ve seen people downing an entire glass, or better yet, mason jar of green liquid sludge for lunch. Or maybe you’ve been brave enough to try a shot of wheatgrass on a dare.

Detoxing can be done by a number of methods. Baths in epsom salts or ginger, eating blended raw green vegetables, herbs, saunas, and exercise can all assist the detoxification process. Most of the time you’ll probably hear about these things helping you to feel better. But can they make you feel worse? They do certainly help to make the body feel better eventually, but unless the process is moderate, detox can be immensely painful. After I chose to treat my chronic Lyme naturally, I decided to continue searching for ways to eliminate toxins from my body.

You might wonder why I continue to pursue detoxification when I should be able to detox for a period and then be free and clear. The process of killing bacteria in your body can flood your system with toxic, dead organisms. With persistent bacterial infections, particularly Lyme bacteria, which love to change forms and hide in tissues, that toxic die-off is in a constant cycle. I sometimes picture walking through a battlefield with millions of dead soldiers scattered all across the landscape left over from a massive war the day before. Detoxification is like the clean up, so your internal landscape can once again be clean and flourish with life. Similar to battle, it’s the casualties that hurt.

Recently I’ve been feeling effects of my detoxing more than the past. To be blatantly honest–it feels awful! As the day nears nightfall I usually feel heavy and fatigued. I try so hard to avoid movements like turning my head or twisting my torso because my muscles ache. My skin aches and is sensitive to the touch. The aches are so deep I can feel them in my bones. Getting up from sitting feels like my upper body weighs 900 pounds and my legs beneath my knees are hesitant to move for fear of being crushed under the pressure. My entire body feels the need to stretch, but moving only causes a sense that my limbs will tear from their joints. I wake up at night sweating as my body tries to crank up the heat and move toxins out through my skin. Each morning I get up early because the aggravation near my liver and kidneys is too painful while laying in bed. If you’ve ever gone for a month of not exercising and then did a gruesome 2-hour workout, you know the feeling of soreness you get a day or two later. When your body is laced with millions of toxins and dead pathogens it feels like that muscle soreness through your entire body is multiplied by 10.

So what have I learned from all this? Detoxing should be carefully planned and it’s best to proceed slowly in small doses, no matter which method you choose. It also helps to choose one method at a time. My most painful experiences have occurred while zapping with electromagnetic frequencies, drinking green smoothies, taking multiple herbal tinctures, and exercising. I constantly strive to find ways to kill spirochetes or harmful bacteria but I also catch myself realizing that the body needs time expel all those unwanted organisms and chemicals. If I can remember to be patient, I might feel a little better.