April 2022: Herx Reactions April Showers Bring May Flowers
Spring showers are in full swing here in Middle Tennessee.
At Bluestem, we’ve recently had some client questions about herxheimer reactions, and we thought herxing can sometimes be like these April storms. They just keep coming. But just when it feels like there’s no end in sight, the clouds break into the late spring of May, as beautiful, sunny weather emerges.
A “herx” reaction is short for Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, named after the practitioners who originally observed these reactions in patients. Traditionally, a Herx reaction referred to a severe die-off reaction from the treatment of Lyme and other spirochetes (spiral-shaped bacteria).
Over time, the term “herx” has evolved in the holistic health community into a more widely used, general term, and it may be used to describe healing side effects that are not the result of antibiotic-treated spirochetes.
Another common general term for this occurrence is “healing detox reaction.” It’s probably easiest to think of as an adjustment period, in which sometimes symptoms may get worse before they get better.
Healing reactions may be a factor for some of our clients, since ozone kills bacteria.
The potential of experiencing negative healing side effects understandably makes many people wary of committing to any healing plan. At the studio, we minimize the likelihood of negative reactions. In fact, most clients experience no reaction at all! All of our services are customizable and inherently gentle, and we have a few standard practices in place to keep you feeling your best.
First, you may notice when you book a sauna appointment that we may seemingly overbearingly recommend drinking half body weight in ounces of water. This is a crucial step in minimizing potential negative side effects. During a HOCATT session, many physiological functions occur, including ramping up your immune system and destroying bacteria and viruses. Therefore, adequate hydration is imperative to keeping things moving along.
Second, the lengthy, intrusive paperwork at the beginning of your first visit checks for any contraindications or additional considerations.
Third, we maintain certain sauna settings to ensure a pleasant experience.
All new clients begin their 30 minute HOCATT sessions with the ozone concentration at 50 percent. Every other visit, the ozone concentration increases 10 percentage points until you reach 100 percent ozone concentration.
Naturally, an initial reaction might be to want your ozone concentration at 100 percent from the start! We get it. You want the maximum benefits! But there are a couple important factors that set the HOCATT apart from other sauna experiences you might be familiar with.
One important thing to remember is that the first three minutes of each HOCATT session is the release of carbonic acid into the chamber. This increases your blood flow and prepares your body to absorb the maximum amount of ozone. Standard saunas don’t contain this modality.
Similarly, this is why the HOCATT temperature is kept lower than most infrared saunas. Some clients are surprised to see the chamber temperature hovers around 106 degrees Fahrenheit, when many infrared sauna temperatures may be between 120 and 145 degrees. The HOCATT contains far infrared, but unlike a standard infrared sauna, the absorption of carbonic acid and ozone raises your heart rate and makes you feel hotter.
The result is that, as you increase the ozone concentration, you may start to feel hotter than you did at lower concentrations, especially toward the last 10 minutes of your session. The acclimation period of working incrementally from 50% to 100% is very important– too much too fast, and you’d likely feel overwhelmed.
Following the recommended schedule of two sessions per week, you’ll reach 100% in no time! And the process will be enjoyable along the way, a perfect balance between intensity and relaxation.
Finally, the HOCATT isn’t the only service that offers benefits with little trade-off. Every HUGO session is tailored to your body’s immediate response to the PEMF. The Ballancer is gentle and adjusted for your specific goals. The AllCore pushes you to be stronger, but not so much that you risk injury.
We love that reactions don’t occur with our services in the same way as side effects to a medication or other detox protocols. Our clients typically feel great following a HOCATT session. Most report improved energy and a sense of calmness. If healing detox reactions do occur, the most common one is feeling tired, and many clients report great sleep the night after a sauna! The second most common reaction is a headache, which is usually from not being properly hydrated.
If you do experience a healing detox reaction, luckily, we have the other half of that phrase to look forward to:
April showers bring May flowers.
If you experience any healing detox reactions, go slow, talk with your practitioner, and trust that your body knows what it's doing. We can adjust your sessions to your needs. And remember it’s temporary: May flowers are on the way. Another well-suited phrase might be, It’s always darkest before the dawn.
And at Bluestem, It’s Wellness Made Simple– services that gently promote healing processes, with little or minimal recovery time. Stay tuned for a future blog where we talk further about herxing and the practices some clients use as further insulation from reactions. Finally, if you have any questions, or if you’re worried about how herxing might impact your sauna experience, don’t forget, we offer free consultations to answer all your questions.
Bluestem Wellness Nashville Disclaimer:
Bluestem Wellness Nashville does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or condition. If you are unsure of how our services relate to your condition, we recommend consulting your doctor prior to your first session. As always, we encourage clients to explore information, but we are happy to empower you with resources. To speak to one of our specialists in a safe and private space about your health concerns, schedule a FREE, NO OBLIGATION, CONSULTATION. In the consultation, we will answer your questions and create a customized plan for your healing journey.