One of the reasons I started this cleanse was to deal with hand eczema that’s been bothering me for over a year. When I was a kid, I had rashes a lot. The doctors said I’d grow out of it as a teen; I did. (Looking back on it, my mom thinks it was food allergies and sensitivities. But no one talked about those issues when I was growing up in the 1980s.)
After living most of my adult life with essentially no flare-ups, it came back last year just as I was finishing up a three-week cleanse. First my feet, then my hands. I was so confused. And PISSED OFF. Hadn’t I just done something great for my body? Frustrated and depressed, I’m pretty sure I went straight to a bakery and a bar. So I tossed aside all the good work I’d done and delved right back into the allergenic foods with full force, not taking the time to do it mindfully or to observe what my body was trying to tell me.
Fast forward to our cleanse together, and I’m having a similar experience: in the first few days, my hands cleared and it was amazing. Toward the end of week one, they started acting up, and around day 10 they got really bad. I’ve spent a lot of this week feeling frustrated and depressed again, wondering what I’m doing wrong. Blaming instead of listening. And even sadness crept up.
Yesterday I reached out to a few people and kept getting the same message: let it play out. Observe. Stay calm. Restore. Alex had some great advice on some restorative things to do, along with sticking to the cleanse until it disappears. And my chiropractor reminded me today the body takes time to heal; I’ve been seeing him for five months, and finally, my hips released. (I’m pretty sure the deep cleanse achiness played a role in allowing me to let this tension go. Hallelujah.)
I’ve been reading about ‘healing crisis’ and what that is: when a large amount of toxins are released in your body, your organs can’t keep up so things can get worse before they get better. There are many symptoms, but I encountered a lot of eczema sufferers online who report this pattern. So rather than a sign of defeat, this is actually an important sign of the healing journey. Are any of you experiencing signs of a healing crisis?
So today, I’m trying to embrace the symptoms rather than judge. Be gentle rather than angry. Go with the flow rather that control. Stick with the plan rather than jump ship. It’s feeling like a big, important lesson, and I’m grateful.
Love from Asheville,
I am a freelance journalist and editor. I've been a writer for over 10 years, and my work has appeared in The NY Times, Wall Street Journal and many high-profile glossy travel magazines. My emphasis has been travel, arts, and culture, and I have always had a passion for clean eating and living. I lived in Southeast Asia for 10 years before moving to Asheville last year. I am a mom of 2 boys, Auggie (5 and Leo (2). Follow me for 21 Days on the Earthie Mama's Super Cleanse.