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Lyme disease symptoms: Is herxing necessary?

Lyme disease symptoms are also referred to as Herxheimer reactions or herxing. Would you herx if you discovered you didn't need to? This is a question that Jean Reist, R.N., asks her patients to take to heart. Jean, who has treated hundreds of Lyme sufferers through her PA clinic, Journey to Wellness, has discovered that when Lyme patients tend to proper lymph system drainage they don't experience the stress of a herx. Jean discusses her findings in an audio interview as part of the Interviews with Experts series on the LDRD.

Herxheimer reactions, the healing crisis experienced by Lyme sufferers as a result of a die-off of Lyme bacteria, are a major source of stress for Lyme patients. Simply put, the more effective the medicine in killing the spirochetes, the greater the herx. Killing Lyme bacteria is a curious business. Agonizing pain and the recurrence of symptoms is often used as a measure for the dosage. In general the rule is: If you're herxing to a great degree, back off on the medicine. If you're not herxing at all, you may not be taking a high enough dosage. Each patient will react differently to treatment, and with a wide variety of alternative treatments available, it may take some time and experimentation before you find the right dosage.

Proper lymph drainage can facilitate the healing of Lyme disease and help reduce or even eliminate Lyme disease symptoms altogether. At the first sign of a herx, Reist advises, drink copious amounts of water, exercise, and reach for a detoxifying tonic herb such as Burbur or Parsley. Each organ in the body has a lymph "neck," which is where blockage can occur. Therefore, it's very helpful for the patient to work with a health care practitioner who can help you locate the blockage. The next step is to work on unblocking, which can be achieved in a number of ways, Reist says.

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