The Herxheimer Reaction - Feeling worse before feeling better

The Herxheimer Reaction is a short-term (from days to a few weeks) detoxification reaction in the body.


As the body detoxifies, it is not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms including headache, joint and muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, general malaise, sweating, chills, nausea or other symptoms.  Occassionally patients will experience rashes or pimples across parts of their body.


This is a normal — and even healthy — reaction that indicates that parasites, fungus, viruses, bacteria or other pathogens are being effectively killed off. The biggest problem with the Herxheimer reaction is that people stop taking the therapy that is causing the reaction, and thus discontinue the very treatment that is helping to make them better. Although the experience may not make you feel particularly good, the Herxheimer Reaction is actually a sign that healing is taking place.


What Is The Herxheimer Reaction?

The Herxheimer Reaction is an immune system reaction to the toxins (endotoxins) that are released when large amounts of pathogens are being killed off, and the body does not eliminate the toxins quickly enough. Simply stated, it is a reaction that occurs when the body is detoxifying and the released toxins either exacerbate the symptoms being treated or create their own symptoms. The important thing to note is that worsening symptoms do not indicate failure of the treatment in question; in fact, usually just the opposite.  

It is also often referred to as a healing crisis, a detox reaction, or die-off syndrome.  


Ozone Therapy & The Herxheimer Reaction

Herxheimer reactions in response to Ozone Therapy can occur as the body adjusts to the die-off process and responds to the increased load on the lymphatic system – particularly in cases of systemic and chronic conditions and/or severe infections.


The most common Herxheimer reactions are:

  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Itch and rashes
  • Flushes


Usually, the reaction lasts a few hours. In more severe cases, reactions can last a week or more.

In most cases, the reaction tends to be mild and barely noticeable, but there are exceptions, particularly in cases of severe infection.


Herx reactions vary widely, depending on many factors, including the general health of the individual, the condition being treated, the degree of toxicity that exists in the body, and the support the body is provided in eliminating the toxins as rapidly as possible.


Although this article focuses on the Herxheimer reaction, please keep in mind that not all users of Ozone Therapy will experience a Herx reaction. However, it is important to be aware of the possibility and to understand that it is a symptom of healing, We encourage patients who do experience it not to become discouraged if symptoms temporarily worsen and/or discontinue Ozone Therapy Treatment.


We would also like to clarify that Ozone Therapy itself does not cause a Herxheimer reaction.  A healthy individual using this therapy for purely detoxification and general well-being uses will not react.  However, if there is an infection in the body, a Herxheimer reaction may result as the infection is killed off through the oxidization process of the ozone therapy.


What To Do In The Event of a Herxheimer Reaction

If the reaction is mild enough that it can be borne without grave discomfort, the best approach is to continue treatment and assist the body in eliminating the toxins as quickly and as thoroughly as possible by the methods below.

If the reaction is too severe, cutting back on the dosage or frequency of use can be very helpful in lessening symptoms but allowing the healing process to continue. Your Ozone Practitioner will advise you on the best course of treatment to see you through the Herxheimer Reaction.

We also suggest :
- drinking plenty of purified water (8 to 12 glasses per day)
- minimising exercise while going through the detoxification process
- cutting out sugar, alcohol, gluten and dairy products during this time
- limiting intake of vitamins and supplements whilst detoxing.



The most important advice if you experience the Herxheimer reaction is to “bear with the process”. The reaction is usually over within a few days and is well worth the cleansing and healing results. Plus, it is a sure sign that the Ozone Therapy is doing its job and working to help restore your body to natural health!