During my entire treatment period, (and still now, although to a lot lesser degree) I made sure to detoxify my body regularly. The reason for this is that as you are killing off the bacteria, toxins are created. The dying of bacteria will often make your symptoms worse - called a herxheimer. Not all patients will experience a Herx reaction, it depends on things such as the level of infection and the method of treatment that you are undergoing. "The Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction is a reaction to endotoxin-like products released by the death of harmful microorganisms within the body during antibiotic treatment." (wikipedia). Basically, the dying or dead bacteria dumps a bunch of toxins into your bloodstream at a rate quicker than you are able to eliminate naturally. If you do not remove the toxins, they will reabsorb into your bloodstream, reversing some of the good that you are doing through treatment. Most Lyme patients have trouble with naturally eliminating toxins, making it very important to use regular detox methods. I could tell when I was particularly toxic, because my pain levels would increase. Here are some of the methods I used to detoxify my body during treatment:
Epsom salt and Hydrogen Peroxide Bath = Disolve 1 cup of Epsom salts, and about 2 cups of Hydrogen Peroxide into a steaming bath. Soak for about 20 mins. Any longer will risk re-absorption of the toxins, as well as exhaust your body while it is already in a weak state. Water should be hot enough to cause you to sweat. The hydrogen peroxide will help with detoxification, the epsom salts are a source of magnesium, which will help with muscle cramping and pain. Most Lyme patients are deficient in magnesium, as the Lyme bacteria strips our bodies of magnesium. I took an Epsom salt and Hydrogen Peroxide bath on alternate days than I used the infrared sauna.
Infrared Sauna or public sauna = Infrared Saunas are particularly effective at raising your core temperature in a very short while compared to public steam saunas, Sweating out the toxins is a very effective way to eliminate them. Be sure to drink a lot of water with added mineral drops in it to support your body during this detox. Stay in the sauna for 10 minutes after you begin to sweat. Wipe the sweat off of your body with a towel as soon as it forms, to prevent re-absorption of toxins. You can turn the sauna off once you begin to sweat, and the sweat will pour from your body. I always had the sauna set at about 45 degrees Celsius, but you should set it at a temperature that is comfortable for you and causes you to sweat without draining your energy. Shower immediately after you exit the sauna. When purchasing an infrared sauna (I found mine second-hand on kijiji.ca), be sure to buy one that is made without the use of toxic wood finishes, as sitting in an environment where you are breathing in toxic fumes defeats the purpose of using the sauna for detox.
My infrared sauna
Oil Pulling = Very cheap and easy method of detox. I prefer to use coconut oil as it has a more bearable flavour but you can also use oils such as grape seed or cold-pressed virgin olive oil. Put 1 tablespoon of oil into your mouth. If coconut oil, chew until it becomes a liquid. Then swish or pull the oil between your teeth. You can work your way up to 15 minutes of oil pulling, beginning at 5 minutes each day. Begin oil pulling immediately upon awakening in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. After 15 minutes, spit the oil into your toilet (not the sink as it will be full of toxins from in your mouth) and rinse your mouth with warm (salty if you like) water. Brush your teeth with only warm water to get rid of the extra oil on your teeth and tongue. Oil pulling has the added benefit of whitening your teeth - which is especially helpful because of the mineral deposits that can make your teeth black during antibiotic treatment!
Lemon Water = Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into your water as often as you are able to during the day. And drink as much water daily as you can handle! Avoid drinks that strip your body of hydration, such as caffeine and alcohol.
Glutathione = Our bodies naturally produce glutathione which aides in the elimination of toxins. It is effective to take it during treatment but needs to be in a lipsomal or intravenous form for it to work properly. I took glutathione intravenously every day before running through my IV antibiotics. Ideally, you would take glutathione at least three times per week.
Ozone Therapy = Ozone is a pure oxygen therapy. There are several forms of ozone therapy, oral, intravenous and rectal. I used a hyperbaric oxygen chamber daily for the first 6 months of my treatment. It was helpful as it saturated my muscles with oxygen, and re-energized me. The most effective form for maximum absorption is the rectal form of ozone therapy. You should be able to get ozone therapy at your local naturopath. I found I received a huge energy boost from rectal ozone therapy and it was a helpful tool in propelling me towards healing.
Activated Charcoal = Activated charcoal binds to toxins as it travels through your digestive system and thus eliminates them from your body. It must be taken at least 4 hours away from other medications, as it will also bind to them and render them ineffective. During heavy treatment I took between 5-7 activated charcoal when I awoke in the middle of each night. Unfortunately, in many people, activated charcoal use will lead to constipation. I found the opposite was true for me so I found activated charcoal a helpful aide in detoxification.
Herbals = The herbals I took to assist me in removing toxins included Parsley and Burbur by Nutramedix. As with many other forms of detox, you should slowly work up from 1 drop under your tongue 2X daily (between meals and medications) to 10 drops, so as not to shock your body by detoxing too quickly. I also used a herbal detox called Mandipur and took it on alternate days to the Parsley and Burbur. Your body can become accustomed to one method of detoxing and it will become less effective, so it is important to switch them up.
Eat a Clean Diet = Try to buy organic produce as much as possible, especially avoiding those from the 'dirty dozen' list of foods with a high amount of chemical residue. If possible, also buy organic grass-fed meats during treatment to lower your toxin load and make treatment easier on your stressed immune system.
Dirty dozen list: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php
Clean 15 list: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php
Essential Oils = I do not know much about essential oils, as I have yet to try them but I am aware of their ability to be used for detoxification as well. It is important to choose an essential oil company that only produces the purest quality of oils.