Making sense of detoxification and healing in TSW


I believe TSW is part of a detoxification and healing process and I would like to explain why here.

First of all, what is detox and why do we need to detox?
“Detoxification is what [our] body does naturally to neutralize, transform or get rid of unwanted materials or toxins. It is a primary function of the body, constantly working and interacting with all other functions of the body.[I]t is about improving and optimizing the function of [our] body’s own detoxification systems. This is done by decreasing the amount of toxins we put into our bodies while at the same time supporting our body’s detoxification and elimination systems with the nutrients it needs to function properly” (Lipman, 2007).
We are exposed to toxins every day of our life through the air we breathe, chemicals exposed to our skin and food we ingest. Stress we experience is also toxic to our body (Berzin, 2014) if we do not find healthy ways to release it. So what detoxification really means is getting rid of those toxins so the body could function normally again. We need to understand that our body is constantly detoxing. because our body is always in a state of detox. Whether we eat the the cleanest raw vegan diet, or live on junk food and beer daily, our body never stops detoxification. As long as we have a functioning liver, kidney and colon, our body is removing toxins (Russell, 2014). However in TSW, our liver and kidney is seriously damaged by those steroids. Below shows a diagram of the process of detoxification and elimination through our body

[Photo source:]

So what does detoxification do to our body?
When we detox whether through dietary changes, exercising, herbal supplements, therapeutic massage, colon cleansing or whatever, we may find that our health appears to be worse than prior to making all those changes to our body! To understand why this happens, we need to look at what the body is doing internally. We are making a (good) change to our body and it will take awhile for body to get used to. According to the Linda Paterson, Gut Associated Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) practitioner, if we are detoxing through dietary changes for instance, our “body starts to identify the lower grade materials and tissues and rids of them in order to make room for the superior ones derived from the higher grade food coming into the body to renew healthier tissues. During this process, the body goes through a process of ‘retracing’ which presents with a variety of different symptoms that people associate with feeling unwell or worse than they were before they had started.  The new improved diet forces the body to deal with accumulated toxins stored in the tissues of our body by excreting them through the skin, bile and urine (Paterson, 2014).

When these toxins are eliminated from our body, depending on the amount of toxins stored in our body, they produce a “die-off” or “detox” effect which may come in the forms of “headaches, fever, cold/flu, skin eruptions, either constipation or diarrhoea, lethargy, depression, irritability, frequent urination, vomiting, leg cramps and tummy pain” (Paterson, 2014). TSW warriors/sufferers are in the process of toxin elimination via the skin mainly, but other symptoms like fever, lethargy, depression etc are also apparent in the steroid withdrawal phase.

There appears to be three stages of detoxification and healing according to a healed TSW warrior, Donia from Eczema Natural Healing:
(1). Elimination of toxins: This is the discarding of toxins stored throughout the tissues of the body. These are eliminated once a good diet provides the minerals and organic nutrients to cells to generate enough energy to carry toxins out of the body via the elimination processes. Toxins are eliminated through various channels, the normal channels with their signs of elimination are: Lungs (breathed out - may manifest as bad breath, coughing); Skin (a worsening of the eczema condition); Liver/bowel (dark, foul smelling stools); Kidneys (dark, strong smelling urine)” (Eczema Natural Healing, 2005).
When we have eczema, the normal channels of elimination - the kidney and liver have been overtaxed so the body finds an alternate route for eliminating the toxins via the skin. Therefore, when we start improving your diet and/or other forms of detox, the body needs to heal the overtaxed and congested detoxification organs (kidney and liver) first before the skin starts repairing. As a result our eczema will get worse from the cleansing that takes place in the liver and kidney through the detoxification remedies we use (Eczema Natural Healing, 2005).

This stage was my first 6 months of TSW I believe (I did not make dietary changes back then, was just on vegan diet, but I did take traditional Chinese medical concoctions daily back then to push out toxins in the body). The first three months was bed-ridden mostly, aside from getting up to look after my babies, I was in bed all the time. I was constantly oozing, I had to wrap a towel around my neck to sleep. I oozed all over my sheets and sweated every night. I was feverish and felt chills most of the time. I was tired all time. I started losing hair.
“(2) Breakdown and removal of diseased cells: Cells which are diseased from "toxin abuse" are broken down by the body and removed. The breaking down of the diseased cells is carried out mainly by white blood cells. If any of the raw materials of the cell can be salvaged and reused they are put into circulation; the rest is eliminated from the body. This process is important to a natural eczema healing” (Eczema Natural Healing, 2005).
At this stage, I believe it was from month-3 onwards. This is also the shedding of my skin stage that seems never ending when oozing has just finished its job! I shedded skin like crazy and vacuumed my room several times a day. I ate like a pig, I remember eating 4 -5 big bowls of rice with veges, legumes and soy protein products a day (being vegetarian back then). I lost most of my pregnancy weight through water fasting during the first month of TSW, but even when I ate like a pig afterwards, I didn’t gain a pound. I think it’s because my body needed all that food as energy for healing.
“(3) Rebuilding of tissues: When diseased cells are eliminated, the body will replace them with new healthy cells. Though this phase begins with the above two phases, the majority of this activity takes place after the body is well on its way to being "detoxified" and "diseased tissue" free. Prior to this final major rebuilding phase, the body will replace diseased tissues one generation at a time, each generation of cells will be a little healthier than its predecessors, because a cell can only be as healthy, as its environment is detoxified. Thus, there is no instant relief in natural healing. The natural healing of eczema takes time” (Eczema Natural Healing, 2005).
I believe I am still at this stage, which started from six months onwards. I started to see healing skin on my arms, neck, chest, legs, and parts of my face. I still shed skin but not as much that I need to vacuum daily. Remember we have 7 layers of skin to shed and it may take up to 12 weeks to repair ONE layer depending on the dose and strength of steroids we have used (EczemaExcellence, 2013; WebMD Medical Reference, 2014). I started to gain some weight back from this phase. I started to see some hair growing back.

Surviving through the painful detox symptoms
When we experience these “die-off/detox” symptoms or what the most apparent in symptom for TSW warriors - ‘a flare’, it is almost unbearable along with all those other detox symptoms and many try to take medication, like pain killers (e.g., ibuprofen), anti-inflammatory products, antibiotics etc to ease off the symptoms. However, it is crucial that this detoxification process is not interrupted or stopped by the use of medications or other alternative means (Paterson, 2014). This is because “[t]he more medical drugs and herbal formulas [we take] to suppress the symptoms of eczema, the longer it will take to heal [our] damaged skin” (Eczema Natural Healing, 2005). I assume that drugs and herbal formulas that assist the detoxification process are okay, but that means the flaring and/or other detox symptoms will worsen. In particular, drugs like NSAID (e.g., ibuprofen, asprin) and antibiotics damage the gut/immune system (Fratkin, 2010; Romm, 2014) should be avoided as they will further tax the body against natural healing.

Many people confuse “die-off/detox” symptoms with allergies or food intolerances when detoxification begins and then stop the healing process before it is concluded and consequently this doesn’t allow the first important (detoxification) phase to complete its task to recuperate (Paterson, 2014). That’s me. I tried alllll sorts of remedies in the past and kept going back into my vicious cycle of bad lifestyle and diet and then steroids. I flared after using this “lotion”, this “drug”, this xxx remedy. It doesn’t work! Back to steroids and old lifestyle. The body should allow at least 10 days for the first phase to complete and this can be longer for others who have more severe conditions (Paterson, 2014). That’s us! As we have used steroids, antibiotics, and/or immunosuppressants extensively. That is why it takes sooooo long for TSW warriors to heal and I wonder if it is because some TSW warriors did not go through a “very bad withdrawal” detox phase at the beginning and that’s why they get the “very bad withdrawal” phase one to two years down the withdrawal journey?

So when TSW veteran say only ‘time will heal’, I think it is true that over time the detoxification stages will pass, and soon recovery stages will be reached. I know a lot of veterans did not use or do any specific detoxification remedies, that is because the human body knows how to detoxify and heal itself over time. By ceasing the use of steroids is already a detox to the body and allowing the liver and kidney to heal and function normally again.

So can you go backwards in the detoxification and healing stages?

Oh yeah! We all know that healing is not linear in TSW healing. Many say that it is a one step forward, two step backwards journey. When you think that the bad flaring stage won’t come back again and BAM a ‘recovery regression’ appears out of the blue. Paterson (2014) calls these flare ups as the “body’s consistent progression towards healing”. For example, the skin becomes more stimulated and toxins are released through our sweat glands and new rashes or pre-existing rashes worsen which could last for a period until it progressively heals. Further down the track, another flare up is experienced but this time round, it is not as severe as last time and it takes less time to recover. This regression in recovery is all part of the recovery cycle (Paterson, 2014).

I think it is vital that we do not tax our body further with drugs, bad food and lifestyle during the healing and recovery phase or the ‘flare’ will persist longer and/or worse than the previous as the body needs to do more work in order to move onto the next stage of healing and recovery.



  • Berzin, R. (2014). 10 Reasons Why Stress Is The Most Dangerous Toxin In Your Life. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
  • Eczema Natural Healing. (2005). Eczema healing – an effective natural healing approach for eczema. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
  • EczemaExcellence. (2013). TSW, 85 Days – Thoughts on Healing Time | eczemaexcellence on Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
  • Fratkin, J. (2010). Leaky Gut Syndrome Treatment | Consultations Skype | Traditional Chinese Medicine - Article by Dr. Jake Fratkin, OMD, L.Ac. Retrieved August 13, 2014, from
  • Lipman, F. (2007). What is Detox? Dr. Frank Lipman Explains & Demystifies Detoxification. Retrieved October 03, 2014, from
  • Paterson, L. (2014). Healing Crisis Explained: Detox and Retracing | GAPS Australia. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from
  • Romm, A. (2014). Is Ibuprofen Causing Leaky Gut & Making You Sick? Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
  • Russell, T. (2014). Common detox symptoms and what they really mean. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from
  • University of Rochester Medical Center. (2014). Disorders of the Immune System. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from
  • WebMD Medical Reference. (2014). Skin Information: Layers of Skin, Keeping Skin Healthy, and More. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from


Thank you for reading this post. I wish you great health, happiness and success in everything you do!


  1. Thanks Faye for all that research.... Guess you have reminded me not to delay my healing process.... takes so much perserverance and strong-will to stay away from food temptations.....

    Meanwhile, I have increased my bone broth intake. Remember how I asked you about gout? I checked with Dr Mercola's team and they mentioned it CAN be bad for people who have gout or susceptible to gout due to family history. I guess all in all, moderation is key.

    Also, I have started taking kim chi / saurkraut everyday.

    Keep writing gal! Stay strong as ever!

  2. @SueAnne Thanks dear! Oh don't feel bad, talking about food temptations, I ate a McDonald's breakfast today :( I tend to slack on weekends and always fall for bad food. I need to be more organised! Yeah I'd say test and trial with bone broths as it could be different effects on people esp ones with gout issues. I've made them less frequently now probably once every fortnight and weekly Chinese soups instead. I think Chinese soups (3 hour bone broths with Chinese herbs) will have less uric acid as they are not so condensed. Good on you for starting a healthy diet. I love kimchi, I almost have it everyday! :D Thanks for reading my post! Happy healing xxx

  3. so confusing this tsw monster and i can see why people lose weight and dont know what to eat. i went from vegan to gaps/paleo and stopping at that because eating grass is the next option lol
    ahfaye did you experience the infamous anniversary flare ?

  4. @Anonymous Yes dear! Right now I am flaring!! I will post up my monthly update soon! But yeah this time round it's pretty bad but not as bad as the beginning of cos but still annoying and affects my daily life like my hands are sore bathing my boys again now :( also i have been bad with food as I ate crap at my 2 year old's birthday party hehe. omg i am thinking of just going plant-based soon. i dunno it's hard but i've always been vegetarian most my life but being paleo-vegetarian with no nightshades and eggs is sooo hard. so probably later :P hope u're not flaring like me and hopefully mine will die down when i hit month-17