With treatment costs often not covered by insurance, the budgets of many Lyme disease patients are stretched to the max by long-term protocols that include taking a considerable amount of supplements and medications. Similarly, I too, have felt the financial burden that is required to get well from this illness. But our doctors frequently tell us that we need to incorporate detox treatments for Lyme disease while undergoing our challenging medical regimens.
By stepping up our body’s detoxification processes, we help our bodies handle different combinations of medications, herbal therapies, supplements, eliminate toxic waste, and most importantly, heal. Fueled by my desire to provide patients with more affordable resources, this article covers seven budget-friendly detox ideas that won’t break the bank.
Detox Treatments for Lyme Disease
1) Dry Skin Brushing- For the cost of about $10-$15, a dry skin brush is an economical tool to incorporate into your detox routine. Available online and at most health food stores, you’ll want to purchase a long-handled brush made with natural bristles as opposed to synthetic ones. Dry skin brushing helps to unclog pores and allows your skin—the body’s largest organ—to expel toxins that have accumulated in it. This method of detoxification is also known to increase circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system, improve skin tone, and have an energizing effect upon the body.
Dry skin brushing takes roughly five minutes to complete and is very easy to do; it’s excellent for those of us with very limited energy. After you remove your clothing, begin brushing at your feet, moving the brush in smooth strokes toward your heart. From your feet, progress up your legs, to the palms of your hands, and then your arms. Again, always brush toward the direction of your heart.
After you brush your extremities, brush your abdomen, chest, and back–still in the direction of the heart. Keep in mind these areas tend to be more sensitive, so use a lighter hand when brushing them.
Whenever possible, take a shower after your dry skin brushing session and follow up with a natural moisturizer. Coconut oil is a preferred moisturizer among many Lyme patients. For best results, you can use this technique one to two times a day.
2) Hot/Cold Showers- Although the idea of alternating a comfortable, warm shower with a burst of cold water might not sound too appealing to you, this type of shower costs nothing and has many therapeutic benefits. Right before you finish your shower, adjust the temperature to the coldest setting you can withstand and allow the water to run over you for 30 seconds (if possible). Rotating between hot and cold water increases lymph flow, stimulates circulation, and optimizes blood flow to your organs.
As you adapt to the temperature changes, you can begin to incorporate brief repetitions of hot and cold showering.
3) Activated Charcoal- Many of us experience Herxheimer reactions (“Herx” for short) periodically during our Lyme treatment. These reactions are the result of the body’s inflammatory responses to the toxins that are generated when a large bacterial load gets killed off. The duration of a Herx varies from person to person and can last from a few hours to a few weeks. Thankfully, activated charcoal tablets are a low-cost option to help you when you’re feeling cruddy.
Activated charcoal is a binding agent that absorbs these toxins and helps your body to properly get rid of them. You need to take activated charcoal two hours before or after your other medications and supplements.
Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
4) Lemon Water- Lemon water is a favorite detox method among the Lyme community. Not only is it incredibly cheap, but the lemon adds a splash of flavor to an otherwise bland glass of water. Among its benefits, lemon neutralizes your body’s pH and improves its acid-alkaline balance. This refreshing detox water also helps to cleanse the liver. You can drink your lemon water either hot or cold, but many holistic health practitioners recommend rinsing your mouth afterward to protect the enamel on your teeth from the acidity in the lemon juice.
5) Liver Support Formula- Medications occasionally place an extra burden on the liver. Investing in a liver detox support supplement will help your body to process these medications more efficiently. Several herbs and supplements help your liver remove harmful substances, keep your liver function within a normal range, balance your hormones, and help you to better tolerate the vast array of chemicals that you ingest.
6) Epsom Salt Baths- An Epsom salt bath is an excellent way to draw out toxins through the skin and minimize stress on your body. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a dry skin brushing session. Magnesium sulphate—the mineral in Epsom salts—has a calming effect on muscles and the nervous system, so you feel more relaxed.
Because Epsom salts can lower blood pressure, it’s best to start with just ½ cup in your bath and work up to two or three cups, for a maximum of 20-30 minutes.
7) Herbal Teas- Another economical option that can address specific areas of discomfort are herbal detox teas. Chock-full of beneficial nutrients, teas like chamomile relieve insomnia, while peppermint and ginger help to soothe the stomach, and milk thistle assists the liver with detox. With such a large selection to choose from, you will likely find at least one tea to aid in detoxification.
From dry skin brushing to detox drinks, this article serves as a starting point for reasonably-priced detox practices. Feel free to leave me a comment, so I can hear about the cost-effective things that you use to detox. Please remember to consult with your doctor for more individualized recommendations.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on August 20, 2016 and was updated on May 19, 2019
Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and certified Pilates instructor whose life was transformed by Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and interstitial cystitis. She is creator of the DVD, New Dawn Pilates: pilates-inspired exercises adapted for people with pelvic pain. Jenny is a health and wellness advocate and blogger who writes about her journey on The Lyme Road as she continues to pursue her personal healing with the support of her husband and two rescue pups. You can find her on Instagram: @jenny_buttaccio or Twitter: @jennybuttaccio
Kneipp, S. (2007). My Water Cure. (2nd ed). London, England: William Blackwood And Sons.
McFadzean, N. ( 2010). The Lyme Diet. South Lake Tahoe, CA: BioMed Publishing Group.
Whichello Brown, D. (2004) Teach Yourself Detox. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books.