Detoxing FAQs: what, when, how?

When we think of detoxing we have tended to think of doing a liver, gallbladder, parasite or general detox. But these days we’ll often also be talking about detoxing vaccines, drugs (recreational and pharmaceutical), Roundup and industrial chemicals, and often this will also include chelating heavy metals and high copper.

The question I get asked most is about vaccine detoxing. Sometimes this is from mums who are worried about whether they have “damaged” their child and should do a routine detox, but sometimes there have been obvious changes in health or behaviour, which can be linked to a particular vaccine.

Let’s stay with the vaccine theme for a minute because this is an increasingly frequent question (although we will talk about other things we might need to detox later on). I tend not to look at what’s required as “detoxing the vaccines” but more tuning up the whole system and looking at the underlying issues, such as family inheritance.

Some children obviously react to vaccines and some don’t appear to, but certainly in over 20 years in practice I’ve seen a dramatic decline in children’s health generally. This is often attributed primarily to the impact of an increased immunisation schedule, but we don’t know this for sure and there are so many factors which may be implicated; nutrition, the quality of our air, food and water, our general environment, the more-than-50-year-impact of the oral contraceptive pill on women’s health and other artificial hormones, including the increase in IVF, plus of course general life stress and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t immunise, what I’m saying is that there are ways to support the system through the process, such as with our Immunisation Support Pack, and there are things that can be done if there really has been a change in health or temperament.

No child is born with a clean slate. No matter how good your pre-conception and pregnancy care, your nutrition, your birth and baby’s first month. We are all affected by our inherited family medical history and susceptibilities and these as much as anything are what shape our future life and health.

Often the vaccinations are just one factor in many and what we’ve inherited predisposes us to particular health issues or patterns of health and lowered immune function generally, so this original burden tends to make children more sensitive to the vaccines and the environment.

What is normal health?

The first question to any parent is whether the child currently has any obvious health issues. The answer to this question will help us decide whether treatment is actually necessary. Just because a child has been vaccinated, doesn’t mean they need detoxing but more and more often we are forgetting what “normal health” really is and some things I would have considered to be a health issue ten years ago, parents are now told is normal.

For example, in my years in The Children’s Ear Clinic in Perth in the early 2000s, a normal number of colds would be two to four a year with a quick recovery and no lingering symptoms. I have been told in recent years that some GPs consider one cold a month is normal in a child’s first year and so is a runny nose! A couple of bouts of hand, foot and mouth or molluscum contagosium also seem to be considered normal, things I virtually never saw 15 years ago. This to me is not normal and indicates an under-functioning immune system which requires a little more exploration and some support.

What symptoms indicate that a detox might be necessary?

We all hear the talk about autism and asthma, impaired gut health and of course food allergies and intolerances, but my experience in clinic shows that sometimes it’s the small things that indicate all is not well.

Some of the niggly things which may not immediately ring alarm bells are things that do not resolve no matter what protocols you try and which I see frequently in clinic. This is just a very short list of a few of the minor symptoms which one might overlook and which would indicate to me that something is not right and requires a broader look.

  • Frequent acute illness such as colds and coughs
  • A continual runny nose or throat clearing
  • Restless sleep especially with sweating
  • Bedwetting
  • Extreme shyness
  • Anxiety
  • Tantrums
  • Difficulty sitting still or focusing
  • Worms/parasites
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Low iron
  • Low energy
  • Low appetite
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Sometimes a child may have just one niggly symptom, like throat clearing in the morning, other times a child may have a complex combination of the above plus other more major symptoms.

What can we do?

What we do as homeopaths is look at the bigger picture. We don’t need to know what the cause is, although sometimes this can be useful if we do decide that some form of detoxing or “chelation” is necessary.

What we aim to do is bring the child’s system back into balance by encouraging it to work harder to do the job it’s already trying to do itself. Symptoms are our body’s way of telling us something is wrong, and they need to be listened to and worked with, rather than suppressed or fought!

If we decide that treatment is necessary, and if a parent is contacting me with concerns then generally I’d consider it is, my approach is to work out a constitutional (individualised remedy) which fits the uniqueness of the child, addresses the health issues and the inherited tendencies and brings the system into balance. At this point we will also usually address the inherited tendencies. Through this process health issues should begin to resolve.

If they don’t improve with standard homeopathic prescribing, then we may start to look at things like vaccine detoxing and also “chelation” of heavy metals and high copper, as well as rebalancing of minerals and gut support, all of which can be done homeopathically.

How and what do we detox?

We have developed our own detoxing program over the past 18 years, based on the work of the late Dr Tinus Smits (www.tinussmits.com) and Dr Jean Elmiger (Rediscovering Real Medicine: The New Horizons of Homeopathy).

One of Elmiger’s theories is that everything we have put into our bodies that was artificial should be detoxed to bring about a return to health! When I initially read this I considered it a little over the top, but as the years have gone on I do have cases where we have done extensive detoxing to get the system to rebalance.

We might need to detox drugs such as IVF drugs, antibiotics taken by mum during pregnancy, or drugs relating to the birth, all of which can have an impact on your child’s health. We may also detox things like industrial chemicals, pesticides, anaesthetics – in fact pretty much anything which has produced some form of toxicity in a patient, we can make a homeopathic remedy from.

If we are going to do a vaccination detox and we know which vaccine is the problem, we may start at that point. So if a parent says “my child has never been well since this needle” and they can list changes, we will begin at that point, always supporting with a constitutional or individualised remedy to help the body release the toxins and balance up the system.

Do note here, that detoxing a vaccine does not undo any benefit for which it is given, but rather it helps the body let go of anything which has or is producing undesirable side effects.

Sometimes it’s evident there has been an increasing issue (eg more frequent acute illnesses or increasingly serious and prolonged), so we might start from the most recent vaccine and work backwards. Often we will find that one particular detox remedy has a particularly dramatic effect in first making things a little worse – a sign that there has indeed been an issue – and then bringing improvement.

The process is always supported with a constitutional or individualised remedy and an initial period of the detox remedy to test for a reaction. An aggravation, ie symptoms worsening, strong smelling or loose stool, strong smelling urine or slight worsening of current symptoms such as eczema, is a sign that there has indeed been a problem and the body is now pushing the toxins out and attempting to rebalance. We go gently, stopping and restarting as required until the system is strong enough to work with the remedies.

Where is the evidence?

I would love to say that homeopaths have lots of money to do lots of great research, but we don’t! Our evidence is going to be clinical or “empirical” which means collected through observation. While it’s not considered the highest level of scientific evidence, it is none the less valid and since homeopaths are obsessive observers, a practical way to collect the evidence that this process works and can help bring back balance in health.

How do we know a detox has worked?

The most obvious way we know is when the symptoms that have been a problem resolve. For example, a child comes to me who since her four year old needle has been exhibiting behaviour problems or has started bed wetting. We give an individualised remedy which addresses the overall picture of the child, followed by the four year vaccination in homeopathic form and the symptoms improve dramatically, and yes this is a genuine example of what I have seen in clinic.

Sometimes the process is much slower and might involve a specific detox repeated over a period of time. We never abandon a detoxing remedy until we see no further symptoms arising when we repeat the remedy, so this might mean giving the remedy week on week off for some months or as appropriate to the case. If we are still seeing aggravation, then we still have toxicity.

An example of this is a child who was diagnosed with autism at three years old and who developed a very strong gluten intolerance. I don’t make any assumptions on what has caused the problem, but after starting treatment and through a process of elimination it became clear that this arose after the child’s 12 month needle. After the first cycle of the relevant detox, the child made eye contact for the first time. After the second cycle, he started to speak and each time we repeated the detox there was further improvement until eventually he was officially “undiagnosed”! In terms of the gluten intolerance, this took longer to resolve. Each time we gave the child a cycle of the detox remedy, he had a slight aggravation of symptoms and each time the intolerance was less in the weeks afterwards. We changed to a general detox remedy when it became evident more than one vaccine had been involved and then we just repeated on a reasonably regular basis. After a couple of years treatment there was no further need to continue and I would occasionally hear from the mum that the child was doing very well.

This is a relatively old case and these days, I would also consider a Roundup detox and/or gluten desensitisation, but the protocol we followed for this child worked well.

I see that the body is very intelligent. It knows what it needs to do and often it just needs a prompt and a little support to do the job itself. This is one reason that after many years of clinical observation and a lot of nutritional study I am not keen on using lots of supplements without knowing exactly what is going on. Many times I have seen cases where over-supplementation has caused problems itself because the levels have not been managed. See ‘Working with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis’ below.

Other things we detox

Drugs during and after surgery can be a particular problem for some people and while there are many good standard homeopathic remedies to help with the resulting symptoms, sometimes a detox of the specific drugs which were used is the only option in cases of weakness, acute constipation or in babies who are very colicky or unsettled following a caesarean birth, just as examples.

Sometimes I have detoxed medications which have caused side effects that have not resolved when the medication has been stopped or changed by the GP. Some people are just particularly sensitive to certain things and the body is not able to rebalance itself over time.

On occasion I have detoxed a child in relation to their parents’ occupations. We don’t think of this as being an issue, but certain occupations are toxic and either the child inherits this in utero or through exposure after birth. So this may be a parent that works in a particular industry with exposure to certain substances, for example cabinet making with its glues and varnishes or perhaps as a welder or painter. Where I live in Tasmania it was quite common in the past for the wives of the orchardists to develop goitre from handling their husband’s clothes after they had been spraying chemicals, and thyroid issues are very prevalent in the area still. So sometimes we have to be detectives to find out what has been going on.

Working with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

At some point I am likely to order a hair analysis from Interclinical Laboratories, who I have worked with for nearly 20 years, to assess what is going on. Certainly we may see varying levels of heavy metals, but these days I do see more mineral imbalances and high and low copper and iron, and it’s possible to get an indication of thyroid, adrenal and poor gut function as well.

As with the general health issues, in relation to heavy metal toxicity or high copper, specific “chelation” is not always necessary, as individualised and well-chosen remedies can bring balance to the system and allow the body to release unwanted toxins naturally in the process. If we do decide to “chelate”, I use only homeopathic remedies and some simple supplementation, if considered necessary, based on my long experience.

The first step is therefore always a consultation and a well-chosen constitutional remedy. Detox remedies will be used at the outset if they are strongly indicated due to an observed reaction/change. If things don’t progress as we would expect, we then take it to the next step and look more specifically at other factors.

I find this simple approach can often bring greater benefit than mass supplementation programs. If a system is already weakened then it can be hard to absorb supplements and in many cases I see in clinic, the body just doesn’t know what to do with all these additional stimulants.

Too much supplementation can be as bad as too much conventional medication and certainly this will show up on a hair analysis.

Summing up then, detoxing is not always required and a well chosen constitutional or individualised remedy may be enough to get the job done in less complex cases. But if we embark on the homeopathic process and find that we have what we call an ‘obstacle to cure’ we will address this with related protocols as appropriate.

If you would like to organise a consultation or require further information, do contact me and I can send you our new patient information pack in the first instance.


Melanie Creedy trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.

She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.

Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.

Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition or serious acute illness, it is important to be assessed or examined by your GP or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a  suggestion or treatment seek advice from your healthcare professional.