Author Julie Casper, L. Ac., is a hTMA clinician and educator, she works with patients across the U.S. and internationally. In addition, she supports health professionals who are interested in adding clinical hTMA to their practice. Contact:

Update: 17 February 2018

Symptoms of Healing

Author: Julie Casper, L. Ac.

Getting better doesn't always feel good. Transitory ‘symptoms of healing’ play an important role in the healing process. hTMA is not a miraculous quick-fix, it is a new direction, continually moving you forward and improving your health.


  1. Getting better doesn't always feel good
  2. Balancing Biochemistry
  3. Causes of Healing Symptoms
  4. Reactions That Can Occur During Mineral Balancing
  5. Healing Symptom, or Disease Symptom?
  6. General Adaptation Syndrome
  7. Cognitive Psychophysiological Barriers
  8. Tips for Managing Symptoms of Healing
  9. References

Getting better doesn't always feel good

Moving forward toward your health potential can include transitory symptomatic distress. This is how the healing dynamic works. The body is always seeking equilibrium, or homeostasis. Chronic conditions develop slowly over time. Regaining health is a process as well (with a much more desirable outcome).

After starting a mineral balancing protocol you may experience symptomatic changes very quickly, commonly within 10 to 20 days. If an excess body burden of toxic metals exists, you may develop temporary discomfort during the process of elimination. If you experience disruptive symptoms while following the mineral balancing protocol, they can be managed with adjustments to supplement recommendations, or with added supportive therapies. Usually simple adjustments provide immediate relief.

These kinds of symptoms indicate that you are making measurable progress. It means that your body's ability to produce energy has improved and is prompting changes in your body chemistry. These changes take many forms, and include; the elimination of toxins; rebuilding of body tissues; balancing of the minerals used by the endocrine glands; and resolution of chronic illnesses.

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Nobody likes symptoms that cause distress, so it is understandable to want to escape them. Mineral balancing works by supporting the body's own self-healing processes. Self-healing is easily observed when you cut your finger and it scabs over, or when you are exposed to a virus and a fever raises your body temperature to kill it. Self-healing is physically obvious, yet physiologically, it is an extraordinarily complex process. A stark contrast to therapies that focus on symptom suppression. Using drugs or surgery to remove, destroy or pacify the offending symptom as quickly as possible (often without considering the underlying reason for the body's reaction in the first place) can cause more problems than it solves.

The focus on elimination of symptoms is a naïve precept. Your body is infinitely complex, highly intelligent and capable. When provided with the proper support, your self-healing abilities are extraordinary.

Balancing Biochemistry

hTMA mineral balancing is a corrective process. Similar to a ‘remodeling’ project that may include cleaning house, repairing and rebuilding. So it is by nature somewhat messy. During this process, the body can experience previous metabolic conditions. An individual may notice a symptom from a previous condition, or experience any number of common symptoms, such as:

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Causes of Healing Symptoms

During the mineral balancing protocol, you provide the vitamins and minerals needed to balance your metabolic profile. Diseases of nutritional deficiency are wide spread, and growing in number. We know that toxic metals replace the preferred nutrient minerals at enzyme binding sites, disrupting enzymatic reactions in the cellular energy cycles. The number of toxic chemicals found in our food, air and water are added to every year. Emotions also can distort mineral levels and ratios.7 As mineral levels and ratios improve, you may experience temporary symptoms.

Reactions That Can Occur During Mineral Balancing
Removal of Toxic Metals or Chemicals

Unpleasant symptoms experienced during the healing process often result from the removal of toxins which have accumulated in your tissues or organs over a period of time. They may be toxins that you were born with, as many pass thru to the fetus from the mother. During pregnancy, the mother's metabolism increases to support fetal growth. This increase in metabolism causes the mobilization of toxins that have been stored in tissues and many of these toxins are then transferred to the fetus. Medications may be released that you ingested years ago. When a medication is released, you may experience symptoms associated with that drug. For example, antihistamine release may cause fatigue and dryness of the throat.

Toxins are stored in tissues and organs in order to prevent more serious consequences. hTMA mineral balancing enables the body to release these bound up toxins from the body's storage areas. If you were a past smoker, stored cadmium may be released and cause a multitude of symptoms, including pain in the kidney area, joint pain, extreme fatigue, respiratory disorders, digestive disturbances and anxiety. If a toxic metal like lead is stored for too long in your bones, central nervous system and other organs, you can eventually develop serious neuropsychological and physical dysfunctions. The accumulative storage of toxic metals occurs only because of an inability to remove them from storage areas due to various mineral, vitamin and amino acid or protein deficiencies. Metals like copper, lead, cadmium, aluminum and mercury can cause a wide variety of reactions when they are released from the tissues.1, 9

In addition to specific symptoms due to each toxic metal, indirect effects of the elimination of toxic metals occur. Some of the common ones are: intensification of fears, hot flashes, shortness of breath, numbness, diminished body temperature, dizziness, flu, colds, sore throat, sinus drainage and muscular aches and pains. It is virtually impossible to predict all the possible symptoms.

Nutrient Mineral Level and Ratio Changes

As mineral levels and ratios change during the balancing process, emotional and physical reactions may occur.

For instance, the mobilization and removal of excess copper can cause psychological and physical symptoms, including; PMS, fatigue and exhaustion, allergies, brain fog, headaches and migraines, mood swings, cry easily or for no reason, cold hands and/or feet, depression, dry skin, chocolate cravings, feeling out of control, paranoia, despair and hopelessness, arthritis and calcium spurs, constipation, tachycardia or bradycardia, poor concentration or memory, short attention span, spaced out, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, overeating), anxiety, panic attacks, yeast infections (candida), aching or cramping muscles, hypoglycemia, insomnia, mind racing, obsessive thoughts, cysts, mononucleosis, low blood pressure, hypothyroid. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Another common example occurs when there is a high level of tissue calcium. Excessive tissue calcium can cause diminished cellular energy production, emotional lethargy, impaired thyroid function, hypoglycemia, constipation, muscle tension, and calcification of soft tissues, joints and arteries. If the calcium/magnesium ratio is over 14/1, symptoms are aggravated. As the calcium level normalizes and cellular function improves, awareness returns and strong emotions may surface.6

Reexperiencing a Physical Symptom or Emotional Trauma from the Past
As nutrient mineral levels adjust, you may reexperience mineral patterns from your past. When an old mineral pattern recurs, you can feel emotions or physical symptoms associated with that period in time. For example, an old knee injury may flare up, or an emotional trauma might be remembered. Fortunately, symptoms associated with changing mineral patterns are usually temporary. Following the tips for managing symptoms can reduce unpleasant reactions.
Compensating for Dysfunction (Adaptation)

Chronic stress can cause psychological or physiological adaptations. Toxic metals accumulate slowly in cells and tissues, so glands and organs attempt to adapt or compensate in order to maintain functionality. For example, endocrine glands may become overactive or under functioning as a result, which changes metabolic rate. The consequence would be either a gain or loss of energy. It is important to appreciate that your entire biology is undergoing significant changes at the cellular level. Mineral balancing is a safe process, not a quick fix. The level of dysfunction determines how long the process will take.

Initial effects of mineral balancing are usually noticed within the first two to three weeks. When an antagonistic stressor is suddenly reduced, the body reacts and adjusts because it no longer has to compensate. These corrections may occur quickly and unevenly. The adrenals may recover first, and the thyroid later. Kidney function may improve dramatically for the first few months, then slow down while another organ is affected. This process of uneven adjustment may cause unpleasant emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms also may occur, you may get a skin irritation, or feel pain in an old injury site, get a headache or other symptom. Rebalancing is a complex biochemical process that is directed by your body's priority system, not your desires. Following the tips for managing symptoms can reduce unpleasant reactions.

Changing from a Vegetarian Diet to Meat Eating too Quickly

Energy levels affect our appetite. When we are too tired, we can only pick at our food, or not eat at all. Many vegetarians are so chronically tired that there is less and less they can eat. Animal protein is essential for energy production. However, you need energy to digest and metabolize the energy in the food, particularly fats and proteins.8

Vegetarians can never overcome their slow oxidation condition unless they increase their energy levels. Because of their reduced digestive function, vegetarians feel better eating vegetables rather than foods high in protein or fat, but because inadequate energy producing foods are being consumed, the problems that are associated with a low rate of metabolism just keep getting worse and worse.

Initially, vegetarians have difficulty digesting animal protein. They aren't ready for it. First, they must increase their metabolic rate. Then, animal protein can be slowly re-introduced. It is best to introduce easier to digest proteins first. Begin with fish, then add poultry, followed by red meat. Also, most vegetarians lack the hydrochloric acid needed for protein digestion and will need supplemental support such as betaine hydrochloride, bile acids, pancreatic enzymes, pepsin and herbs such as Spanish black radish.

Healing Symptom, or Disease Symptom?

Healing requires energy reserves. When there is adequate energy, the body will initiate healing activity in the areas that it determines are priority (not necessarily in the order that we desire). The healing process may cause unpleasant symptoms which can be confused with symptoms of disease. Most symptoms related to the healing process are temporary.

Mineral balancing is not intended to be a merciless, miserable, self-torturing experience. Foremost, your experience should be a safe one. You can expect steady progress and improvement, but mineral balancing is not an instant miracle pill. If you experience a recurrence of an old symptom, it is likely a healing symptom (though not always). However, if you have any concerns, please contact a qualified hTMA practitioner to help you manage any unpleasant symptom.

General Adaptation Syndrome

The terminology of the stress theory of disease is helpful in explaining symptoms of healing. Complex, self-correcting systems such as our bodies continuously modify or adapt themselves in the face of stress to maintain equilibrium, or what is called homeostasis. The changes the body makes are called adaptations or compensations. Blood sugar levels, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone and mineral levels and hundreds of other factors fluctuate moment by moment in response to stress. Causes of stress on the body include nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, heat or cold and physical trauma. Stressors also include blockages in the body due to structural, energetic, bacterial, viral, fungal, chemical, nutritional, or psychological disturbances.

When the negative effects of stress are more severe, extreme adaptations take place, causing symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain, fever, exhaustion, depression and anxiety. If response to these signals is adequate, dysfunction is self-limiting. Balance is restored and the symptoms disappear. If the symptoms are suppressed (which commonly is done using pharmaceutical or recreational drugs) the adaptation cycle continues. Then the body must adapt not only to the original stress, but to the added suppressive measures. Another example, you may drink coffee or eat something sweet if you feel tired to provide instant energy. This temporarily elevates stimulatory minerals and neurotransmitters or raises blood sugar levels yet does not provide the rest and recovery time the body requires.

You just cannot overlook the incredible levels of stress and emphasis on achievement that we have in our culture. Stress by itself can raise cholesterol levels. For example, accountants near tax time have higher cholesterol levels. It isn't their diet. It is that cholesterol is needed to produce anti-stress hormones. Everyone assumes that the American diet causes the high incidence of high blood pressure. They overlook our highly stressful, competitive lifestyle. In my opinion, this high stress lifestyle — by itself — can cause almost any disease. Dr. Paul Eck

Everyone has multiple layers of compensating adaptations due to physical disease and psychological trauma. Each adaptation reduces energy levels, weakening the system and potentially making it vulnerable to more serious problems. Eventually, self-healing is sabotaged. The system can no longer self-correct and goes into a cycle of cascading failure.

Cognitive Psychophysiological Barriers

Sometimes your progress may seem to stall in spite of following protocol recommendations. This indicates one of the most difficult obstructions to overcome, the hidden (or overt) desire to avoid change.

For every repressed emotion there is a stress response which effects mineral levels and ratios. So when you eliminate, restore, or adjust a mineral, you can activate an emotional hot spot. Many people resist, which results in a physical reaction, an emotional response, or both. To illustrate, when a person is resentful the mineral iron tends to accumulate in tissues. It generally accumulates in the joints, spleen and heart. Iron can cause joint pain. Also, since it is a hard mineral, iron causes rigidity and stiffness. When you attempt to remove iron deposits, a person's psychology may actually try to prevent its removal. Even though you want relief from the pain — you may not want to experience the corresponding concealed emotions to be unleashed. To conceal the resentment, a ‘resistance reaction’ may force iron back into the joints. The whole process is physically turbulent and may cause increased inflammation or other symptoms.

In these instances, to move forward there needs to be a willingness to face latent emotional issues or chronic fear. As your mineral patterns improve, you will gain the strength and energy that is required. Also, the increased awareness that occurs with improved cognitive function enables you to recognize that a problem exists. To help manage this difficult situation, it is often a good idea to stop or scale back therapy. Discuss options for this with your hTMA practitioner. It is typically unproductive to allow physical and emotional changes to occur too quickly (an unmanageable release). There needs to be conscious intention to resolve the problem, otherwise mineral ratios and levels will vacillate from analysis to analysis — without ever resolving the destructive mineral (and emotional) pattern.

I have seen cases in which severe psychological and emotional problems seem to block the potency and effectiveness of the vitamins and minerals that a person is taking. Mineral patterns may remain out of balance because there is an internal psychological resistance to change. Until the person works through and resolves the emotional conflicts, mentally, he or she will be blocked in changing their related adverse mineral pattern which may eventually lead to a disease process on a physical level. When the emotional conflict is finally resolved, a tremendous amount of energy is freed up and a significant mineral pattern change may then take place.

We begin to see a more positive movement in the person's energy, stress, and mineral patterns in the hTMA profiles. A great deal of energy is expended to hold on to resentments, frustrations, anger, rage, guilt, shame, and fears. Whatever energy may be built up by taking vitamins and minerals may continue to be drained and wasted in holding on to emotional conflicts and feelings that are not adequately dealt with. If the person still has significant unresolved psychological and emotional conflicts, much of the newly generated energy may become drained or poorly utilized because it becomes bound-up in negative ways.

Dr. Rick Malter

Tips for Managing Symptoms of Healing

Simple measures can often reduce symptoms, avoid complications and speed recovery. Most of the unwelcome symptoms people experience are short-lived, perhaps a few days, a week or two weeks at most. However, there are exceptions. People with medical conditions, who are seriously ill, on medications, have had cancer therapy, or are vegetarian should be working with a qualified hTMA practitioner for guidance to help reduce distressing symptoms.

Take a Break from Supplements

If your symptoms become too extreme, take a break from your supplements. Usually one to three days is an adequate amount of time. Sometimes up to a week might be needed.

Many people benefit from stopping supplement therapy once each week for a day of rest and recovery. On this day of rest, you can still take digestive support supplements, but not your other mineral or nutritional supplements. Work with a qualified hTMA practitioner on specific supplements for your needs.

Under conditions of physical and/or emotional discomfort, the more severe the discomfort, the more frequently you should take supplement breaks. A physically volatile fast oxidizer can try 3 days on, then 1 day off. A slow oxidizer can typically take their recommended supplements 4 to 6 days a week without problems.

NOTE: If stopping your supplements makes your symptoms worse, do not take a break.

Self-help Therapies
  • Relaxation techniques, or relaxing activities that you enjoy.
  • Spending more time outdoors in natural areas (nature heals).
  • Getting more physical movement always contributes to psychophysiological balance.
  • Enema therapy helps to remove toxins from the liver and colon, and can relieve symptoms of constipation or general toxicity as well. Enema therapy is proven effective, safe, affordable, and easy to do yourself. Most people start feeling positive health benefits immediately.
  • Near Infared (NIR) therapy. The sauna has been used by many cultures throughout history because they are relaxing and effective for detoxification. Near infrared saunas are an improvement on this time-tested therapy. By using an inexpensive single NIR heat lamp, therapy can be used for focused treatment of pain and other symptoms.
Supportive Therapies

Additional supportive therapy can help provide symptomatic relief, while providing additional health and healing benefits. Adjunct therapy should be tailored to your interests and needs. Examples include;

  1. Acupuncture, and TCM herbal therapy
  2. Meditation
  3. Qigong or T'ai chi ch'uan
  4. Yoga
  5. Massage, reflexology
Supplement Adjustments, or Retest
If symptoms recur after you resume your supplement protocol, your mineral patterns and levels may have changed enough to indicate that it may be time for an adjustment in your supplement protocol. Or, it may indicate the need for a progress evaluation retest. Contact your practitioner for guidance.
Lecithin Supplement
If you are experiencing a strong elimination of heavy metals, then you can take 3-6 capsules of lecithin a day for several days only. This will slow down or stop the elimination and give temporary relief. NOTE: Lecithin cannot be continued permanently because toxic heavy metals must be replaced. There are other supplements and herbs that may help. Please contact a qualified hTMA practitioner for guidance.
Don't Worry (grab a snack)
Occasionally, people with certain mineral patterns, such as a high Ca/Mg ratio, sometimes feel shaky in the evening. This can usually be resolved by eating a healthy snack, such as some protein.
Find a Qualified hTMA Practitioner
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  2. Watts, D. L. The nutritional relationships of copper. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 4, 2, 1989.
  3. Watts, D. L. Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients: Clinical Application of Tissue Mineral Analysis.
  4. Pfeiffer, C. Mental and Elemental Nutrients: A Physician's Guide to Nutrition and Health Care. New Canaan: Keats, 1975.
  5. Pfeiffer, C. & Mailloux, R. Excess copper as a factor in human diseases. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 1987, 2, no. 3, 171-182.
  6. Malter, R. F. The Strands of Health: A Guide to Understanding Hair Mineral Analysis
  7. Eck, P., Understanding Retracing and Healing Reactions.
  8. Energy: The Science of Human Energy Colin and Loren Chatsworth
  9. Eck, P. Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease.
  10. Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients Dr. David L. Watts
  11. Mental and Elemental Nutrients Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph. D., M.D.
  12. The Trace Elements and Man Henry A. Schroeder, M.D.
  13. The Poisons Around Us Henry A. Schroeder, M.D.
  14. Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition (2 vol.) Walter Mertz
  15. Science of hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (hTMA) - References
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