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Case Study: Detoxification Relieved 25 Years of Headaches

by Midi Fairgrieve(more info)

listed in headaches, originally published in issue 207 - June 2013

I am often asked by people enquiring about our retreats “if a week is long enough?” It’s a hard question to answer, because the answer is so individual to the questioner. A week long detox retreat can change your life in so many ways, and it can be enough time; but it also depends on how ready you are to heal and to let go of past patterns and emotions too. I would love to share this healing story. 


On a recent detox week there was a client who had suffered from headaches for 25 years, since the age of 13. He had been through the medical system and out the other side, tried physical therapies, psychiatry, medications and herbs; you name it, he had done it. When he introduced himself on the first evening he made us all laugh when he said he had seen every kind of specialist apart from a gynaecologist! But still his headaches persisted. He was taking painkillers several times a day, as much as 6-8 tablets each one containing 453.6 mg aspirin, 64.8 mg caffeine and 324 mg paracetamol.

He had reached the stage where he was continually overdosing on painkillers just to get a tiny bit of relief. He was at the end of the line. His girlfriend persuaded him to join her on the retreat and he became headache free after the third day. So what happened?

Our approach is holistic; we treated the man, not the headaches. We went back to when they started - an intense emotional event he had buried very deeply but which manifested as raging anger with daily, relentless headaches. Working with the therapists, he revisited the pain of his youth and connected to his anger and sadness. This connection to the past from the safety of the present, enabled him to let go of the emotions he had held onto for so long.

Physiologically, we supported his body to detoxify years of synthetic medication. This involved juice fasting which alkalizes the body and promotes detoxification at cell level. We have a supplement protocol which amounts to 40 supplements across the day, plus wheatgrass and a variety of herbs. Many of the supplements we use support phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification such as L-Glutathione, magnesium and B vitamins. We use coffee enemas to help the body eliminate toxins more efficiently and to minimize detoxification reactions such as headaches! and nausea. In this specific case, we asked him to do 3 or 4 coffee enemas each day to provide extra eliminative support for his liver. Long term use of medications always stresses liver function, and so it is important when detoxifying people to support metabolic clearing in the liver.

In this case, the liver was a primary focus of our attention because in terms of Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with the wood element and the emotion of anger. The liver is a source of heat, so someone who has a red face for example, or red skin may well have an underlying liver imbalance or wood element imbalance. All these little observations give clues for treatment. This man often went red-faced when his headaches started. The liver is the seat of anger; problems with the liver can be a manifestation of withheld anger and frustration. Emotions are stored in the body and negative emotions vibrate in an inharmonious way and can trigger disease. This is why I always look to the emotional state of a client as central to their healing process. Any amount of supplements and good diet won’t heal someone who is holding onto negative emotions as they stagnate the life force in the body which leads to disease.

This was a comprehensive and holistic approach ... all levels were being helped to heal. We spent time with him listening to his story and helping him to release the past. His emotional healing was a key factor in his physical healing; as he began to feel greater freedom from the past, his headaches began to lessen and he found large parts of the day were headache free. His headaches cleared completely after the third day of the retreat and he became alive again. We could all see it in his face; the background pain had gone and his full vitality was shining through.

A week was certainly long enough for this person, as he was ready to trust the process and face his fears. We are so much more than just physical beings. When you have a physical complaint, it’s important to ask yourself what am I bothered about?, what is making me sad?, what is this about on a deeper level? .... and you will have your answer.

It’s very tempting to apply science to healing and ask what was ‘it’ that caused his healing, what was the one thing that made the difference?; and although nutritional therapy is scientific, healing is an art, and there is seldom ‘one’ thing that heals. What heals is giving each individual person the best conditions in which to heal them self.

Somewhere in our lives we forget how tightly intertwined we are - physically, mentally and spiritually - but the path to true healing involves all parts of us.


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About Midi Fairgrieve

Midi Fairgrieve DN Med DIridol Dip PCouns DThD Nutritional Therapist, (Member of the Federation of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, Associate member, SRMHC) is originally from the Scottish Borders and in 1990 studied natural health and healing. She gained professional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine, Dietary Therapeutics and Iridology from the British School of Nutritional Medicine in London with Professor Lawrence Plaskett. Finding that complete healing needs a truly integrated approach she continued to train in other therapeutic arts, gaining qualifications in Progressive Counselling and Natural Spiritual Healing at the Self-Realization Meditation Healing Centre in Somerset, England.

Her experience of working with both cancer and infertility with specific detoxification regimes has given her great insights into the power of detoxification and inspired her to create a programme which is uniquely holistic in its approach. This was the inspiration for creating Detox International, where people could come and retrerat for a week, detoxify, nurture their bodies and minds and be supported to find better health and happiness. Midi’s personal experience of overcoming infertility using nutrition and detoxification has increased her passion for working with clients to regain the best of health. Midi has written for many magazines and health publications and is the author of The Natural Way for Dogs and Cats: natural treatments, diet and remedies for your pet.

Midi lives in Spain with her partner Steve and their son, Joe and may be contacted on Tel: 0845 1000247

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