Master Cleanser Side Effects

Let's rename The Master Cleanser Side Effects. I want to call them Front Effects because they are simple, natural, tolerable and, most importantly, a sign of your healing in progress. The term “side effect” has an emotional trigger for most of us. We associate the term with the life-threatening effects of modern prescriptions. We think of side effects as something unwanted. The Master Cleanser Side Effects are very much wanted. These “Side Effects” are why we are Master Cleansers to begin with.

Master Cleanse side-effects

The Master Cleanser Side Effects are well worth it and so natural.

Are Master Cleanser Side Effects really “Side Effects” at all? I have a hard time referring to the Master Cleanse “Side Effects” as such; at least in the traditional sense.

Master Cleanse side effects

When I think of side effects, I think of those absurd TV commercials for artificial prescriptions that big pharmaceutical companies are trying to convince us we need. They even “brand” a disease with a term and then give it an acronym (such as ED for erectile dysfunction) so that they can market a “Cure” for you. Then they have the nerve to list dozens of horrifying side effects while calming music plays and we watch very healthy, happy people illustrating just how healthy and happy we can be if only we take their product. For life — or at least for as long as their product doesn't kill us, make us bleed from the eyes or have 4-hour erections, etc.

It is mind boggling that people will denounce The Master Cleanse as a treatment, cure, prevention, cleanse, etc. because you might have a headache on the second day or break out for a few days, whereas these drugs being offered as cures include catastrophic side effects such as paralysis and “an increased risk of death.” HA!

They slip these “Side Effects” in the side door when you're not looking, hoping you will be so convinced you're already dying that their prescribed increased risk of death won't look so bad.

Master Cleanse side effects

Positive Master Cleanser Side Effects

Since The Master Cleanse is a Detox Diet, or Cleansing Diet rather than primarily a Weight Loss Diet, the fact that you will likely lose weight is, in fact, a side effect as well.

Master Cleanse side effects, weight loss

  • Most people would view a side effect of weight loss as a positive one, but not all. Those of us who are already living a balanced, healthy lifestyle will not have much weight to lose, thus rendering weight loss unwelcome, as it would likely mean lean muscle loss.
  • Those who have weight to lose will lose weight as a side effect of the Master Cleanse. Those who have some weight to lose will lose that weight and plateau at their natural weight. It has even been reported that those who are under-weight will actually lose no weight and even gain weight.

So even though many people use The Master Cleanse for Weight Loss, that doesn't make it the primary intention of the Detox. In fact it is more about weight management than weight loss, since the loss of weight is not your body's primary objective either. The primary objective is DETOX and the positive results of the detox: the cleansing of our bodies of toxins and waste results in the side effects we Master Cleansers refer to as Healing Events.

Healing Events (Healing Crisis)

Tom Woloshyn refers to Healing Events as Healing Crisis, but I prefer the term Healing Events since it casts a more positive light on the events. The Healing Events truly are positive as they represent the elimination of something that caused a Disease Event when they were first ingested.

There is a saying in the Master Cleanser Community about the side effects we call Healing Events: “Sick in, Sick out”.

When you pick up something like a flu virus, bacteria, or something your body wants to reject, you experience a Disease Event. Your body is not “At Ease”, but rather in a state of “Dis-Ease” because of it. Your body's immune system then deploys any and all available defense mechanisms to expel the intruder. These mechanisms include:

Master Cleanse side effects

  1. Stuffed Nose, Runny Nose or Congestion
  2. Coughing and Sneezing
  3. Sore throat and swollen glands
  4. Fatigue, Muscle aches and other Cold and Flu Symptoms
  5. Skin Irritation such as Rashes and Breakouts
  6. Headaches
  7. Fever
  8. Cold sores or other mouth sores

All of these “side effects” of a cold, flu or any other disease agent are the result of your body's primary objective: to rid the body of the disease agent.

All of these “side effects” are actually just the reaction to the disease agent as it now exits your body.

And best of all: these “side effects” are temporary. They last for only a brief period. The Healing Events resulting from the Disease Agent are far less severe than the Disease Events which were the cause of the ingested Disease Agent.

Problem Days with Greater Side Effects

There are generally 3 days during which most cleansers experience the greatest number of master cleanser side effects, especially those of the Healing Crisis variety noted above. Day 1, Day 3 and Day 4 always seem to be the hardest. In my Day-to-Day account of the characteristics of each day during The Lemonade Diet, I have named these days: Day 1 – Bandwagon, Day 3 – Healing Events, and Day 4 — Hump Day.

  1. Day 1 – Bandwagon Side Effects: The side effects of day 1 are usually Detox Side Effects or Withdrawal Side Effects (both discussed below).
  2. Day 3 – Healing Events: Day 3 is when most of the Healing Events tend to surface. This is likely due to the detox part of the Master Cleanse really starting to reach a critical point.
  3. Day 4 – Hump Day: Healing Events are often short lived, lasting only a day or two. I once had severe cold symptoms for one night only. They disappeared as quickly as they came. Day 4 is Hump Day like Wednesday is in our work week. Just get past these Healing Events, and you are likely to succeed the rest of the way.

Master Cleanser Detox Side Effects

There are a few side effects of The Master Cleanser that are not directly related to Healing Events. I call these the The 10-Day Skin Brushing Detox: The easy, natural plan to look great, feel amazing, & eliminate cellulite, as they are not the common cold or flu symptoms we experience when our body is fighting off a new invader.

The following side effects are results of the Laxative, SWF, improperly taking the Lemonade and/or the general detox process  itself:

  1. White Tongue: A general side effect of the detox. It is generally reported that the tongue turns pink again once detoxing is complete.
  2. Bad Breath: Related to the aforementioned White Tongue. This is due to the extra release of toxins through the tongue.
  3. Greater Tooth Plaque: Related to above.
  4. Mucous Increase: A primary tool of our immune system, the loosening of mucous including sinus congestion and draining is brought on by the Fresh Lemon Juice and Cayenne Pepper.
  5. Increased Ear Wax: Similar to above.
  6. Nausea: Usually the result of the Salt Water Flush.
  7. Dizziness: Usually the result of not drinking enough Fresh Lemonade or not drinking it early enough in the morning upon rising (especially after the SWF).
  8. Feeling Chilled: Not “chills” like when you have a cold, but feeling cold as the result of lowered metabolism.
  9. Passing Gallstones: This is not uncommon and is good news.
  10. Diarrhea: Either from the SWF or from an excess of Vitamin C from the Lemon Juice.

Withdrawal Side Effects

Discussing these side effects from the perspective of the Healing Events and Detox is necessary, as they are indeed related to the cleanse.  However, many of the side effects felt by cleansers are not necessarily the result of the detox, or healing, nor are they some awful sign that cleansing is not for you. They are often just symptoms of withdrawal from some chemical dependency you have.

There are many common chemical dependencies which (if you did the cleanse properly) you would have had to stop feeding during the cleanse.

  1. Nicotine
  2. Alcohol and Drugs
  3. Caffeine

These substances are obvious. Most of us know we go through nicotine and alcohol withdrawal, but we don't always realize that caffeine withdrawal can be even worse. Caffeine is a food (found in coffee, tea and other foods like chocolate). Food is addictive as well. Most of us know that, but we don't dig much deeper than that basic understanding. Caffeine is a drug which is found in food. All food is a drug, as are all substances. Everything we consume is a chemical that our bodies break down, then decide to use, expel, destroy or quarantine.

So we can be addicted to anything. We can be addicted to coffee, sugar, pasta, or sushi.

And when our body doesn't get a substance it is expecting, it will send us signals — often painful ones — that it wants that substance NOW. Once the body is re-accustomed to NOT expecting these substances, a new norm is set and symptoms disappear.

Now most of those foods aren't as chemically addictive as caffeine is, but they can certainly be emotionally or psychologically addictive.

Emotional and Psychological Master Cleanser Side Effects

The loss of Comfort Foods can be devastating both emotionally and psychologically. We are so used to managing our chemistry by ingesting foods we like. If we feel down, we turn to food because eating it will make us feel good, either because we like the taste so much or because we have another association built into that food. Perhaps this type of cookie reminds me of my childhood when times were more simple. Maybe that ice-cream puts me into a state of subconscious self-loathing that I have come to depend on.

This is a major topic and is beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth mentioning because it leads to the following two Emotional Side Effects and Psychological Side Effects of The Master Cleanse:

  1. Impatience and Irritability: Our patience can really be tested when we are not getting what we want, when we are not comforted by our crutches.
  2. Flashbacks (Feelings, Tastes): in his book “The Complete Master CleanseTom Woloshyn describes the body as a “Time Machine,” saying that his clients report tasting cigarettes or feeling “stoned” as they relive past experiences.

Any other Master Cleanser Side Effects?

I have avoided going into detail on a number of very common side effects in an attempt to keep this post from getting too long. I want to leave the forum open to you to so you can add your own feelings. What were some Master Cleanser Side Effects that you experienced? How did you overcome them?

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158 Responses to Master Cleanser Side Effects

  1. Jilaine April 3, 2017 at 6:32 am #

    On day 3 here! Feeling pretty good. I do have a very runny nose, but I figure that’s a good thing.
    Day 1 I had the worst food temptations and had to deal with anger over not eating. I then realized this cleanse is about our mental addiction to food. I had read a lot of people’s experiences with the MC and they all mention this effect, but i didn’t truly understand until I had to stand up to myself and push through the cravings.
    I have 2 young children at home and preparing lunch and dinner has been a challenge. Not because I’m “starving” honestly, I haven’t felt hungry at all. Everything looks so delicious. I remind myself that it doesn’t actually taste as amazing as it smells or looks and that my mind is merely tempting me. Smelling food helps. Also, which I read from another blogger, talking about food helps! Talking about the foods I’m craving or I miss with my husband has been a very helpful way to deal with the cravings.
    I’m not an overweight person, but I have been a good 10lbs heavier then I’d like to be. So, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t doing this for some weight loss. I am. I am also doing it to help jumpstart a healthy Paleo diet and get me back on track mentally and spiritually. I am happy to report that in just 3 days I am down 5 pounds. That I was not expecting. I was obviously carrying around extra sludge.
    So, I will keep pushing on! Feeling really good about this though!

  2. Jj April 1, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    I’m on day 6, and my mind is racing with constant thoughts, time for some meditation. This is my first MC and except for skipping the morning salt, all is well. I feel hungrier today but I have been doing my lemonade with hot water to calm those feelings. I feel like I can do it!
    It’s difficult when preparing yummy food for my kids, but if I cook a bunch one day, I just have to get ready mentally to heat things up. I got woken up in the middle of the night from the laxative tea, any ideas about that? Take it in the morning maybe?

  3. Jenna March 5, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    I’m a 31 year old female, and have been doing cleanses for around 10 years… I also have to add that I do, and have always worked in a restaurant, which makes temptation insane!! I started the master cleanse about 4 years ago and try to do it twice a year for upkeep with smaller juice fasting in between… I’m currently on day 6, and I’m a little dumbfounded that I don’t have the pain I normally encounter… usually by day 3 I get terrible caffeine withdrawals I believe, with unbearable back pain, I don’t know if the cleansing has just “caught up” but I’m just so surprised I don’t have the pain I used to… I have to say anyone encountering it, it gets better with every cleanse…. I seriously can’t express how strange it is to me that I finally don’t have that pain… also, it took me multiple tries to get to the full ten days, just keep trying, you will learn more about your body and how to approach it every time.. I wish the best of luck to everyone trying and also curious if anyone has more insight to if my guess to no pain seems accurate… I don’t have anyone in my area that participates in this so these forums are what I survive off of while I cleanse .. thanks!!

    • Ramona Owusu May 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

      Hi Jenna I’m on day 9 of the master cleanse and doing well for my first time. Around day 6 I noticed my knees have stopped hurting. I can’t explain why. I think maybe it was something in my diet etc. dairy, sugar, meat. I don’t know. I know this is not the the information you were looking for, but it’s interesting to see that I’m not the only one having this reaction

  4. cs January 2, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    I have a massive sinus headache and feel horrible (after I woke up). My pee is bright yellow instead of pretty much clear. Great bowel movements. This headache is horrible!

  5. cathy c October 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

    first time trying it, I’m on day 2 had a really bad headache today but its since went away.. my goal is to go 10 days haven’t eatin anything only chewed gum..wish me luck

    • Ginny November 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

      You aren’t supposed to chew gum on the MC.

  6. chicky sharee September 20, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    I am a 35 year old female with no health conditions. I find myself doing the MC twice a year to restart my body and mind. I find it mentally challenging above all else. I take this time to fast from social media and tv to give my brain a fresh start as well. I notice an odor when I sweat, I suppose its all the toxins being released. I find it challenging to still have to cook for and provide for my daughters but as I mentioned when I am mentally prepared the smell of food is satisfying enough and I have no real temptations. I have done it for 5 days earlier this year, I am shooting for 6 days. Today is day 2…

  7. christina September 17, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    I’ve done two SWC’s on different weeks (once each time). Each time I followed the recipe to the T. Each time it did nothing. Now I’m sitting here, bloated and worried about all the salt Ive ingested -again, worrying about all the released toxins, but with no urge to ‘go.’ I don’t know what to do. Also, I feel very drowsy this time, possibly from the release of toxins. I slept very well last night and have had a relaxed day. I should be full of energy but I suddenly can barely keep my eyes open enough to read.
    If anyone has any ideas as to why the sudden drowsiness, or if this is something to be concerned about, please let me know! Any helpful info in fact would be much appreciated.

    • Rosie October 12, 2017 at 7:47 am #

      Drink water, lots of it!! At least 12 glasses. It will help!

  8. Stephanie September 13, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    I am on day 4 and am planning on making it at least 10 days. Yesterday I had cramps that felt like menstrual cramps. I am a 53 year old female and have not had a period for over 2 years. Today, I am having trouble sitting at my computer because I have pain/pressure in my lower back/kidney region. I’m an avid coffee drinker and have had a head ache since day 2. I’m glad to see that most everyone that made it past 4 days felt much better. I am pushing on…

  9. J. Rou June 23, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    I have been on the Master cleanse now for 21 days. The only issue I had was on the 4th day throwing up the salt water one morning followed by blood, have not happened again. I have hemorrhoid and during the detox my hemorrhoid bled or something on this last day. Excess of bleeding in the toilet got up still bleeding as if something erupted. Then it stopped I used hemorrhoid cream insertion, bleeding stopped. Should I be concerned?

    • worried woman September 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm #


  10. Alessandra June 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    I’m on day 6 of 14 day MC. Today is the hardest and j am really considering eating a cracker or something! I get severe migraines as it is and my head is aching! On top of that, (not to be too graphic) my special monthly visitor just came. I’m miserable but trying to make it. I’ve been so diligent! No gum, not even licking my fingers when stuff gets on them as I’m preparing my sons food, nothing. This is more difficult than I recall, although I believe I cheated by the 2nd day and ate crackers. I was younger and not as disciplined as I am now. I hope I can make it.

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