Understanding The Healing Crisis
Ginger Chalford, Ph.D
The body has an inherent desire for perfect health. We have the ability to earn our way back to that state, no matter how “normal” or bad our health is now. But in the meantime, the body must go through an elimination process to achieve good health. The elimination process is often referred to as the “healing crisis.” Once the healing crisis starts, reactions may be mild or severe. Expect ups and downs as it takes awhile to get good health back.
In a healing crisis, every body system works together to eliminate waste products and set the stage for regeneration. Old tissues are replaced with new. A disease occurs when the body cannot make it through its natural healing crises for one reason or another. The body is “locked” into a destructive and shut down place, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Symptoms of the healing crisis may at first be identical to the disease it is meant to heal. But there is an important difference: elimination. A cleansing, purifying process is underway and stored wastes are in a free-flowing state. The body, mind, and spirit are no longer “locked.” Sometimes pain and symptoms during the healing crisis are more intense than that of the chronic disease, but it is temporary and necessary.
The crisis will usually bring about past conditions and personal issues. People often forget the diseases, issues, or injuries they have had in the past, but are usually reminded during the crisis so that they can heal their unfinished business. This arises in whatever order the body is capable of handling at that time.
Physical reactions could include skin eruptions, nausea, headache, sleepiness, unusual fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, head or chest cold, ear infections, boils, or any other way the body uses to loosen and eliminate toxins. An initial healing crisis usually lasts around three days but if the energy of the patient is low, it may last a week or more.
Your body needs juices, and especially water to help carry off the toxins. This is a time for rest. Be kind to yourself — mentally, emotionally, and of course physically.
One crisis is not always enough for a complete cure. The person in a chronic “locked” disease state will often have to go through cycles of healing crises, with each one improving the condition some. It has taken time to develop a chronically diseased state, and time is required to let go of the “locked” energy, piece by piece. It’s like peeling the layers off an onion.
Often the crisis will come after one feels their very best and most energized, setting the stage for the elimination. The whole body gets into action. Most people feel an energy boost at the beginning until the toxins start dumping into the blood stream for elimination. Go as slowly as your body needs so your elimination is gradual and comfortable.
With a more serious condition, there may be many small crisis to go through before the system can become healthily balanced. Everything must be considered and given its proper place in the build-up to a healing crisis. One should expect it and work with the body, not resentfully against it.
A healing crisis is also known as the Herxheimer Reaction which occurs when the body is detoxifying too rapidly and toxins are being released faster than the body can eliminate them. A healing crisis can result from any holistic/natural therapy such as homeopathy, naturopathy, improved diet, etc. more
The reversal process is another part of the healing crisis
It is necessary to revisit each step the body has been through that brought it to its current state of dis-ease. People learn from an early age that symptoms are bad and should be stopped or suppressed. They take all kinds of drugs to stop their bodies from eliminating catarrh and waste. This is very confusing to the body! Mucus production is the body’s perfect mechanism for taking out the garbage! If that process is suppressed, the immune system is compromised and the next time it doesn’t work quite so well. The body has it’s own memory and it remembers all the injuries and all the times it was suppressed. In the reversal process these memories are brought to light in reverse order from which they happened and people re-experience illnesses and traumas in a phenomenon known as retracing. The difference this time is that the symptoms come and go quickly and there is an underlying sense that the whole process is not threatening, that it is natural and health promoting. The healthy changes people feel after a healing crises remain as long as a health supportive lifestyle is embraced, as long as one continues to honor the remarkable and extraordinary intelligence of the body. Give the body what it needs to constantly create strong new tissue and the reward will be wonderful health and vitality.
Constantine Hering, M.D. (1800-1880) observed that healing occurs in a consistent pattern. He described this pattern in the form of three basic laws which homeopaths can use to recognize that healing is occurring. This pattern has been recognized by acupuncturists for hundreds of years and is also used by practitioners of herbalism and other healing disciplines.
According to the first of Hering’s laws, healing progresses from the deepest part of the organism – the mental and emotional levels and the vital organs – to the external parts, such as skin and extremities.
Hering’s second law states that, as healing progresses, symptoms appear and disappear in the reverse of their original chronological order of appearance. Homeopaths have consistently observed that their patients re-experience symptoms from past conditions.
According to Hering’s third law, healing progresses from the upper to the lower parts of the body. For instance, a person is considered to be on the mend if the arthritic pain in his neck has decreased although he now has pain in his finger joints.
As the symptoms change in accordance with Hering’s Law, it is common for individual symptoms to become worse than they had been before treatment. If healing is truly in progress, the patient feels stronger and generally better in spite of the aggravation. Before long, the symptoms of the aggravation pass, and leave the person healthier on all levels.
Sadly, most conventional medical doctors treat each symptom as a unique and unconnected phenomenon. A person’s skin rash generally would be treated with cortisone, thus suppressing it,and, possibly, reactivating the person’s asthma. The mentally ill person’s new physical symptom is also suppressed, leading to a relapse of the mental illness.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HEALING CRISIS AND ILLNESS?
The most damaging phrase in the language is: “It’s always been done this way.”
-Admiral Grace Hopper(1906-1992)
A healing crisis is a process that occurs naturally after a period of living right! In these times people have moved away from eating healthy whole foods in deference to processed, denatured and engineered foods. (In fact they can’t really be called foods at all, they are actually food products). Their bodies aren’t getting the materials needed to keep organs and systems strong so that they can function optimally, eliminating waste or catarrh while repairing and building new tissue to replace the old. Only when the whole body is strong can it involve all the organs in a rally to cleanse, eliminate waste and create an environment for regeneration. The body is made strong by taking in whole foods, full of nutrients from healthy unadulterated soil, by exercise, stress management and by maintaining mental and spiritual health as well.
During a period of right living, anywhere from days to several months, people will experience a healing crisis, usually after feeling particularly well. The feeling of wellness is an indication that the organs are all strong, working well in cooperation with each other and able to eliminate waste just the way the body is designed to do the job.
There are symptoms during a healing crisis that may be confused with illness but the difference is that these symptoms are short in duration and move from one part of the body to another, from inside out and from top to bottom. There is usually a lack of appetite and may be a fever. Illness is a very different scenario where one or more of the organs are not working well, causing toxic build up of waste material that can’t get out. There is fear during illness, a feeling of being out of control as opposed to the prevailing feeling during a healing crisis that underneath all the symptomology everything is working just the way it should and everything is really OK.
The reversal process is another part of the healing crisis. It is necessary to revisit each step the body has been through that brought it to its current state of dis-ease. People learn from an early age that symptoms are bad and should be stopped or suppressed. They take all kinds of drugs to stop their bodies from eliminating catarrh and waste. This is very confusing to the body! Mucus production is the body’s perfect mechanism for taking out the garbage! If that process is suppressed, the immune system is compromised and the next time it doesn’t work quite so well. The body has it’s own memory and it remembers all the injuries and all the times it was suppressed. In the reversal process these memories are brought to light in reverse order from which they happened and people re-experience illnesses and traumas in a phenomenon known as retracing. The difference this time is that the symptoms come and go quickly and there is an underlying sense that the whole process is not threatening, that it is natural and health promoting. The healthy changes people feel after a healing crises remain as long as a health supportive lifestyle is embraced, as long as one continues to honor the remarkable and extraordinary intelligence of the body. Give the body what it needs to constantly create strong new tissue and the reward will be wonderful health and vitality.
Understanding Basic Healing Principles of Natural Cure
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms express the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Symptoms, therefore, should not be suppressed by treatment. Physicians and surgeons palliate symptoms instead of removing causes. The elimination of the symptom is not the same as elimination of the disease. In allopathic medicine a symptom is usually thought of as the patient’s real disease and the goal is to hold back, decrease or eliminate this symptom. This is often done without addressing the underlying cause and does not promote a cure. The naturopathic physician seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
Health is not the absence of disease … it is a universal good condition on all levels–physical, emotional and mental. Naturopathic Medicine is a distinctively natural approach to health and healing that recognizes the integrity of the whole person.
Disease or “dis-ease” is defined as a lack of health. Disease results when any cell is not functioning 100% of its designed duty whether due to trauma, toxicity, lack of communication or a combination thereof. Disease is due to stress. Whether due to ignorance or laziness, exposing the body to stress will produce a diseased state of the body. Stress is the only means of tearing down health resulting in disease, our bodies paying the price for violating the laws of nature (our wrong doings). We do not “catch” a disease or illness, we earn it. We must “work” for disease. Cause Of Disease
Disease is nothing more than the body responding to the wrong we have done to it. It is the body’s attempt at keeping us alive in response to the wrongs we have inflicted on our bodies. Pathological changes are the cell’s response to stress. These changes or compensations allow the body to survive – maintain homeostasis – as long as the stress continues. These tissue changes which result in disease, are the outward manifestation of internal compensation to stress. Until the cause is removed, the condition will remain in one form or another.
The word “holistic” means “whole”. In providing holistic care, the therapist addresses you or your animal not only from the point of view of its disease, but also considers what may have caused the condition. There are many levels to look at: lifestyle, dietary habits, emotions; these may all have a relationship with the symptoms you observe. Believe it or not, our body knows how we got sick, why we got sick and how to heal us. The reason it doesn’t do so is because of the stresses that we put in the way.
Why elimination of the symptom is NOT the same as elimination of thedisease ??
Jeffrey Levy, DVM – “The greatest harm of drug treatment is usually not so much the toxicity or side effects as it is the effects of suppression. Allopathic (conventional Western) medical thinking generally seeks immediate gratification: just make the symptom go away. So the patient may be better in the short term, but is usually worse in the longer term. Homeopathy is just the opposite: sometimes the symptoms are worse in the short term (such as with aggravation or the reversal of a previous suppression), but the real benefit is in the longer term. A symptom, say itchy skin, is the body’s response to a deeper problem. When a symptom is suppressed, it is only the outward manifestation of the problem that goes away. Since the deeper problem is still there, the body may, in time, produce the same symptom again. Another possibility is that, as a result of the suppression, the deeper problem progresses to the point that a deeper, more serious symptom is produced. So the itchy skin may go away, but then chronic diarrhea develops. If the diarrhea is then suppressed as well, it may lead to, say, liver disease. But hey, at least the skin is cleared up! I see this pattern, or variations on it, very frequently in reviewing the medical records of new patients. It is the unrecognized, and often high, price that we pay for the quick fix, for immediate gratification, for the shot or pill that seems to make the problem go away.” Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Dr. Bernstein DVM – “Modern medicine feels, in most cases, that the elimination of the symptom is the same as elimination of the disease. In allopathic medicine a symptom is usually thought of as the patient’s real disease and the goal is to hold back, decrease or eliminate this symptom. This is often done without addressing the underlying cause. If your tooth hurts and we inject a local anesthetic, the pain goes away but that does not mean the problem is gone! If we use medications to suppress these symptoms then the vital force tries to create new symptoms to compensate for the imbalance that is still there. If the vital force is strong then the original symptom may return. Otherwise, it may be unable to express on the same level and create a symptom that is more interior and could be much worse per Herring’s Law. One example is a skin rash that is treated with cortisone. The rash and itching will probably go away quickly. Later the patient begins to exhibit liver problems that “were caused by the cortisone”. The liver symptoms are actually an expression of this suppressed imbalance on a deeper more interior level. Many things can be suppressive. Vaccines and allopathic medications are a major source of suppression where homeopathy is concerned, but herbs, acupuncture and incorrect homeopathic remedies can also be suppressive.” Dr. Bernstein DVM
When there is enough wrong with people to produce discomfort of mind or body, they seek relief instead of seeking for and removing cause…Physicians and surgeons palliate symptoms instead of removing causes. “Whenever possible, suppression of symptoms is avoided, as this may interfere with the healing process. Tolle Causam (Identify and Treat the Cause). Illness does not occur without cause and symptoms (nausea, rash, headache) are not the cause. Symptoms are signals that the body is out of balance. They are an expression of the body’s attempt to heal itself. Causes originate on many levels, but are more often found in the patient’s lifestyle, diet, habits, or emotional state. When only the symptoms are treated, the underlying causes remain and the patient may develop a more serious, chronic condition. Prevention Is the Best Cure. Health is a reflection of how we choose to live.” Dr. Peter A. Martin, N.D.
You may feel worse before you begin to feel better…
The Road To Better Health may begin with a Healing Crisis