Healing Crises Part One of Two
A healing crisis is another word for an intense event that can sometimes happen on your path to health.
The body naturally moves through a process of rebalancing, regenerating and cleansing during healing. This can create uncomfortable sensations and body responses that are a natural part of the healing process. Understanding how to identify these is crucial so that you do not abandon your program just as your healing deepens.
Good in, Bad out
Throughout our lives, we build up toxins in our body tissues through exposures to impure air, water and food, food as well as medications, stress hormones and even chemicals from our innate daily metabolic activity and aging.
Accumulations of these waste materials stress the body in many ways: by reducing our immune strength and our energy and vitality. An imbalance in our emotional health can also result.
Long-term toxicity can eventually contribute to serious degenerative illness such as arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, viral illness, depression, anxiety, diabetes, etc.
A holistic approach to preventative health care includes the premise that reducing toxicity improves our resilience to disease and improves our healing capacity.
As the body receives clean foods and other supporting nutrients, they help act like a catalyst for the wastes. It begins to clean itself, i releasing stored toxins from deep within the tissues. These are then moved through the blood and lymph and eliminative organs (liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin) on their way out of the body. Temporarily congestion in the organs along the way can trigger various symptoms associated with a healing event. The wastes are more concentrated in your blood on the way out than on the way in and can have a short term acute effect.
Destruction and Regeneration
As the body is cleaned up, healing mechanisms can be spontaneously reactivated. Tissues can be regenerated at a faster than normal rate. During regeneration, the body destroys defective tissues and cells in order to reconstruct them.
This can result in some aches, pain, inflammation or heat. The immune system will also work at killing off pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.Destroying these can result in the release of by-products released by the pathogenic organisms as they die. These by products must also be flushed out of the body during cleansing.
How to identify a healing crisis
Symptoms of a healing event can include severe fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, boils, chills, aches and pains, skin eruptions, flatulence, irritability or depression, headache, nausea, chest or head cold, shooting pains, disorientation, mental fogginess, dizziness, coughing, build up of mucous, etc.
Transitional restlessness, night sweats, unusual dreams and a change in sleep patterns or an increase in sleep requirements are also common. If you are healing from a chronic illness, your symptoms of illness can become more pronounced for a short time.
The experience of a healing event often comes right after a period of feeling exceptionally well.The more severe your condition, the more pronounced your healing events are likely to be.
A qualified Naturopathic Physician or other primary care complementary health care practitioner can be helpful as you try to differentiate between a healing event and an actual worsening of your illness. They can also guide you through a program that supports the drainage of toxins while bolstering your weakest organ systems to make your healing program more comfortable and efficient.
Properly prescribed herbal and homeopathic remedies can be used to reduce the discomforts such as pain, swelling or gastrointestinal distress without suppressing the healing process the way medications do.
Detoxification discomfort does NOT equal gain
The severity of your reactions to this process will depend upon how resilient your health is, how long standing and serious your illness is and how quickly you are pushing your body to cleanse itself.
You can't speed the healing but you may be tempted to rush the detoxification part of the process and use more catalyzing herbs. However, rushing can actually create excess strain on the eliminative organs by overwhelming them with toxins and hindering healing.
Detoxification is more effective if done slowly, paying attention to the body's signals. You can regulate your cleansing rate by increasing or decreasing the catalysts you are using (i.e. detoxifying, antifungal or anti-bacterial herbs).
You can also gently support your detoxification process by eating small meals of simple organic vegetables (raw and cooked and juiced). Daily Detox Teas provide gentle support and you can control the strength of them as well. Other supports include ample pure water, green drinks, vegetable juices, sea salt and herbal baths, skin brushing, yoga, etc.
The Hering Law of Cure
Constantine Hering (1800-1880) was an MD who is known as the father of homeopathy. He observed several characteristics of a healing event and his observations became so well known and respected that they are still taught to holistic physicians today. A summary of the principles of the Hering Law of Cure follows:
- The human body seeks to externalize disease from deep internal organs to more superficial levels like the skin, healing essentially from ‘the inside out’. For example, someone with asthma may develop a skin rash as his or her body attempts to resolve the asthma. Unfortunately, in modern medical protocol this rash would most likely be treated with cortisone cream. This type of suppression of the body's natural healing process could result in the condition going back inside again to re-affect the lungs.
- Healing events tend to proceed from the head downward. By this he meant that the body typically exerts healing energy to resolve ailments at the top of the body (near the head) before it will tend to ailments at the bottom of the body (near the feet).
- The healing of illnesses in the body will occur in the reverse order to development. The most recent health challenges will be resolved first and the old illnesses will be healed last. For example, the body would work on healing lung tissue from a recent bout with pneumonia before it would work on healing kidney tissue from a childhood kidney disease. This experience of healing through our past health challenges has been called "retracing".
- The healing will occur in a cycle. We will endure a healing event followed by feeling wonderful and then we'll just "coast along" for a while until our body has gathered up enough strength to tackle another healing task.