The concept of a healing crisis is not new.
It has many names – Herxheimer Reaction, retracing, detoxing, and aggravation.
Basically the body is cleansing and rebuilding.
What’s happening is your body is triggered by good nutrients, remedies, lifestyle change or therapy, and the available energy level is scaled up.
Healing requires energy – energy that was re-routed to the imbalance and disease. With this renewed energy, the body kicks into healing gear, cleaning house and dumping toxins.
Toxins – physical and emotional – flood the system, usually faster than they are eliminated. These toxins come into circulation either as they are released by the cells or as the pathogenic organisms die off. Emotional toxins can also be linked to physical ones. For example, it’s believed that iron settles in the amygdala, which is associated with anger. Mental and emotional symptoms from previous conditions that were either suppressed or otherwise not completely resolved may be activated during a healing crisis.
Possible Symptoms of a Healing Crisis
Symptoms include headaches, nausea, extreme fatigue, infections, sinus issues, skin rashes, constipation, and worsening of current symptoms. It can also feel like you are coming down with the flu. These symptoms can last from a few hours to a few days to a few weeks. Feeling miserable can be discouraging. It may not feel like any progress is made, especially when old symptoms pop up again but a healing crisis is a good thing.
The thing to bear in mind is that a healing crisis is a normal and healthy process. The body only allows what it can handle. Like everything with a life force, its instinct is to heal and to survive. Case in point – what toxins the body cannot eliminate, it stores in fat. This is a protective mechanism. The body is simply amazing.
Is it a Healing Crisis?
Oftentimes, people do recognize that while they may feel uncomfortable and even sickly, the symptoms are not out of the ordinary and even represent something beneficial that’s going on.
“Once the patient realizes it is a healing crisis, that’s half the battle so they aren’t stuck in a cycle of emotions as in the past with no end in sight”, observed by Angeline Gwee, a Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tissue Salt, and NAETS practitioner based in Singapore.
It is also important for people not to expect a healing crisis. Some symptoms are so mild that they may go unnoticed and in some modalities such as Jin Shin Jyutsu, a healing crisis is less common. It may be more of a gentle unfolding. This doesn’t mean one modality is better than another. Each individual is different and so many factors come into play. As Julie Ann, a meditation and Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help Teacher, points out, your body will release whatever it needs to, in whatever form.
However, not every deterioration of conditions is a healing crisis. It takes energy to heal and the symptoms associated with a healing crisis only appear after an initial improvement, when more energy is available. An immediate deterioration after a treatment is more likely to be a reaction. If the symptoms go from a less important organ (eg skin) to a more important organ (eg lung), according to the Hering’s Law of Cure, the treatment is also faulty.
Moving Through a Healing Crisis
To help with the symptoms, take lots of fluids like herbal teas and filtered water. Electrolytes may be necessary – try fresh coconut juice. Have more fruits and veggies and less processed food. Keeping your body hydrated, rested, and pumped with good nutrients not only boosts the cleansing process but also the building which is very important for complete healing.
Allow the body to work through it, rather than suppress the symptoms with medication like aspirin, which will only drive the symptoms deeper within.
Taking it easy helps focus more energy on healing. If you need an excuse to pamper yourself, this is it. Epsom salts baths and massages are great.
Go with whatever you are feeling and know it will pass. Observe the rise and fall of emotions. It’s a good time to journal. Have a chat with your practitioner.
It’s just temporary and once healing stabilizes, you will feel fantastic.
How is a Healing Crisis a Good Thing?
A healing crisis, despite its name, is a good thing. It only manifests when the body is ready. The body moved from balance to imbalance through toxic food and thoughts in a toxic environment and now it’s “retracing” the path it once took, this time from illness to wellness.
Homeopath Dr Din sums up a healing crisis as “the body healing, by changing it from the inside out.”
Mindfulness and self-kindness will help us embrace the lessons of a healing crisis with grace and gratitude. A greater understanding and appreciation of your body and your journey await you on the other side.
Do you have a healing crisis experience to share?