You May Feel Worse Before You Begin to Feel Better... The Road To Better Health may Begin with a Healing Crisis.
As you move toward better health with natural healing programs and better nutrition, healing begins to occur. As part of the healing process the body will begin to discard toxic residues which have built up in your body over the years. The healing process usually does not occur without repercussions. During the initial phase of healing, as your body begins to clean house, (detoxify) and your vital energy begins to repair and rebuild internal organs, you may experience headache, uneasiness, flu like symptoms and fatigue. It is important that you adequately rest during this time. These symptoms will pass as your body begins to normalize to a new level of health. As you continue to improve, you may begin a process called retracing. You may feel worse before you feel better. For example, if you used to get skin rashes, the rashes may reappear or get worse for a period of time as your body eliminates toxins through the skin. You may also experience an initial increase in urination, or you may feel more nervous. In actuality, you are not getting worse, you are actually getting better. Eventually you will reach a plateau of better health. During the healing crisis, it is important to not suppress these temporary symptoms with drugs or the healing process may become interrupted.
Understanding The Healing Crisis
By 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 occurs when the body is detoxifying too rapidly and toxins are being released faster than the body can eliminate them.[v] When this occurs, one will suffer from headaches, nausea, vomiting, and malaise. Even though this is but a short period of the health program, it can be severe and deter one from reaching their intended goals. Also, the person may not know what they are experiencing and think that they are regressing.
How t o minimize the Herxheimer Reaction:
• Drinks lots of pure alkaline ionized water
• Get minimal exercise daily
• Lots of sunshine
• Take detoxification slowly ... one step at a time
• Don’t increase the dose of herbals
• Keep the organs of elimination (bowels, lungs, skin, kidneys) open
• Take detox baths
• Use aromatherapy oils for aches -like peppermint, birch, and wintergreen
• Sweat by using exercise, saunas, baths, and herbs
• Avoid foreign chemicals and refined processed foods
If the Herxheimer reaction occurs, cut back on your health detoxification program. Reduce the dose of herbs and follow the above outline to reduce the symptoms of toxin elimination. The more toxins there are to eliminate, the sicker one is when they come out. Generally, one will feel better when all is over and health is restored again. Just remember, don’t give up. Herxheimer reaction is also known as a healing crisis.
What is the difference between a healing crisis and illness?
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.
What is a Healing Crisis?
By Dr. Stanley Bass, N.D. D.C. Ph.D.
If I were asked which is the greatest misunderstanding and confusion in the field of nutrition, I would respond, " & to properly understand and interpret the symptoms and changes that follow the beginnings of a better nutritional program. - (A "healing crisis")
Now, what happens when a person follows the rules and makes a decided improvement in the quality of food consumed?
Remarkable things begin to happen to the body as well as the mind. The amazing intelligence present in every cell of the body and the wisdom of the body in its operation immediately becomes manifest. The rule may be stated thus: When the quality of food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissue that the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower grade materials and tissues and makes room for the superior materials that make new and healthier tissue.
What are the symptoms or signs that become evident when we first begin to omit the lower grade food and instead introduce superior foods-those that are more alive, more natural than those we are accustomed to? When the use of toxic stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate or cocoa is suddenly stopped, headaches are common, and a letdown (healing crisis) occurs. This is due to the discard by the body, of toxins called caffeine and theobromine, which are removed from the tissues and transported through the blood stream during its many bodily rounds. Before the toxins agents reach their final destination for elimination, these irritants register in our consciousness as pain-in other words, headache.
The letdown is due to the slower action of the heart- the resting phase that follows the stimulation of more rapid heart action forced on the body by certain poisons called stimulants. The more rapid heartbeat (or pulse) produces a feeling of exhilaration, and the slower action produces a depressed state of mind. Usually, within three days, the symptoms vanish and we feel stronger due to the recuperation that follows. To a lesser extent, the same process occurs when we abandon lower quality foods and replace them with better foods. Lower quality foods have undergone more preparation.
Spices, salt and other ingredients have been added, and they tend to be more stimulating than less prepared and more natural foods. Animal food, such as meat, fowl, fish etc, is more stimulating than cheeses, nuts and vegetable proteins. Consequently the withdrawal of stimulation, which follows the abandonment of animal food produces a slower heart action, a resting phase that registers to the mind as relaxation or a decrease in energy.
This initial letdown (healing crisis) lasts about ten days or slightly longer, and is followed by an increase of strength, a feeling of diminishing stress and great well-being. Now, let us return to the symptoms that occur in the process of regeneration.
The person who starts a better diet, stays on it for three days to a week and then quits, will say, "Oh, I felt better on the old diet - the new one makes me feel weak". He failed because he did not give his body a chance to adjust and complete its first phase of action, recuperation. If he had waited a while longer, he would have begun to feel better than before he started.
During this initial phase (lasting about ten days on the average, to several weeks in others), the vital energies that are usually in the periphery or external parts of the body, such as the muscles and skin, begin to move to the vital internal organs and start reconstruction. This shunting of much of the power to the internal region produces a feeling of less energy in the muscles, which the mind interprets as some weakness.
Actually power is increased, but most of it is being used for rebuilding the more important organs, and less of it is available for muscular work.
Any weakness that is felt here is not a true weakness, but merely a redeployment of forces to the more important internal parts. Here it is important for the person to stop wasting energy, and rest and sleep more. This is a crucial phase, and if the person resorts to stimulants of any kind, he will abort and defeat the regeneration intent of the body. It is important that he have patience and just wait it out and after awhile he will get an increasing strength that will exceed what he felt before he began the new program. Success in recovery or improvement of health hinges upon the correct understanding of this point . realizing that the body is using its main energies in more important internal work and not wasting it in external work involving muscle movements. Be wise - take it easy and relax. Just coast in your work and social obligations until you are out of the woods.
As one continues on the improved diet and gradually raises the food quality, interesting symptoms begin to appear. The body begins a process called "retracing".
The cellular intelligence reasons something like this "Oh! Look at all those fine materials coming in. How wonderful-now we have a chance to get rid of this old garbage and build a beautiful new house.
Let us get started immediately. Let us get this excess bile out of the liver and gall bladder and send it to the intestines for elimination. Let us get this sludge moving out of the arteries, veins and capillaries. These smelly, gassy, brain-stupefying masses have been here too long- out with them! These arthritic deposits on the joints need cleaning up. Let us get these irritating food preservatives such as aspirins, sleeping pills and drugs out of the way, along with these other masses of fat that have made life so burdensome for us for so long."
During the first phase of the healing crisis (called catabolism), the accent is on elimination or breaking down of tissue. The body begins to clean house - in short, to remove the garbage deposited in all the tissues. Wastes are discarded more rapidly and new tissue is made from the new food. This becomes evident as weight loss. This persists for a while then is followed by the second phase-stabilization.
Here the weight remains more or less stable. During this phase, the amount of waste material being discarded daily is equal to the amount of tissue that is being formed and replaced by the newer, more vital food. This occurs after the excess of obstructing material in the tissues has been removed. This stage persists for a while and is then followed by a third phase - a build up period (called anabolism), wherein weight starts to go even though the diet is lower in calories than it was before. At this point, much or more of the interfering wastes have been discarded.
Returning to the symptoms that occur on a superior nutritional program - people who have had tendencies in the past to recurring skin rashes or eruptions will frequently tend to eliminate poisons and harmful drugs through the skin with new rashes and eruptions. If they go to a doctor now who is not familiar with this aspect of nutrition, he will diagnose it as an allergy.
They ask, "How come I am eating better than I ever did before and instead I'm getting worse?" They don't understand that the body is "retracing" The skin is getting more alive and active. It is throwing out more poisons more rapidly.
Headaches may occur at the beginning, fever and/or colds may also appear, the skin may break out, there may be a short interval of bowel sluggishness, diarrhea, feeling of tiredness and weakness, disinclination to exercise, nervousness, irritability, negativity, mental depression, frequent urination, etc.
However the great majority of people find their reactions tolerable and are encouraged to bear with them. With some, colds that have not appeared for a long time may occur, or even fevers.
Understand that these actions are constructive, even though unpleasant at the moment. Do not try to stop these symptoms by the use of certain drugs. These symptoms are part of a curing process; so don't try to cure a cure. These are NOT deficiency problems or allergic manifestations.
The symptoms will vary according to the material being discarded, the condition of the organs involved in the elimination, and the amount of energy you have available. The more you rest and sleep when the symptoms are present, the milder they are and the more quickly they are terminated. Be happy you are having symptoms. Realized deeply that your body is becoming younger and healthier every day. You are throwing off more and more wastes that would eventually have brought pain, disease, and following through to their successful termination, avoiding some of the worst diseases that would eventually have developed had you continued your careless eating habits.
Do not expect to go on an ascending scale of quality. Do not expect that improving your diet will make you feel better and better each day until you reach perfection. The body is cyclical in nature. And health returns in a series of gradually diminishing cycles. For example, you may start a better diet and for a while you feel much better. After some time, a symptom occurs - you may feel nauseous for a day and have diarrhea with a foul smelling stool. After a day, you feel better that ever before, and all goes fine for a while. Then you suddenly develop a cold, feel chills, and lose your appetite. After about two or three days (assuming you do not take drugs or do anything else about it), you suddenly develop an itch or rash. You still do not take anything special for it. This rash flares up, gets worse, and continues for ten days, and immediately subsides. Immediately after this, you find your hepatitis is gone and your energy has increased more than ever before. The rash became an outlet for the poisons in the liver, which produced the hepatitis. This is how recovery occurs.
You recover and go even higher. And so it goes - each reaction milder than the last as the body becomes purer, each becoming shorter in duration and being followed by a longer and longer period of feeling better than ever before, until you reach a level plateau of vibrant health. Let us give ourselves, through our "healing crisis" a chance to experience what it means to be really healthy and fully alive.
The statements enclosed herein about the healing crisis have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your family doctor.