What is a healing crisis?
By Dr. Andreas Marx
During treatment with natural therapies such as homeopathy, herbal remedies, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and other biological methods, you may experience an initial increase in symptoms. This is known as a healing crisis and usually lasts about three days. It may begin with a headache, body aches, or occasional fever with perspiration. Some patients may feel very tired and sluggish. Older generation doctors view these symptoms as an initiation of the healing process and encourage their patients to enthusiastically embrace them.
To understand the healing mechanism let’s look at how the body’s natural defenses respond to the development of a bacterial infection. As bacteria invade the body, an army of immune system cells confronts them. During the attack, a patient may feel sick. Symptoms may include a scratchy throat, which can advance to other bodily symptoms, including fever. Although unpleasant, these symptoms indicate that your immune system is putting up a good fight. If the infection is mild and the immune system is strong, the fever will peak within a few days then slowly drop with a decrease in all the other symptoms. This is the natural course of the body’s healing mechanism.
If a patient becomes impatient with the body’s natural healing mechanism during the first few days of illness, or when symptoms persist beyond the expected time frame, the thought of resorting to antibiotics may cross his/her mind. Antibiotics can effectively kill bacteria giving the immune system a chance to resolve the infection. However, while necessary and effective at times, antibiotic use and overuse can lead to other complications. And, in cases of colds and flu, which are caused by viruses, antibiotics are useless.
When antibiotics kill microorganisms responsible for illness, the distressful symptoms subside but the body is flooded with dead microorganisms (residual toxins), which must be eliminated. This requires strong, vital kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and intestines. When residual toxins are effectively expelled from the body, problems are avoided, and health is restored. However, if the body lacks vitality due to poor nutrition, weak constitution, chronic constipation or lack of fluid intake (especially clean water), residual toxins cannot be effectively removed. The poisonous substances accumulate in the body and eventually lead to chronic conditions.
Residual toxins, also referred to as toxic metabolic wastes, are primarily stored in connective tissues, which serve as the glue that holds all cells together throughout the body. A genetically weaker cell system becomes the targeted storage location for residual toxins. In other words, the body tries to hide toxins in an attempt to prevent bodily poisoning and by doing this, selects an organ or organ system that is too weak to fight back. This condition is called a constitutional weakness. To understand the constitutional weakness concept, ask the following: wherein my body do the first symptoms of a cold or flu appear? Is it my head, throat, chest, stomach, muscles, or joints? Keep in mind that the same microorganism can cause symptoms in different areas of the body according to your weakest points.
Over a lifetime regular treatment with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs can fill the body’s primary storage place(s) with residual toxins, creating congestion and disruption of organ function. They can also block the cellular nutritional support required for metabolic waste elimination.
Now, consider the following: Imagine 100 mice invade a house. Poison is put out to kill them and eventually, all the mice die. Rather than locating all 100 dead mice, only 70 are found. Some have disappeared into the walls and under the floors and cannot be accessed. What will happen within two weeks or less? Without question, the house will begin to wreak with the foul odor of pollution caused by decaying mice. In a similar fashion, the accumulation of dead microorganisms and metabolic wastes from past infections can pollute the body when they cannot be properly eliminated.
Natural Healing Process
As previously described, infections (bacterial or viral) are handled by fever which is the body’s weapon of choice for killing disease-causing microorganisms. As often seen with the common cold and flu, the development, peak, and decline of a fever is a slow, steady process that prevents residual toxic overload while promoting natural detoxification at the body’s own speed.
When treating a disease or supporting general detoxification with natural remedies, a healing crisis may develop. The symptoms felt during this time are actually proof the right therapy is being used, which is unlocking toxic storage places and expelling accumulated residuals from the body. This is a safe, effective way to permanently cure chronic diseases.
During any natural detoxification process, the body’s detoxifying organs including the lymphatic system, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin may need support. Support may be achieved with the following:
1) the use of individually selected drainage remedies;
2) proper diet which includes consumption of a large variety of fresh fruits (avoid oranges if possible during this time) and vegetables;
3) elimination of sweets,
4) decreasing meat intake;
5) avoiding alcohol and stimulants; and
6) drinking plenty of pure, clean water (no tap or distilled water).
If a patient feels weak or tired during this time, he/she should get more rest, cut back on strenuous exercise, and by all means avoid as much stress as possible. Good communication with the patient and the doctor is imperative. If symptoms become overwhelming, the patient can safely lower the dosage of the remedies to quickly improve discomfort while allowing the body to adapt to the healing process. Remember, discomfort is a result of the body’s uprooting and elimination of toxins. A belief held by some of the greatest European doctors is, “the stronger the initial reaction, the more toxic elimination.” Their theory is the process of toxic elimination dislodges the roots of disease and sets the stage for healing.
To use another analogy, the discomfort of detoxification can be likened to removing a splinter from your hand. Even if the splinter hurts, you may be able to function and get along remarkably well for quite some time while it remains lodged under the skin. Pulling the splinter out will temporarily cause more pain, but the short-term discomfort is well worth eliminating the cause of chronic suffering.
If symptoms increase, simply lower the dosage of the remedies and call your doctor.
And finally, if a patient has suffered many illnesses in the past, the detoxification therapy may lead him/her through short regressions during which symptoms of each past illness may surface. Do not be discouraged by this experience. Instead feel encouraged and find the strength to persevere, knowing that healing is taking place. And always remember, the symptoms are positive indicators of an effective therapy that is working to promote deep level detoxification, which stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanism and facilitates the restoration of the patient’s health.
As so aptly expressed by Dr. Albert Schweitzer, “A good therapy is one that stimulates the healer within.”