Have you attempted to improve your health, but felt worse from trying? This article will guide you through:
- Why this is happening
- How to prevent it from occurring
- How to stay on the road to health so you experience life fully.
This can be caused by a “healing crisis”, and it often occurs when improvement in one part of the body causes problems in another part. It’s not that the original treatment was incorrect, but that further assessment is needed from a qualified health professional like the Portland Naturopathic Doctors at Heart Spring Health. We will help you overcome the unpleasant symptoms of a healing crisis, while continuing the vital process of healing.
Uncovering the Origin of Illness
Identifying the underlying cause of a disease is critical. We will create a comprehensive plan for healing that includes examining the underlying cause and obstacles to recovery so they can be reviewed, removed, or treated. Causes may include genetic, environmental, emotional, psychological or lifestyle issues to name a few.
Symptoms are the body’s way of healing and asking for help but are not the cause of disease. Eliminating the symptoms is not the same as eliminating the disease. For example, you may have chronic headaches and take pain medication, but we have not prevented the condition from coming back because the pain medication targeted the symptoms instead of the cause. In natural medicine, we will look for an environmental exposure, a belief, or a lifestyle stressor that is triggering the headaches. Then, we’ll act to reduce or eliminate that trigger so that the headaches stop for good.
Healing Crisis Symptoms
A healing crisis may include some of the following symptoms:
- Toxins and the Healing Crisis
The healing process involves the body reversing the symptoms as it discharges toxins and damaged tissue out of the body. When toxins are stored in the body and “out of reach” to protective mechanisms, they cause symptoms. When we stimulate the body to heal, all of the body’s systems act together to eliminate toxins, setting the stage for regeneration and replacement of old tissues. Toxins are released into the bloodstream. This can cause major disruption.
Symptoms can also be a sign your body is trying to eliminate toxins faster than they can discharged. The more toxic or dysfunctional your bodily systems are, the more detoxification is required and the more potential for an intense healing crisis.
The healing crisis can be avoided while still working toward healing. A naturopathic doctor will guide your body to detoxify slowly and gradually so that the intensity is reduced or eliminated. Compare this to the disease crisis, which is not natural and works against the body’s natural processes.
Organs that Eliminate Toxins
The symptoms of a healing crisis may be similar to the symptoms of the disease, but there is an important difference – elimination. Healing requires elimination. There will be ups and downs, and you may not immediately feel better. It will take time and persistence, but your naturopathic doctor is here for you. A cleansing, purifying process will be used to bring stored wastes into a free-flowing state. Then the organs that eliminate toxins are stimulated to excrete these wastes that may have accumulated over years. Detoxifying organ systems include:
These organs may become weak, overwhelmed and not functioning properly. For example, when beginning a diet cleanse, you may experience constipation, diarrhea, headaches and fatigue. These symptoms indicate that the toxins are entering the bloodstream and organs that eliminate toxins at a very high rate. Constipation, for example, indicates that the digestive organs are not functioning properly. Diarrhea, indicates that the digestive organs are overwhelmed with toxic excretion. A headache may represent a situation in which the organs that eliminate are not able to eliminate at all or fast enough to clear the bloodstream; this build up of toxins in the blood stream leads to the headache. When these symptoms occur in the context of a diet cleanse this is the healing crisis.
What causes toxicity in the body?
The healing crisis can be a helpful sign that a large amount of toxins have accumulated in your body, but it’s important to address this under the care of a naturopathic physician. These toxins can come from:
- Daily exposure to stress
- Pollutants in air, water, foos
- Diseased/dysfunctional tissue
Disease happens when your cells are not functioning at 100%, whether due to trauma, toxicity, overuse or a combination thereof. Treating a disease by eliminating its symptoms will only suppress the body’s attempt to heal and this then will lead to more problems in later days. A natural path to recovery will lead to healing.
Supporting the Healing Crisis
A healing crisis may last from 1-3 days, but if your energy levels are low, it may last 7-10 days. During this time, the body needs adequate rest, both mental and physical, to focus the process of healing. Taking more fluids, especially water, accelerates toxin elimination. This helps to ensure the pathways for elimination are cleared and cell degeneration does not set in. Blockage may happen if symptoms are suppressed, such as treatments that dry up mucus, stop diarrhea, kill a fever, decrease sweating, or alter kidney function. In some cases, suppressive treatment is necessary so working with a licensed naturopathic doctor is advisable to know the appropriate path forward.
Naturopathic Doctors can Prevent the Healing Crisis
It is possible to heal without having a healing crisis. Your body will always try to work toward homeostasis and self-healing due to your natural survival instinct. Your body carries innate wisdom. The best medicine is always the nourishing food we eat. The role of naturopathic medicine becomes more evident by knowing this fact. Herbs and natural therapies may assist the body to overcome problems of decreased vital energies; physical obstructions such as constipation or kidney stones; deficiency of certain compounds or elements; or general poisoning of the system with chemicals, drugs, mucus, etc. Natural medicine does not heal. Instead, natural treatments help to ensure the vital force, of the body itself, does the healing.
Dr. Serron Wilkie is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at Heart Spring Health, a holistic health clinic in Southeast Portland, Oregon. She provides the full spectrum of care for a wide range of health concerns, including a focus in holistic mental health and integrative cancer care. Click here to learn more about Dr. Wilkie.
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