I routinely recommended to my patients right on their first visit to eat and drink whatever they desire for. When they came back two or three weeks later, they often said that they feel much better now but a week ago they had a cold. When I asked about the symptoms they turn out to be mainly a profuse mucus discharge, sometimes also diarrhea, but rarely are there signs of a real infection. In fact, these patients just experienced their first healing crisis on their long path to better health.
This concept of a healing crisis clearly shows the opposite perceptions that drug medicine and homeopathic medicine have of health and the healing process. In regular or allopathic medicine it is assumed that a patient who is free of disease symptoms is more or less healthy and the aim of drugs is to achieve this condition by removing any disagreeable symptoms. Frequently alternative or complementary medicine is used in the same way, instead of more or less toxic drugs just more benign remedies are being used. This is what most patients want and according to their beliefs they either use drugs or natural remedies for this purpose.
However, homeopathic treatment, following in the footsteps of the old nature cure movement, aims much higher. Here, health is regarded not just as a temporary absence of disease symptoms, but as a state of profound physical, emotional and mental well being so that we simply cannot develop or catch a disease.
Animals living in an unspoiled natural habitat in the wild commonly display this kind of health. If we want to come close to such outstanding health, we have to work for it by consciously minimising the multitude of negative influences on our health and maximise positive factors instead.
However, experience shows that we do not follow a straight line of either health improvement or health deterioration. Similar to periods of illness interspersing times of relative well being on the common road to chronic degenerative diseases and death, so we have also ups and downs on the road to superior health. The main difference is that the road to deteriorating health on average is sloping downhill while the other road on average goes up in health. Travelling downhill is easy, we do not need to do anything about it, but improving our health requires consistent effort.
Contrary to the often-lengthy periods of ill health on the downhill road, the dips on the uphill road are usually short and sharp. They are called ‘healing crisis’ although I prefer the less dramatic name ‘healing reaction’, also ‘cleansing reaction’ or simply ‘reaction’. After each reaction we advance to a higher level of health than before the reaction.
Homeoapthic therapists realise that the road to better health follows a definite pattern.
HERING’S LAW OF CURE:
All cure starts from within out, from the head down and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared.
Each disease, accident or surgical intervention contains a strong emotional component which needs to be re-experienced during a reaction, otherwise the healing will remain incomplete and the problem will present itself again at a later time for healing at a deeper level.
This also means that the body selects the kind of healing crisis that is most appropriate at the time, taking into consideration its needs and abilities to have a certain area healed or improved. We can consciously influence this choice by working on a particular problem. I also noticed that the body self tries to select a timing, which does not disable us during important events coming up. I have no doubt that we are guided on our healing path by our inner intelligence / doctor, which has our best interest at heart.
In the beginning our healing reactions will be mainly on the physical or biological level, but more and more we will experience the release of emotional blocks and changes in consciousness, preparing us for greater activity on the inner level.
PATTERNS OF HEALING
In every real healing, the sequence of our health deterioration will automatically be retraced. This means that old, long-forgotten disease symptoms may suddenly flare up again in the form of a healing crisis. The reason for this is based on the very nature of disease.
At some stage on the road towards health, the body will feel strong enough to start the fight again for healing the diseased organ, and inflammation will result. Such healing reactions are usually short lived, but can be rather violent. If one supports the body during this period with rest, well selected homeopathic medicines and diets and so forth, then the organ will eventually acquire a much better health than before the flare-up. If, however, drugs are used to suppress the healing symptoms, then the inflamed organ will return to its sub acute, chronic condition and wait for another opportunity to heal itself
The healing pattern of other health problems that are not related to immunological processes and infections follows a similar line to that outlined above. Healing takes place on many different levels: at the biochemical level within the cells, in the blood circulation, the nervous system and especially in the flow of bio-energies. Healing activity will be increased on all of these levels
Another common form of healing reaction is the development of a rash or other skin problem, especially over a weak body part, for instance at a hip or shoulder. This skin reaction signifies that the energy that had been bound internally in this area in the form of muscle armouring, stiffness and accumulated metabolic wastes, is now surfacing and dissipating. Thus the affected joint or limb will become much freer and stronger. However, if the skin reaction is interfered with and made to go prematurely, then the suppressed energy and metabolic waste will remain in that body part, keeping it in a state of pain or weakness.
Thus there usually is no need to interfere directly with skin diseases or other healing symptoms. On the contrary, that may only drive the problem ‘underground’ to affect internal organs and body structures. Natural healers have noticed that by artificially producing a rash over an arthritic joint, the joint greatly improved, but when a rash over a joint was artificially suppressed, then arthritic symptoms may appear in that joint.
You may actually learn much about yourself, your body, your health problems and your emotional reactions by patiently observing the healing process instead of rushing in to do something about it. What you should do, however, is live healthily in general, helping the suppressed energy to come out and dissipate and to be optimistic about it all.
Frequently, boils and increased mucus discharge (colds) may appear during the initial stages of the healing process, sometimes starting already one or two weeks after starting the treatment. This indicates that the organs of elimination are congested.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Some further problems may develop during health improvement. Formerly, the body responses may have been dulled – it did not react to harmful foods or drugs – but now the reaction is often immediate and forceful.
Foods that you may have eaten habitually before going on a homeopathic treatment may suddenly cause a gastro-intestinal upset, making you feel sick and miserable for few days. However, such reactions do not prolong if not intervened or suppressed by regular drugs.
Basically, one may say that your body now trusts that you will not hurt it any more in the old ways. But if you do, your body is very offended and lets you (your mind) know about it in no uncertain terms. This is the most effective language that your body has. However, if you learn to listen, your body will first try to tell you about its requirements in a more subtle way – an intestinal rumbling, an itch, a slight muscle weakness or a passing pain. There are numerous ways a body expresses its needs and each one has its own language of symptoms.
Furthermore, if you are honest and persistent in your desire to become a friend of your body, it will eventually let you know its needs by intuition, by its likes and dislikes, you will rediscover your lost body instincts. This is what we really should aim for: to become independent of outside expert advice and just do what our body tells us is right for us to do, not only in the field of nutrition, but in everyday living and with important decisions as well.
While one can usually gain relatively quick relief from distressing disease symptoms, rebuilding a strong and healthy body is a slow process and takes a long time. It requires a great deal of experimenting in order to find our individual conditions for healing, and it also needs solid determination to carry through with a program for many months.
Generally, recently acquired chronic weaknesses are the first to flare up and become healed, while our oldest and most persistent health problems are the last to yield. Thus there appears to be an orderly sequence in our health improvement. Healing proceeds in a wave pattern with an upward slope. On the peak of a wave we feel much improved, while in a trough we experience cleansing activity or a healing reaction and feel down. The overall movement, however, is towards greater well being.
Just looking at the symptoms of a reaction, you will not be able to distinguish a healing crisis from a disease crisis -a flare-up on the downhill road to degenerative disease. In fact, the symptoms are the same because the underlying process is the same.
The body always tries to heal itself and an acute inflammation is an important tool for this purpose. An inflammation makes the walls of the blood vessels porous to allow an increased flow of lymph fluid to move in immune cells and remove accumulated toxins. At this stage it is just an acute inflammation and we can choose to turn it into a healing crisis by supporting the body mentally and nutritionally or we can choose to suppress the acute condition and return to a chronic degenerative condition.
Therefore, anything that suppresses an acute inflammation prevents healing of the affected area. This includes not only anti-inflammatory drugs and remedies, but also strong alkalisers that reduce the release of histamine. The pain and heat in the inflamed area is the price we have to pay for it being healed.
However, anti-inflammatory agents and alkalisers have their place to ease the discomfort of a chronic inflammation until the body has been nutritionally and mentally prepared for a healing reaction.
As you can see, there is no simple path to completely avoid health-related suffering. We can only choose in which way we want to suffer. We can either deliberately and cheerfully endure the unpleasantness of repeated healing crises with the promise of better health to follow, or we can expect to suffer involuntarily and in an uncontrolled way from chronic-degenerative diseases as we get older. The choice is ours.