The Healing Crisis.

A fundamental tenet of Naturopathic Cure is the healing crisis.

The philosophy of naturopathy asserts that all symptoms of dis-ease are the body’s sincere efforts to rid itself of substances that offend it.  These substances may be foreign (dust, chemicals residues, micro-organisms) or come from the body itself, thus endogenous (organic acids, hormone residue).  When the body is strong enough to rid itself of the noxious substance, it mounts a defence and sends it out via the nearest elimination route. The routes of elimination are urine, feces, sweat, skin shedding, hair shedding, and pus/mucus.

What provokes a healing crisis?

Naturopathy aims to avoid healing crises.  But, sometimes they are unavoidable.  Some people have a high tendency to mount strong healing crises.  With these people, we have to be careful that their therapy is gentle, keeping them as comfortable as possible.  Other bodies need a good, hard shove, and can tolerate stronger therapeutic regimes.  Magnesium is a strongly detoxing mineral whose administration can cause strong but bearable reactions such as muscle and joint pain, low grade fever, sweating and fatigue.  Don’t worry, this is just your body doing its work!  Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is also strongly detoxing, causing flushing through the skin, redness and heat.
Of course, healing crises can be provoked by other modalities.  A good, strong chiropractic adjustment can certainly throw things off for a few days as the body adjust to its new position and the eyes and ears rebalance.  A deep massage can also release acids left behind in tired muscles, leaving us achey and stiff for a day or two afterwards.  Again, this is only healing and should not be taken as alarming.
Yoga is a long term ally in the restoration of good health.  But, we do have to set goals and keep our practice current in order to really shift from one state to another.   Lately, I have been working the post Eka Pada Rajakapotâsana .  It is a powerful pose because not only do the hips and pelvis have to be fully opened and rotated, the spine is in full extension with the arms held above the head and grasping one foot behind.
I was able to enter the pose twice last weekend and it felt great.  But, it left my hips rather raw.  Not in a scary way, just in a “I know this is good for me, but…” kind of way.  Well, today my little pelvis could take no more and sent me to bed for rest.  I have had a day of classic healing crisis:  fatigue, aching joints and sore muscles.

What to do about a healing crisis?

I cannot stress enough that you should avoid anti-inflammatory and analgesic medicines if at all possible.  Let your body do its thing and your won’t prolong your suffering, nor send it deeper. All will be well within about 48 hours.  And, of course, don’t ignore symptoms if they become more acute.  Doctors are there for a reason.
Rest, take liquid, don’t worry.  If you have plans, break all but the most essential.  Be honest, people who don’t respect your need to rest and recovery are probably most in need of it themselves and will thank you for being brave enough to set the example.  I am not saying “shirk off” by any means.  I am a very reliable person who is not afraid to admit it when I need some downtime.
I wish you the very best health.

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