The healing crisis

IT is not uncommon for an individual to start off with one supplement in order to find out if it is beneficial. It is for this reason that sometimes individuals complain that they “suffer” more after taking the supplement. 

They develop symptoms not seen before and attribute these to the supplements. They are basically right since they neglect to account for the fact that an improved function in one part of the body will definitely strain the resources of another, especially if that part had not been functioning at optimal level in the first place. The supplement should be continued and the symptoms be taken as a sign that there are insufficiencies in other parts of the body. The other problems should then be addressed, with the help of a qualified health professional, so as to overcome the process known as a “healing crisis”. 


The story behind illness 

Illness does not occur without a cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed, or treated, before a person may recover completely from an illness. Symptoms express the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease. Therefore, eliminating the symptoms is not the same as elimination of the disease. As an analogy, if a large rock fell onto the foot of a person, to gag the person’s mouth to avoid the cries is futile compared to removing the rock and treating the swollen foot. It is the same when a person has a fever: administering fever medicine to reduce his temperature only serves to treat the symptom. However, the cause may be due to a bacterial or viral infection, which goes untreated. 


Healing crisis 

Symptoms, which are often mistaken for diseases, but which are actually the body’s attempt to cleanse itself, are called “healing crises”. A healing crisis or “Herxheimer Reaction”, is the result of every body-system acting together to eliminate waste products and set the stage for regeneration. Old tissues are replaced. Our body is trying to eliminate existing toxins at a faster rate than they can be disposed of. The more toxic your bodily systems are, the more detoxification is required and the more serious the healing crisis. It is different with disease crisis, which is not a natural one and that works against the body’s natural processes. 


Our eliminatory organs 

The symptoms of a healing crisis may be identical to the disease, but there is an important difference – elimination. The body must go through this elimination process to achieve good health. There will be ups and downs, and one does not immediately acquire good health. A cleansing, purifying process is in progress and stored wastes are in a free-flowing state. Then, the elimination organs are stimulated to excrete all the wastes in the body that has accumulated over the years. For example, during the road to recovery from the common cold, the urine may become cloudy or dark; the bowels move loosely; there is nausea; the lungs and sinuses excrete mucus; and the skin emits an offensive smell, along with breaking out in rashes or pimples; a fever might occur; there may be muscle spasms, headaches, flu-like symptoms or even nightmares. This is the healing crisis. 


Living in today’s state of health  

The healing crisis is essential because of the large amount of toxins accumulated in our bodies as a result of our daily exposure to pollutants in the air, water, food, as well as the medications we take. Disease only happens when any of our cells is not functioning 100% in its designated duty, whether due to trauma, toxicity, lack of communication or a combination thereof. Therefore, 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. However, if we begin a natural path of recovery, another scenario happens. These toxins stored in the cellular level will begin to break loose. They are then released into the blood and lymphatic systems to be transported as they wait for their turn for disposal. Toxins are eliminated more rapidly than they are accumulated. This is why some people feel that the agony of the healing crisis could be much greater than the disease itself! 

Supporting the healing crisis 

Generally, a healing crisis usually lasts three days, but if the energy level of the patient is low, it might drag on for a week or more. During this time, the body needs to retain the energy with adequate rest, both mental and physical, to ease the process of the healing crisis. Taking more juices and, especially, water, aids to carry off the toxins. This helps to ensure the pathways for elimination are not blocked and cell degeneration does not set in. Blockage usually happens because of treatment, of symptoms, that dries up the mucus, stops the diarrhoea, kills the fever or sweating, or changes the kidney functions. 


Herbs may help 

Our body will always try to heal itself due to our natural survival instinct. The best doctor is always our body and the best medicine is always the food that we eat. The role of herbs becomes more evident by knowing this fact. Herbs 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. Herbs do not heal. Instead, herbs help to ensure the vital force, of the body itself, does the healing. 




1. Amunus, 2003, The “Healing Crisis” questions and answers, retrieved 16 December 2003 from 

2. Burton, L (n.d.), Healing, retrieved 16 December 2003 from 

3. Chalford, G (n.d.), Understanding the healing crisis, retrieved 16 December 2003 from 

4. Hartmann, T (n.d.), The healing crisis, retrieved 16 December 2003 from 

5. Liipschutz-Robinson, S, 2003, Understanding basic healing principles of natural cure, retrieved 16 December 2003 from ww.shirleys-wellness-café.com/philo1.htm 



  • The above article is contributed by Thomson panel of health professionals. For more information e-mail The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely that of the author’s. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information. 

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