Understanding the Healing Crisis



       Understanding the healing Crisis

      → Healing vs Curing

  Healing Manifesto

Chapter 2 The Maze of Cancer

quotes of encouragement from cancer survivors to  others with cancer


The body has an inherent desire for perfect health. We have the ability to gain our way back to that state, no matter how bad our health is now. But in the meantime, the body must go through an elimination process to achieve good health.

The elimination process is often referred
to as the "healing crisis."

Anyone who has ever experienced any form of chronic  illness or condition, whether internal, such as an ulcer, or structural, such as a long-term back disability, can attest to the fact that there is a loss of energy associated with the illness. Lack of vitality always accompanies chronic health conditions, and this energy loss limits or even prevents healing. The body is stuck in a rut, so to speak; it is unable to garner its forces sufficiently to restore well-being. 


In a healing crisis, every body system works together to eliminate waste products and set the stage for regeneration. Old tissues are replaced with new. A disease occurs when the body cannot make it through its natural healing crises for one reason or another. The body is "locked" into a destructive and shut down place, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Each healing crisis will usually bring about past physical conditions and personal issues. When a healing crisis comes, do not attempt to stop it! This confuses most people because, "If I feel sick, I must be sick," when in actuality, the discomfort of the healing crisis is an indication of your own body working to heal itself, from the inside, out.


The crisis will usually bring about past conditions and personal issues. People often forget the diseases, issues, or injuries they have had in the past, but are usually reminded during the crisis so that they can heal their unfinished business. This arises in whatever order the body is capable of handling at that time.

One crisis is not always enough for a complete cure. The person in a chronic "locked" disease state will often have to go through cycles of healing crises,(sometimes it will be on the physical level, other times on the emotional and mental level) with each one improving the condition some. It has taken time to develop a chronically diseased state, and time is required to let go of the "locked" energy, piece by piece. It's like peeling the layers off an onion. With a more serious condition, there may be many small crises to go through before the system can become healthily balanced. Everything must be considered and given its proper place in the build-up to a healing crisis.


Generally, a healing crisis initiates when a person, who is undergoing some form of natural therapy, experiences some improvement.

The patient feels better and stronger, both physically and mentally. Then, without warning, the old illness  or even symptoms of by-gone illnesses reappear. When this happens, most patients become confused and discouraged, believing that all the progress they had made is now lost and that they must start over or give up. However, that is far from what is really occurring.

After one feels their very best and most energized, the body gets ready for the stage of elimination. The whole body gets into action and starts to dump toxins into the blood stream for elimination. Symptoms of the healing crisis may at first be identical to the disease it is meant to heal. It's important to make the distinction between the symptoms of dis-ease process and those of the healing process.


But there is an important difference: elimination. A cleansing, purifying process is underway and stored wastes are in a free-flowing state. If you are suffering from a major illness, the symptoms you experience during the healing crisis may be identical to the disease itself. Sometimes discomfort during the healing crisis is of greater intensity than when you were developing the chronic disease. This may explain why there may be a brief flare-up in one's condition.

When improvement occurs, vitality is restored to the body, and its self-healing mechanisms are awakened.

As healing begins, symptoms reappear as part of the body's process of eliminating diseased cells and toxins from its tissues. Hence the assessment that the healing "crisis" is actually good news because it is a sign and signal of deep healing and restoration.

The body, mind, and spirit are no longer "locked." Sometimes pain and symptoms during the healing crisis are more intense than that of the chronic disease, but it is temporary and necessary. The body, mind, and spirit are no longer "locked." Sometimes pain and symptoms during the healing crisis are more intense than that of the chronic disease, but it is temporary and necessary.


Stripping the Armor → our emotional armor

The healing crisis occurs when we begin to strip away layers of our own armor. Any practice, whether, physical, emotional, or spiritual, that begins to unravel the layers of holding could lead one into a healing crisis. A healing crisis is a time for the body to come back into balance. 

“Once again, disease is not a mistake of a stupid body; it is the body’s attempt to reorganize its energy systems to allow for a greater exchange of information and energy and thus a greater expression of consciousness.”-Donald Epstein - Healing Myths Healing Magic.


Through our chaos and cloudy thinking our body dynamics are trying to reorganize. Somehow we have become removed from nature’s natural rhythm and our body is attempting to come back to balance. It often seems that the farther we are from the flow of nature the more strongly our body attempts to bring us back into balance. The more out of touch we seem to be with our emotions and our inner experiences the more profoundly we seem to experience a healing crisis. While attempting to bring the body back to balance a healing crisis does not necessarily create new problems for the body but releases the issues that are lying dormant deep below the surface.


We often think about a healing crisis as a time when we are diagnosed with a major life-threatening disease and we finally get the message that we have not done a good job taking care of ourselves. But you do not have to have a life-threatening illness to experience a healing crisis. Any single event or repetitive stimulation could trigger a healing crisis. Shamanic journeys have been known to send people off on a healing crisis. So could a breakup of a significant change in a relationship or friendship, financial problems, childbirth, loosing a job, war, or an accident.


Many people live life numb and avoid feeling and sensation at all costs. They become alarmed when strong sensations and emotions begin to emerge. When entering into a healing crisis many of these sensations are not pleasant and can be very painful.


The medical establishment wishes to categories a healing crisis as a “breakdown”, or disease. They equate being in control at all times as the normal model for health and loss of control is equal to disease. Most people, when turning to medical professionals for help, are either hospitalized or medicated in order to suppress the symptoms. While this may help one to lessen the intensity of the experience and bring one back to normal- control- it does very little to actually help one through the healing crisis

Healing Crises are manageable and should always be much preferred to a continuation of the lifestyle that supports a painful and unpleasant degenerative disease state.


There are a wide variety of reactions that may manifest during a healing crisis, the most common are: 

Increased joint or muscle pain, Diarrhea
Extreme fatigue and/or its opposite, restlessness
Headache (believed to be caused by buildup of toxins in the blood)
Aches, Pains
Arthritic flair up
Sinus congestion
Fever (usually low grade) and/or chills
Frequent urination and/or urinary tract discharges
Drop in blood pressure
Skin eruptions, including: boils, hives, and rashes.
Cold or flu-like symptoms
Strong emotions: anger, despair, sadness, fear, etc.
Suppressed memories arise
Mood swings
New phobias develop


The body, during these times, tends to enter into a state of chaos. Extreme tiredness is another common side affect. Some people even report a sense of giddiness or silliness that does not stop.

When we experience a healing crisis we may feel disoriented. We may not feel safe going out of the house or traveling. In fact certain areas of our own home may not feel safe. We may want to hide in bed all day long or find a closet to sit in to collect our thoughts. Your body eliminates toxins faster than it can properly get rid of them. Old tissues get replaced with new tissues. In this case, you may feel physically worse before feeling better. The toxins, you are releasing, may be emotional or mental in nature. In this case, you eliminate toxic emotions or thoughts faster than you normally would. You may even feel like there is no solid ground to stand on (metaphorically speaking).

Chronic conditions may get worse, temporarily.


The intensity of the healing crisis will be dependent on how many toxins (physical, emotional, mental, etc) you have built up over time. You could end up releasing a lot. However, the process all depends on how open you are and how much you let the process move through you.

At the mental and emotional level, the intensity of the experience may also depend on how much you resist the transition in your life from the old to the new.


It takes courage to go through this process. However, when you get to the other side, you may feel calm, relaxed, peaceful, and more alive than you ever felt before. In short, you will feel better and more balanced on a physical, mental, and emotional level.

Our body is an open system. Our body can be compared to a micro-environment in nature. Rivers feed water into wetlands. It is here that the water is purified and cleaned by plants that feed on pollutants and algae. The water then enters the ocean where it is evaporated and turned into rain. The rain falls and fills lakes, which feed back into rivers and start the cycle all over again.

Our body is very similar. We were meant to have everything flow through us, from our waste products to our energy flow. But many times something is blocking this flow and release from of us. We are like a river that has become damned up with silt. We became plugged up or frozen somewhere along our journey. A healing crisis attempts to unblock that which is blocked and return us back to our natural flow.

Consider that the mind has been suppressing emotions and thought patterns... not just for a few years in this one life, but lifetimes in many different bodily forms. Heal these feelings and emotions is important to heal your life from aches and pains to heal your body. In any case, no matter how long such things are ignored, it's not going to magically clear up all by itself.

Within the healing process, when you are sensing these unpleasant feelings, thoughts, or memories occurring, it's a sure sign they are on their way up and out of you, verse remaining stuck, hidden inside. When this is occurring, do not listen to the words of fear the ego-mind gives you to give up on the healing work (quite the contrary, this may be a good time to do even more).

It is often at the very pinnacle of a major breakthrough that the most negative stuff appears. If you allow your stuff to stop you from continuing the healing - it wins, you lose.

As human beings, there are so many things we have a hard time doing – working through our stuff is one of them. This is why Spirit has brought you this healing work. As long as you are willing, we will help you move through this stuff as fast and easy as possible – but it is your choice to do so or not.

Recognizing a healing crisis in yourself or others is the first step in working through it. No, you are not crazy. Give it a name. Say to yourself, “ I am experiencing a healing crisis as my body is attempting to come back to balance.” Honor this place.

A healing crisis is nature’s way to help us heal old wounds. We are as much a part of nature as the rivers and plants. Nature will clear off old brush in a forest and sprout new seeds by igniting a brush fire with a lightning strike. We are no different. Nature creates a firestorm in us to bring us back into harmony. Allow nature to be your guide.


While you are experience an healing crisis you may feel:

Over Sensitive

Healing of any kind takes up a tremendous amount of physical and psychic energy to process... if you are subject to any additional stimulation, this may add more fuel to that fire. If so, you may experience such an exaggerated sensitivity to your surroundings that you may become intolerant to and easily overwhelmed by external stimulation of any kind ... be they odd random noises, music, traffic sounds, the TV, people talking, bright or multi colored lights, a smell, strong foods, jarring movements, a touch, or even textures. When you are feeling "fed up", take a break - do something or go somewhere that helps you process your stuff in peace: exercise at the gym, go for a walk in the park, take a leisurely drive out to the country... you can even stay in your room and sleep. Whatever works for you, do it.

Abandoned Lost and Lonely

You may have very strong feelings about not belonging...
feeling alienated, isolated, estranged and misunderstood... not fitting in to your work place, home, culture or community... feeling as if you are done with life and have no other purpose or meaning.You may feel like ending it all (understandable, but not the answer).

Dazed and Confused

You may go through phases when you feel spaced out, your speech may be muddled or confused, and you may have a hard time remembering things. You may think you are going insane or must have some serious mental illness... but this is not so. The spacey sensations indicate that your mind is opening up and expand into new and more liberated ways of thinking, feeling and being - you are starting to experience reality outside the box.

Change in  your Preferences or Personality

You may start to develop a distaste or dislike for the more mundane things in life... such as trivial or argumentative conversations, sports or other amusements and activities, certain kinds of music and movies, drinking alcohol or smoking, synthetic medicines or recreational drugs, your current job or profession, old hobbies and interests, familiar haunts and comfortable habits, politics and parties, national religious or cultural biases, stereotypical attitudes or behaviors, meaningless sexual relationships... family, friends, partners or acquaintances - you may now discover how little you have in common with. All these changes indicate that your energies and vibrations are no longer in alignment to the old - you are being pushed to let go and move on. You are changing from the inside out - becoming a different person... and so too will you want to have and do different things in your life.


Unexpected events occur that are so unusual and unreal.
People you had nothing in common - are now friends.
Plans made in the past are feeling not right
and you suddenly make surprising new choices.
You are finally breaking out of old patterns
experiencing new ways of thinking feeling and being
...and this is just the start...

 How to Handle a Healing Crisis?


  • Let it happen as it wants to...not how you judge or think it should be.

  • Things will shift and change in their own way.

  • If you try to control - this will block the flow and make your process ever so much longer.

  • If you try to resist - this will use up life energy and make your process ever so much harder (and make you very tired).

  • Give yourself space and time to "be" with what is happening alone or with those who are understanding.

  • Don't project or blame onto others... everything you feel is your stuff - your responsibility... but the healing work will help you. 

It is very difficult to handle any crisis alone, especially a healing crisis. You may feel disoriented and confused. Decision-making may not come easy. Find support with loved ones or family. Rely on your intimate friends to take care of you. If you do not have many close friends who can or are willing to support you then seek out a professional. A professional therapist, especially one oriented to transpersonal issues would be very helpful.
Link: Transpersonal therapy: transpersonal councelling

  • Go as slowly as your body needs so your elimination is gradual and comfortable.
  • Ask for help. It is almost impossible to take care of yourself in the same manner when experiencing a healing crisis. Financially, emotionally, and logistically, a healing crisis takes its toll on us. In more nature based communities the village pulls together when someone is in any sort of crisis. Find your village and have the courage to ask for help.  Link: Reach out for help

 Journaling healing through writing

I suggest you keep a written journal of any and all experiences or sensations that occur during your healing sessions. Include any new inspirations, understandings, messages, dreams, “coincidental” events and shifts in feelings that come to you later on in the week. This should help you be more consciously aware of the subtle intricacies of what is happening - and how the healing are affecting your being. In other words, writing this information down helps you conceptually or "mentally" integrate and keep track of your own progress. Journaling is also an excellent way for you to communicate with and develop a stronger more conscious relationship with your own Higher Self and spirit guides. Write down your needs. You may need to spend more time alone from friends and loved ones. This could threaten a partner in a relationship. You may need more sleep. You may need to work less or not at all. You may need help taking care of the children while you spend some time working through your crisis.Link: Journaling

  • Surrender to the experience.

Fighting the healing crisis will only suppress it. You may continue to try to do the same amount of things, as you are accustomed to doing only to find yourself being dragged down. It requires a significant amount of energy to work through a healing crisis. This may feel like having another job. You may have to lighten your load for a while or re - prioritize your life for now.

Link Creative Therapies creative soul therapies

  • Ground yourself. 

Be out in nature. Nature is a wonderful healer and teacher. Avoid over stimulation and find your solitude in nature. Do not use food or other addictions to suppress these new feelings and sensations. Try to eat a nature-based diet. Link: nutrition and diet

  • Find a sanctuary.

Where is a safe place to be? Do you need to be alone or with others? Is your bed or another safe place the right sanctuary for you? Some people even find themselves sitting in a closet to gain perspective.

  • Receive massages and bodywork.

Allow yourself to be comforted. Significant physical and emotional pain might be coming up for you. Take time to nurture yourself. For many the act of being touched helps us come back to relaxation and feelings of safety.

  • Keep moving.

Depression sets in when the energy of emotion does not flow out of us. Walking, hiking, tai chi, or light yoga can be very helpful. Stressful movements may be counterproductive to you during this time. You may feel shame for not having the energy to exercise in your normal fashion. Allow yourself to be a little lazier, even if it means putting on a few extra pounds during this time by not exercising so briskly. You can always take it off when you have passed through the healing crisis.


Frankly, it’s not advisable for someone with an illness to purposely induce a Healing Crisis without the supervision of a trained, knowledgeable health care practitioner. A Healing Crisis should not be provoked unless you are under the care or guidance of a person or organization experienced with patient care and management during and after such an intense event.

The only other prerequisite to justify self-inducement of a Healing Crisis is if the person has successfully undergone this intense event previously.

The entire disease reversal process - culminating in one or more Healing Crisis events - should never be taken lightly. The re - visitation of acute pain, anguish, emotional and mental irregularities and other - often peculiar - psychological and physiological disturbances can wreak havoc with someone unschooled about such matters.


Perhaps the best way to sum up the difference between a Disease Crisis and a Healing Crisis is as follows:

During a Disease Crisis the body usually has great difficulty expelling toxic waste. The accumulation of this morbid matter throughout the body leads from acute to sub acute tissue inflammation. If the condition is left unchecked the sub acute symptoms can deteriorate to chronic or degenerative disease. 

During the disease reversal process, resulting in a Healing Crisis, the body experiences many of the same symptoms present during a Disease Crisis. The two exceptions are that the symptoms generally last no longer than a few days and all of the body’s channels of waste elimination work very hard to expel toxic waste - particularly fecal matter, urine and catarrh.


When the Healing Crisis has run its course whatever unpleasant physiological, emotional and mental symptoms you may have experienced during that event will probably not come back to trouble you again during your life if you learn to care for your body properly.

It goes without saying that not every healing crisis will have a "fairy-tale ending," but every effort you make, regardless of how insignificant it may seem to you, will always bring you closer to a state of spiritual and physical health."


 Next page: Healing vs Curing

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