What is a Healing Crisis?
By Dr Stanley Bass,
N.D. D.C. Ph.D.
If I were asked which is the greatest misunderstanding and confusion in the field of nutrition, I would respond, "to properly understand and interpret the symptoms and changes that follow the beginnings of a better nutritional program - (A healing crisis)"
Now, what happens when a person follows the rules and makes a decided improvement in the quality of food consumed?
Remarkable things begin to happen to the body as well as the mind. The amazing intelligence present in every cell of the body and the wisdom of the body in its operation immediately becomes manifest.
The rule may be stated thus: When the quality of food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissue that the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower grade materials and tissues and makes room for the superior materials that make new and healthier tissue.
What are the symptoms or signs that become evident when we first begin to omit the lower grade food and instead introduce superior foods-those that are more alive, more natural than those we are accustomed to?
When the use of toxic stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate or cocoa is suddenly stopped, headaches are common, and a letdown (healing crisis) occurs. This is due to the discard by the body, of toxins called caffeine and theobromine, which are removed from the tissues and transported through the blood stream during its many bodily rounds. Before the toxins agents reach their final destination for elimination, these irritants register in our consciousness as pain-in other words, headache.
The letdown is due to the slower action of the heart - the resting phase that follows the stimulation of more rapid heart action forced on the body by certain poisons called stimulants. The more rapid heartbeat (or pulse) produces a feeling of exhilaration, and the slower action produces a depressed state of mind.
Usually, within three days, the symptoms vanish and we feel stronger due to the recuperation that follows.
To a lesser extent, the same process occurs when we abandon lower quality foods and replace them with better foods. Lower quality foods have undergone more preparation.
Spices, salt and other ingredients have been added, and they tend to be more stimulating than less prepared and more natural foods. Animal food, such as meat, fowl, fish etc, is more stimulating than cheeses, nuts and vegetable proteins. Consequently the withdrawal of stimulation, which follows the abandonment of animal food produces a slower heart action, a resting phase that registers to the mind as relaxation or a decrease in energy.
This initial letdown (healing crisis) lasts about ten days or slightly longer, and is followed by an increase of strength, a feeling of diminishing stress and great well-being.
Now, let us return to the symptoms that occur in the process of regeneration.
The person who starts a better diet, stays on it for three days to a week and then quits, will say, "Oh, I felt better on the old diet - the new one makes me feel weak". He failed because he did not give his body a chance to adjust and complete its first phase of action, recuperation. If he had waited a while longer, he would have begun to feel better than before he started.
During this initial phase (lasting about ten days on the average, to several weeks in others), the vital energies that are usually in the periphery or external parts of the body, such as the muscles and skin, begin to move to the vital internal organs and start reconstruction. This shunting of much of the power to the internal region produces a feeling of less energy in the muscles, which the mind interprets as some weakness.
Actually power is increased, but most of it is being used for rebuilding the more important organs, and less of it is available for muscular work.
Any weakness that is felt here is not a true weakness, but merely a redeployment of forces to the more important internal parts. Here it is important for the person to stop wasting energy, and rest and sleep more. This is a crucial phase, and if the person resorts to stimulants of any kind, he will abort and defeat the regeneration intent of the body.
It is important that he have patience and just wait it out and after awhile he will get an increasing strength that will exceed what he felt before he began the new program. Success in recovery or improvement of health hinges upon the correct understanding of this point - realizing that the body is using its main energies in more important internal work and not wasting it in external work involving muscle movements.
Be wise - take it easy and relax. Just coast in your work and social obligations until you are out of the woods.
As one continues on the improved diet and gradually raises the food quality, interesting symptoms begin to appear. The body begins a process called "retracing".
The cellular intelligence reasons something like this "Oh! Look at all those fine materials coming in. How wonderful - now we have a chance to get rid of this old garbage and build a beautiful new house.
Let us get started immediately. Let us get this excess bile out of the liver and gall bladder and send it to the intestines for elimination. Let us get this sludge moving out of the arteries, veins and capillaries. These smelly, gassy, brain-stupefying masses have been here too long- out with them! These arthritic deposits on the joints need cleaning up. Let us get these irritating food preservatives such as aspirins, sleeping pills and drugs out of the way, along with these other masses of fat that have made life so burdensome for us for so long."
During the first phase of the healing crisis (called catabolism), the accent is on elimination or breaking down of tissue. The body begins to clean house - in short, to remove the garbage deposited in all the tissues. Wastes are discarded more rapidly and new tissue is made from the new food. This becomes evident as weight loss. This persists for a while then is followed by the second phase-stabilization.
Here the weight remains more or less stable. During this phase, the amount of waste material being discarded daily is equal to the amount of tissue that is being formed and replaced by the newer, more vital food. This occurs after the excess of obstructing material in the tissues has been removed. This stage persists for a while and is then followed by a third phase - a build up period (called anabolism), wherein weight starts to go even though the diet is lower in calories than it was before. At this point, much or more of the interfering wastes have been discarded.
Returning to the symptoms that occur on a superior nutritional program - people who have had tendencies in the past to recurring skin rashes or eruptions will frequently tend to eliminate poisons and harmful drugs through the skin with new rashes and eruptions. If they go to a doctor now who is not familiar with this aspect of nutrition, he will diagnose it as an allergy.
They ask, "How come I am eating better than I ever did before and instead I'm getting worse?" They don't understand that the body is "retracing" The skin is getting more alive and active. It is throwing out more poisons more rapidly.
Headaches may occur at the beginning, fever and/or colds may also appear, the skin may break out, there may be a short interval of bowel sluggishness, diarrhea, feeling of tiredness and weakness, disinclination to exercise, nervousness, irritability, negativity, mental depression, frequent urination, etc.
However the great majority of people find their reactions tolerable and are encouraged to bear with them. With some, colds that have not appeared for a long time may occur, or even fevers.
Understand that these actions are constructive, even though unpleasant at the moment. Do not try to stop these symptoms by the use of certain drugs. These symptoms are part of a curing process; so don't try to cure a cure. These are NOT necessarily deficiency problems or allergic manifestations.
The symptoms will vary according to the material being discarded, the condition of the organs involved in the elimination, and the amount of energy you have available. The more you rest and sleep when the symptoms are present, the milder they are and the more quickly they are terminated. Be happy you are having symptoms. Realized deeply that your body is becoming younger and healthier every day. You are throwing off more and more wastes that would eventually have brought pain, disease, and following through to their successful termination, avoiding some of the worst diseases that would eventually have developed had you continued your careless eating habits.
Do not expect to go on an ascending scale of quality. Do not expect that improving your diet will make you feel better and better each day until you reach perfection. The body is cyclical in nature. And health returns in a series of gradually diminishing cycles. For example, you may start a better diet and for a while you feel much better. After some time, a symptom occurs - you may feel nauseous for a day and have diarrhea with a foul smelling stool. After a day, you feel better than ever before, and all goes fine for a while. Then you suddenly develop a cold, feel chills, and lose your appetite. After about two or three days (assuming you do not take drugs or do anything else about it), you suddenly develop an itch or rash. You still do not take anything special for it. This rash flares up, gets worse, and continues for ten days, and immediately subsides. Immediately after this, you find your hepatitis is gone and your energy has increased more than ever before. The rash became an outlet for the poisons in the liver, which produced the hepatitis. This is how recovery occurs.
You recover and go even higher. And so it goes - each reaction milder than the last as the body becomes purer, each becoming shorter in duration and being followed by a longer and longer period of feeling better than ever before, until you reach a level plateau of vibrant health. Let us give ourselves, through our "healing crisis" a chance to experience what it means to be really healthy and fully alive.
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The statements enclosed herein about the healing crisis have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your family doctor.