What To Expect During The Healing Crisis

Riley Coules
January 30, 2017

Much like that delineated on in The Emotions Of Detoxification, both the homeopathic and herbal healing journeys feature a bit of déjà vu (one method is superior to the other, however, the reasonings of which I will explicate below…).

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In fact, homeopathic healing is all déjà vu as the vital force works backward toward the source of illness, restoring equilibrium in this manner:

  • From the most vital organs to the least

The body naturally heals the most compromised systems first as they pose the greatest threat to function and typically worsen as the vital force succumbs to disorder.

  • From top to bottom

Headaches tend to dissipate first, symptoms had by the extremities last. Furthermore, any symptoms strongly associated with dysfunction of the mind will be addressed initially, such as insomnia, incoherence, etc. Emotions corresponding with the progression of disease will remain applicable throughout treatment regardless, however they will take lesser forms.

  • From the inside out

The body will push toxicity from the innermost products of disease outward, often through skin rashes, acne, warts, etc.

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THE CRISIS

A “crisis” accommodates insufficient or burdensome detoxification, wherein the temporary amplification of pre-existing symptoms may cause more discomfort to an individual than that caused by the illness itself, especially to hypersensitive patients (think Arsenicum and Phosphorus constitutions, amongst others). The healing crisis is often referred to as a Herxheimer Reaction in herbology (mainly as it has to do with the digestive tracts), or an aggravation in homeopathy (which can correspond with any ailment); both are to be avoided. Homeopaths will work to minimize the potential for aggravations because they place unnecessary stress on an already-depressed system; however, they are an indication that the right remedy, or simillimum, has been chosen. Any associated symptoms will dissipate after a few hours to a few days depending on the strength of the subject at the beginning of treatment regardless. In extreme cases, aggravations may last longer, or even fail to initiate a curative response from the vital force if disorder has permanently depressed homeostatic mechanisms; the illness, then, cannot be cured. In homeopathy (rather, reality), the symptoms accompanying any disease process reflect the body and mind’s attempt to restore themselves; thus, it is their suppression with allopathic medicine- via superficial treatment, which neglects to rectify underlying causation- that most often leads to incurability. Otherwise, mere time may be at fault: the longer the vital force is depressed, the less apt it is to bounce back.

The only “acceptable”, and nearly necessary, aggravation is that which occurs toward the end of an individual’s healing journey with one remedy; once the final dose is applied, symptoms may return and intensify once again- perhaps more than they had in doses prior- before dissipating. No further doses are needed (4). The remedy has little left to cure and thus proves itself.

 

Mild aggravations may follow each dose of an individual’s remedy, due to which all symptoms intensify yet again. If these reactions are oppressive (lasting longer than a few hours…), or do not reduce in stature as the vital force grows stronger, a lower potency should be utilized; similarly, if healing appears to have leveled off, a higher potency may be prescribed to counteract the energy trapping the vital force in illness. Lower potencies may produce the same effect when taken more frequently, but this method can prove tedious and rather difficult for a homeopath to regulate. Further, what each remedy is designed to heal can vary with potency (higher potencies run deeper). Homeopaths do not tend to prescribe scheduled dosing, as dosing varies greatly from person to person; rather, patients must correspond with their practitioners on a regular basis to determine when to take their remedy, a process that may require a little back and forth and some trial and error to fully hone. Liquid dosing tends to be advantageous because it allows homeopaths to successfully treat hypersensitive patients, those that react too heavily to remedies in pill form, as well as to control the course of the healing journey with potentially just one potency. Remedies in liquid doses can be inhaled, taken in 8oz of water, 16oz of water, 24oz of water, and so on.

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Lower dosages of herbs, however, allow patients to control their reactions to healing without sacrificing the stimulation required by the vital force to engage in the homeopathic curative process. Remedies compel the body to mend itself via a vaccine-like methodology, while herbs kill pathogens directly, prompting the body to eliminate their by-products; herbs will kill pathogens no matter the quantity utilized, but may result in suppression. I do not recommend cleansing with herbs due to their tendency to suppress (only eradicating the result of disorder- pathogenic overgrowth- not the disorder itself), as well as their negligence of the whole system. Homeopathic remedies heal the totality of the individual, from the latest portions of the disease process to its earliest stages, from one’s heart disorder to the allergies they suffered from as a kid… Unfortunately, if the body does not detoxify easily and painlessly with even minute doses of herbs, for it has been too depleted by disorder to initiate its own curative process, true restoration- from top to bottom, inside out, and all around- will be sacrificed; the body cannot regenerate itself even as it is given enough time to do so in the absence of pathogenic overgrowth. Herbs are better suited for maintenance, wherein even healthful food choices incite healing (the vegan diet works wonders to eliminate mild pathogenic overgrowth!). When nixing refined sugars, processed foods, and perhaps meat and dairy cannot eliminate gastrointestinal issues, homeopathy must be sought to effect a cure.

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Homeopaths ideally choose the smallest possible potency that incites the highest degree of comfortable healing. Again, the idea here is to reduce the amount of stress placed on the body, evident in “gentle, rapid, and permanent restoration” (1): physical and mental symptoms will steadily improve, and the detoxifier will notice an enhanced quality of life as the vital force secures control. The restoration process will snowball as strength is regained; the body can handle higher potencies, and bounces back quickly from any aggravations accidentally caused by “overdosing”. Herbal cleanses require breaks, perhaps a few weeks at a time, to allow the body to rest and recharge; constant detoxification places stress on digestive organs. Those utilizing homeopathy need not worry, however, for their detox methodology arises out of healing their digestive organs.

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Most healing journeys with one remedy follow a standard formula in chronic cases. Patients under the care of a homeopath will take their prescribed remedy more and more as they approach the “peak” of the healing process, at which time they may need to take it multiple times in one day, or every day for a short period of time. Vital forces that have been seriously depleted by disorder may require multiple intervals of biweekly dosing, weekly dosing, every-other-day dosing, etc. until it is strong enough to maintain either more frequent dosing or less frequent dosing (depending on the stage at which one heals). If this temporary increase in frequency fails to sustain the healing process, a higher potency is necessary to continue treatment. Following the peak dosing level (which always occurs at the highest potency utilized), both the frequency of dosing and the potency itself will decrease over time in order to allow the body to acclimate to homeostasis. Thus, the restoration journey in some ways follows the plotline of a book: the beginning comprises a build-up of sorts, the peak- a climax, and the ending resembles a reduction in activity as well as a solidification of any lessons learned. 

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Note that in chronic cases, 30C potencies are often introduced first (stronger vital forces can handle 200C and upwards, with the exception of severely depleted vital forces perhaps needing 200C just to stimulate a response). The 30C potency may eventually fail to stimulate a response as the patient grows stronger (and the disease process delves deeper), due to which a 200C potency will likely be prescribed. After some time, the patient will return to a 30C potency, and likely finish with that potency. Healing processes typically end in 30C potencies, although not always. Some rather vital patients, or cases wherein only the mentals figure strongly, will be able to handle an upwards of 50M potencies. These potencies are only reserved for those without significant physical pathology. Never take a remedy without being prescribed one by a licensed homeopath!

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THE NATURE OF HEALING

  • Both homeopathic and herbal regimens revisit former facets of the disease process; however, while the homeopathic healing journey necessarily works backward toward the source of illness, herbal crises are cyclical. The body works in intervals, concomitant with interval dosing, about a few days to a week long in duration, wherein the beginning and end of each interval resembles corresponding segments of the former week. This journey will become easier over time. Progress can then be tracked accordingly, even when old symptoms keep returning (albeit in lesser forms). Some symptoms may remain as such all throughout treatment, such as flatulence, or dissipate and return as the healing process moves forward (kind of like peeling away layers of an onion).

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  • Other old symptoms may be represented in different ways; for example, when I lost my appetite throughout 2015, I also lost excessive amounts of weight. When I experienced this symptom under treatment, however, I actually maintained a bit of “pudge”. By the time I sought the advice of a homeopath, my adrenals were utterly depleted; however, because my body was healing, it was able to revisit former facets of the disease process with autonomy- that is, the ability to experience past symptoms without succumbing to the havoc they had formerly wreaked.

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  • New symptoms may arise even as others so obviously reflect the past. Despite the blatant dysfunction of my digestive tract throughout 2015, I never noticed any oddball sensations in my organs. By the time I sought the advice of a homeopath, however, I had pains in my gallbladder and spleen- but never my liver. All throughout treatment, I experienced various sensations in all of my organs- burning, searing, radiating, etc.; this is a normal part of healing and will dissipate over time. You may not even have them depending on how low you start. 

 

  • You may experience symptoms you never really noticed before, or that were suppressed by a disease process that had progressed. For example, when I neared the end of any remedy, when the majority of my digestive distress attributed to that remedy had been rectified, I often had pink eye or allergies. The vital force not only works backward toward the source of illness, but its beginnings, necessarily.

*Note that if you immediately experience symptoms you have never experienced before after taking the first dose of your remedy, and your own symptoms are not improving, you have been prescribed the wrong one. Contact your homeopath immediately. Most of the intenser symptoms you’re aware of should begin improving right away (save any time attributed to aggravation), and only later on in your healing journey will you revisit former, lesser facets of the disease process, those that you have perhaps forgotten about/remained ignorant to, such as the aforementioned pink eye or allergies. Experiencing “flu-like symptoms” that accompany the improvement of your main symptoms is normal too.

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  • Homeopathic regimens that are not specifically targeted at the digestive tract may surprisingly improve its function, as illness in the body is reflected within the mind and vice versa. Oftentimes remedies that rectify mood-related complaints resolve GI issues as well, whether the patient knows they possess deformities in this area or not. For example, Ignatia mainly treats loss, yet those that fit the description may suffer from constipation (unbeknownst to them) or loss of appetite (also unbeknownst to them; consider how many women in America consume roughly 1200 calories a day, and still can’t lose weight! The digestive system is traumatized- permanently disordered- and thus does not function to its full potential). At this point, emotional suppression has manifested pathologically, a phenomenon known in homeopathy as hysteria (different, obviously, than the purely mental hysteria you’re probably familiar with).

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  • Expect an amplification of the symptoms of healing, both mental and physical, every time you take your remedy- even when you don’t cause an aggravation. The strength of one dose will diminish with time; thus, the day prior (or hours prior) to taking another one will necessarily feature milder healing. Moreover, certain times of day, every day, may heighten manifestations of disorder, and thus manifestations of the restoration process.

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  • Symptoms of the mind (more on that here and here) will dwindle until the altered personality no longer remains. The journey to the unaffected identity will occur in stages, concomitant with the amelioration of any corresponding physical afflictions. As I grew less bloated and fatigued, I felt more like myself (despite how long I had been gone, coming back down to reality felt so right). This portion of my journey, as I may have mentioned, incited the most awe and disbelief at what I have gone through: I went from a control-driven maniac, on edge 24/7, to utterly grateful for my ability to merely take a breath. As my body healed, I correlated certain facets of my personality to the times in my life in which they were most applicable. For example, I began my treatment with an intense yearn for security. I never went out (nor did I have the energy or social wherewithal to do so), I kept tabs on my level of constipation, and I could not relax despite being severely fatigued. My thoughts raced incessantly, and fear- of my restlessness, my heart, and the body that trapped me in a perpetual state of anguish- tarnished my perceptions of the past (who was I?), the future (will I ever feel grounded?), and if life would ever be life again (what is it like to simply exist?). These fears dissipated with the restoration process (as they will for you), reducing in intensity as time went on, until I barely noticed them (and I no longer analyzed them either; see Arsenicum). Fear within the mind echoes panic within the body; as such, easing the suffering of the corporeal will restore harmony within mental processes. 

 

  • NOTE MIASMS, the “never well since” remedies. These should be prescribed first in chronic cases because healing with them makes one feel less like a sick person and more like someone that can go about their daily life with some symptoms (associated with other remedies) still thwarting true freedom (3). In the body, expressed miams (we all have them, just like we all embody certain constitutions, even when well; they just lie dormant until disorder takes hold) typically reflect depletion, a marked inability to cope. Miasm remedies also prevent symptoms from other remedies from relapsing. Sulphur, for example, is notable for its self-destruction via analytical evaluation of emotions/phenomena that should just be. Notice the correlation between mental self-destruction physical complaints that relapse. Prior to Sulphur- and throughout the duration of that remedy, to some degree- I felt a little more impulsive with my words and actions, feeding into my wants and needs, even though I no longer harbored the irritability of Arsenicum (see The Remedies That Healed for details of my treatment). Sulphur is, therefore, the “teenage remedy”, although it is also the philosopher’s remedy, destined for those with an analytical mind, as well as a predisposition to question, rebel, and lead. Sulphur in a state of disequilibrium, however, will suffer from depression and lack of motivation, which will quell zir inclination to implement any original ideas (in my case, via writing). Sulphur then resembles an “…armchair philosopher, who has an answer for all the world’s problems, but never lifts a finger” (2). Sulphur often stands in zir own way of the prosperity ze could easily achieve. In a miasmatic state, I would also question my own happiness, thinking “it could be this way [less happy]”… The aforementioned description applies most notably to the psora miasm (click the miasm link at the beginning of the paragraph to learn more).

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  • You will likely take multiple remedies, some constitutional (we embody different constitutions at different times in our lives, and are certainly born predisposed to certain ones; you thus may require different remedies to treat different traumas), to heal your chronic condition. If you’ve read my depictions of Arsenicum, Phosphorus, or Ignatia, you might question how certain qualities associated with each of those remedies could coexist with one another in one lifeform. The simple answer: animals are highly complex beings, with an abundance of motives guiding their behaviors. Humans specifically are pulled each way- toward obligations, parties, isolationist tendencies, and other engagements; we often find ourselves conflicted as a result of the complicated lives we live. It is the conflict within that often reflects the conflict between two or more remedies, that which allows us to grow; because disorder amplifies the lower self and drives the fulfillment of urges, our genuine desires- the pursuit of what’s best for us, which should be one in the same-  become that much harder to decipher. Moreover, “characteristic complexes” attributed to various remedy types expressed in one individual may be comprised of qualities that actually function well together, or form new qualities. 

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  •  A word to the wise: let healing take hold and do not get hung up on what is changing, what isn’t changing, and if you’ll always suffer in some context that remains as such throughout the duration of one remedy (most chronic cases require multiple to heal!). Trust that you will make a full recovery, because we’ve been blessed with the means to restore ourselves, and thus learn ourselves, following the trauma that disordered our identities. The aforementioned is possible despite what you have been led to believe, and it will happen despite any pessimistic or dubious thoughts Big Pharma has allowed to oppress you (by not healing you properly, that is).

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THE SYMPTOMS OF HEALING

Keep in mind that most digestive issues worsen the week prior to and during the full moon, and to a lesser degree the new moon; the symptoms associated with die-off, whether by virtue of a homeopathic regimen or herbal cleanse, will resemble this fate. You may need more doses of your remedy at this time to keep the vital force moving forward.

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  • a general lessening of symptoms associated with one’s disorder over time, plus the aforementioned modifications of those symptoms, or resurrection of old symptoms that had been suppressed
  • insomnia
  • constipation and/or diarrhea
  • changes in stool consistency
  • various sensations in the organs (burning, stitching, stinging, radiating, etc.)
  • gurgling noises (the body at war!!)
  • movement in the abdomen and organs (my spleen and gallbladder would “jump” up and down)
  • weight loss/weight gain when needed; otherwise, weight fluctuations may be attributed to one’s mental state… restoring one’s capacity to be happy will take zir focus off of food. Similarly, someone with controlling, eating-disordered behavior may eat foods freely that had previously “not been allowed”.
  • a change in body composition (in the beginning of my treatment my stomach was very flabby, typically a sign of low-functioning adrenals)
  • flatulence
  • bloating
  • hunger
  • fatigue
  • shitty hair (an avenue of toxic-release)
  • body odor
  • skin rashes
  • acne, old friend!
  • sore gums
  • night sweats
  • elevated heart rate
  • the emergence of new symptoms that were previously masked, which a different remedy will treat if your current regimen does not resolve them
  • the heightened subconscious: fears, emotions, sensitivities, anxieties come to the forefront of the mind, and cannot be suppressed
  • nightmares
  • dreams of moral wrongs
  • dreams of unacknowledged emotion
  • dreams of loved ones that have passed
  • dreams regarding a former lifestyle
  • dreams of people you need to apologize to
  • lascivious dreams
  • dreams of the lower self you’re kind of aware of but you avoid dealing with
  • emotional instability
  • anxiety (both mental and physical); if your illness did not cause you physical anxiety to begin with (heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, etc.), you will not have anxiety while healing. You may have a hard time dealing with any suppressed emotion, however, and this may cause you to feel uncomfortable.
  • feeling off-balance/unsettled
  • feeling in awe at how happy you are/could have been for so long if only you had known homeopathy existed
  • the desire to tell everyone about how happy they could be/how they should go see your homeopath
  • irritation with people who won’t listen to you/get irritated with you because you won’t stop talking about it
  • frustration with Big Pharma
  • gratitude for nature
  • feeling enlightened/in tune with yourself
  • feeling like this is the dawn of a new era
  • a pronounced ego and subsequent moral battle. You’re going through this the hard way, but the right way- and certainly the most rewarding way. You could just live the rest of your life drinking/smoking/partying away your problems with a sure inability to truly feel, or you could restore your capacity to relish in everyday experience, to love (life, the self, others) like you never have, all the while grasping at every opportunity to fulfill as opposed to stifle. It’s your choice. Regeneration isn’t for the faint of heart, but neither is perpetual suffering; life forces us to learn our most valuable lessens when we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Resources:

  1. Hahnemann, Samuel. Organon of Medicine. Gazelle Distribution Trade, 2009. Print.
  2. Lilley, David. “Sulphur”. British Homeopathic. British Homeopathic Association, n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.
  3. McCabe, Vinton. Let Like Cure Like. St Martins Press, 1997. Print.
  4. Schuett, Katja. “Aggravation in Homeopathy.” Hpathy.com. N.p., 20 June 2013. Web. 16 June 2017.