Healing Crisis

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What is a Healing Crisis or Herxheimer Reaction?

A healing crisis or Herxheimer reaction may occur when the vital forces within the body build up enough strength to handle detoxification. Also called: flare-ups, crises, retracing reactions, Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions, Lucio’s Phenomena, die-off reactions, purification reactions, the reversal process, aggravations or exacerbations.

A healing crisis manifests when the body is ready.

For example:

  1. You have caught up on your rest.
  2. You have stopped taking drugs/chemicals/alcohol and other nutrients that are not working for you.
  3. You replace old and destructive eating patterns with new healthy eating patterns.
  4. You have cleansed enough from your system to strengthen the nervous system or blood supply.

Eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables:

  • Improves oxygen utilization
  • Helps burn up waste products in the system
  • Stabilizes the bloods pH and makes it more alkaline. This, in turn, gives the body energy to fight off disease, so that it can detoxify and rebuild (in that order).

Note: Cooked, processed, or pasteurized fruits and vegetables are devoid of enzymes. Heat kills many vitamins. Cooked fruits will make the body more acidic. Disease only survives in acid bodies, so you really need to eat raw foods for optimal health. Consuming three servings EACH or raw fruits and vegetables is the minimum for optimal health.

Hering’s law of cure:  All cure comes from within the central core of your body first, then moves outward and from the top of your body, down to your feet and  in reverse order in which the first symptoms occurred.

Working from the head downward, one must clear old thought patterns, attitudes, and feelings and replace them with new healthier thought patterns, attitudes and feelings.

The following symptoms may occur occasionally during a healing crisis (these are a signs that “housecleaning” is occurring):

Fever, swollen limbs/face, headaches, mobilization of mucous, weakness, weight-loss, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other digestive disorders, pains resurfacing, worsening of existing symptoms, rapid pulse, skin eruptions, and some say they feel like their world is “collapsing”.

Yuk. Why would you want to feel like that!? And how do you tell if you are going through a healing crisis or just another bout of disease?  Good question….Read on….

The Answer:  You can only get better, permanently, by shifting back into time. Therefore, you may have to experience some uncomfortable brief symptoms. You know when you are having a healing crisis because:

  1. The crisis usually lasts only one to three days. The symptoms can be so mild that you may not recognize that it is a healing crisis.
  2. At the end of the healing crisis you feel much better than before the healing crisis occurred.
  3. You are eating all the right things and up until the healing crisis have had a good attitude.
  4. You know you are making changes in your lifestyle and are working on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of your life.
  5. You are mentally prepared to get through the healing.
  6. You may have just pampered yourself with some kind of bodywork—this sometimes stimulates a healing crisis. This is a good thing.

If you are truly sick, the symptoms above feel awful as time progresses. The symptoms are more than transient and more than mild. In your gut you know you don’t feel right.  You don’t feel that higher plane of health. See a doctor or your favorite healer for advice and drink lots of water.

I remember going through my own healing crisis. Once in college I had a pig tip a fence panel on top of my foot, breaking my big toe. I could not walk on it for more than a week and boy was it black and blue.

During a healing crisis 16 years after that incident, the same toe turned black and blue. I had not done anything to it and it didn’t hurt at all. It was so strange. The bruise went away in three days. I recognized it as a healing crisis because I had just worked through other dis-eases. I was studying to be a naturopath at the time and had made a list of all the physical disturbances and diseases I had experienced in my life.  I reviewed some of the other symptoms that had come up in the last 60 days and working backwards from the most recent diseases backward, the toe incident was in that time frame of healing.

As healing crisis symptoms come up (if they do), they will last just a fraction of the time of the original disease and not be as severe.

Chemicals and drugs will come out of the body as well when the body builds sufficient energy and strength to liquefy and throw off catarrh (mucous). I’ve noticed this may take a couple of years of nutrition and cleansing in the most chronic situation so be patient and just keep moving in a forward direction.

Detoxification of chemicals happens in a variety of ways. For example sulfur escapes through the skin, mercury through furuncles (boils), ulcers, abscesses, opens sores and hemorrhoidal discharges.

Toxic gases find their way out of the body through body odor, furry tongues and in bad breath.


Exercise: In a journal or on a piece of paper think back to your childhood.

  1. Write down everything that ever went wrong health-wise.
  2. Now organize these in a time line.
  3. Write them in the order of most recent to least recent.
  4. Now draw little box by each item in the left hand margin.

When you start your healing process, check off the boxes as you experience the symptoms. This exercise teaches you to notice what is going on in your body. Sometimes the symptom will be so mild you may think it is a coincidence. Other symptoms, like swollen lymph nodes, may last longer. This is a wonderful experience and positive reinforcement that you are making progress in your health.

A patient may go through several heeling crises at various time intervals indicating reversal of more than one condition. When your body is ready to heal it will release the toxins. There really is no way to determine exactly when or if a healing crisis will occur. One can never predict which symptoms will present or how severe hey will be.

CASE STUDY for a Healing Crisis:

Dennis was a 42 year old asthmatic man who had been on inhalers for years. I examined him and found several disruptions in his Contact Reflex Analysis (CRA) points and sent him home on three nutritional supplements after running Touch for Health points.

That night he took one dose of supplements, had violent stomach cramps then diarrhea for three days. He never called me because he thought the symptoms were just coincidence. In fact, they were a healing crisis. He never had to use inhalers after that. He never experienced any more symptoms of asthma either. When he recounted the story a week later when I called to check his progress he told me what happened. His body was determined to get rid of the toxins in its own way. I was amazed.

I recommended he finish the 30 days of supplements I had sent home for rebuilding tissue.

Young people heal faster than adults because they have fewer layers of dis-ease built up.

Ways to work through a healing crisis: 

  1. Drink lots of water.
  2. Treat yourself to a massage or hot bath.
  3. Apply a piece of felt soaked with castor oil to the liver area and cover the area with saran wrap. This is called a “castor oil pack” and draws the toxins from the body.
  4. Fast for a day or two.
  5. Get a chiropractic adjustment.
  6. Pray and do some attitudinal work.
  7. Find a support team to ask questions about your healing.
  8. This is a great time to pamper yourself. You deserve it for all your efforts.
  9. Massage helps speed up the healing crisis.

Healing Crisis 1

Dr. Bernard Jensen says:

“We cannot expect sweet thoughts with a sour stomach. And for this reason, all stress in any organ has an effect on every other aspect of our being. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual processes are all interconnected and need to be in balance for healing to occur.” 

Helpful Links and References for Healing Crisis or Herxheimer Reaction:

Iridology: The Science and Practice in the Healing Arts Volume II by Dr. Bernard Jensen © 1982