Healing Reactions

If the patient has been to more than four physicians, nutrition is probably the medical answer.
Abraham Hoffer, MD, PhD

Healing Reactions, On the Road to Better Health

Summers rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables together with its heat, humidity and more leisurely pace invite us each year to lighten up and adopt healthier habits. In summer, we naturally rotate away from heavy anabolic build-up foods such as animal proteins and fats to more catabolic, cleansing fruits and vegetables. We may also try giving up sugar or caffeine/coffee, replacing these with more sleep.link

Dietary changes give the body a chance for housekeeping. Cleansing foods allow the system to expel toxins and set healing in motion. But, healing often brings reactions, so when we launch into a healthier dietary or lifestyle program, we need to expect reactions and read them as positive signs of healing.
Far Eastern philosophy suggests that true healing requires reaction: Reactions signal the bodys attempts to discharge toxins, both physical and emotional, that stand in the way of healing. Giving up sugar, coffee, alcohol, dairy, meats or fats each has a set of associated reactions, outlined below.

Possible Symptoms
Sugar Fatigue, sleepiness, depression, lack of coordination, alienation 1 to 5 days
Coffee Headaches, shakiness, nervousness 1 to 10 days
Alcohol Tension, inability to relax 2 to 5 days or more depending on level prior consumption.
Dairy Mucus discharge through the skin, sinuses, mucous membranes, lungs, sex organs Starting up to 3 months after the food is stopped, for a year or two.
Meats, Fats, Proteins Foul body odor, coated tongue,feelings of being toxic, skin eruptions Varies: 1 to 4 weeks with fats; 6 to 10 months deeper accumulations.

Emotional and physical healing. Toxic experiences and traumas, perhaps dating to early childhood, also come with their own unique set of physical and emotional reactions; these are signs of a more prolonged and complex healing process. Healing reactions present an opportunity to go back through everything not previously resolved in life. Our body carries our personal history.

The nature of a reaction indicates what phase of life is being healed. Reactions feel similar to the original disease or emotional trauma but usually appear in a diminished form. If the reaction is an emotional discharge of anger, the feeling may remind a person of anger earlier in life, even though the present anger may be caused by different circumstances. Physical reactions are also reminders of former conditions: If chronic sore throats occurred during childhood, a healing reaction could involve one or two sore throats that eliminate any residues accumulated from the original infection(s).link

Types of Healing Reactions:link

  1. Tension or pain in the upper back and neck, which may move upwards to the head, downward across the abdomen, arms, and legs, and eventually to the top of the head and to the toes and fingers. Pain may occur in the internal organs, particularly the liver, under the right side of the rib cage. Headache is also common.
  2. Vomiting, particularly bile or various types of mucus.
  3. Digestive imbalances: gas, cramps, diarrhea, constipation.
  4. General fatigue. Weakness, weight loss, sensations of cold and/or heat. Fever, chills, cough, minor hair loss.
  5. Heavy and prolonged sleep; occasional wild dreams.
  6. Possible discharges include boils, pimples, rashes, body odors, nasal and vaginal discharges, coating on the tongue. Mercury fillings may loosen and fall out.

Progressive Order of Healing

In true healing, symptoms of discharge follow a set progression. First outlined by Constantine Hering (1800-1880) and known as Herings Law of Cure, such symptoms are used to this day in the field of homeopathy. In a true case of healing, symptoms unfold in the following patterns:

  1. From the inside to the outside; internal heat or toxins can appear as rashes on the skin.
  2. From the upper part of the body to the lower extremities. Medications that affect the liver or kidneys can appear as redness or rashes on the legs or ankles.
  3. For chronic conditions, symptoms may appear in reverse order: Known as retracing, someone who in early childhood contracted chicken pox and later bronchitis may experience a period of coughing associated with bronchitis, and later a skin rash resembling chicken pox.
  4. Prior to a healing crisis, a person feels a sense of calm and centeredness.
  5. At a deep level, a person in a healing mode, despite symptoms, feels good.

If the summer season inspires you to make positive changes in your life, have patience, knowing that healing may bring a few ups and downs on the way to establishing a firmer foundation for better health.

Copyright 2013 Pathways4Health.org

  1. For an excellent piece on sleep, see, well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/cheating-ourselves-of-sleep/?hpw [link]
  2. Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, 106-7. [link]
  3. Pitchford, Annemarie Colbin, PhD, Food and Healing, 216-19. [link]