All About Healing Reactions

If you decided to embark on any detoxification programs, it’s at your best intention to go through the following article to get familiar with all healing reactions. Having yourself prepare mentally and phsically will help in managing with any healing reactions. Good Luck!

Here’s a paraphrased summary of Dr. Wilson’s article:

1. What are Healing Reactions?
Healing reactions are temporary symptoms that occur only on deep healing regimens in which the body retraces or goes back and heals old infections, wounds, injuries, or other imbalances from the past.  Many are related to eliminating toxic substances, healing chronic infections, or metabolic shifts that take place as a body heals and its vitality increases.

Other texts may refer to healing reactions as flare-ups, crises, retracing reactions, die-off reactions, purification reactions, or the reversal process.

Healing crises or reactions are an essential feature of all true and deep healing methods. They can be unpleasant and rarely are frightening.  However, they are welcome signs of healing.  If they did not occur, one knows that a healing method may offer symptomatic relief, but usually it is not as deep healing as those therapies that cause healing reactions.
Retracing is poorly understood.  Healing reactions are little understood in allopathic medical practice because they rarely occur with drug medicine approaches.  They also do not occur with most herbal, nutritional and other holistic and naturopathic approaches to health care.

As a result, most people, including doctors, are unfamiliar with them and often frightened of them.

2a.  Symptoms of Retracing:
Most healing reactions are mild and pass quickly.  Symptoms may include almost anything.  One could experience diarrhea, constipation, aches, pains, muscle cramps, discharges, odors, rashes, headaches, irritability or fatigue.  Rarely, symptoms are more vigorous, such as a vigorous cold, flu, or even retracing an old case of pneumonia or hepatitis.  Once again, these usually do not last long.

Emotional and psychological healing reactions are among the most interesting, and often the most important.  Typical symptoms include feelings of anxiety, depression, fear or anger.  However, as with the physical symptoms, almost any symptom is possible, depending upon a person’s past traumas and experiences.

At times, more intense psychological and emotional retracing occurs with nutritional balancing.  This often has to do with retracing old emotional traumas.  However, in almost all cases, the body will not undertake a healing reaction unless it can see it through to completion.  For this reason, reassurance and general supportive measures are usually all that is required during even an intense reaction.

2b.  Retracing Is A Type Of Secondary Chaos:
Retracing reactions may be described as flare-ups of secondary chaos in terms of chaos theory.  Chaos theory is  a very modern and interesting science.   The concept is that when a system is not working right, it causes chaos.  As the system is fixed or corrected, the degree of chaos diminishes.  However, at times, secondary chaos may occur.

This is an apt description of a healing reaction.   In our biological terms, a sick body is one that is in a high state of chaos.  This is a rough description of what occurs in a healing reaction.

2c.  Retracing Versus A Worsening Of Health:
Caution: At times, reactions are not due to healing and indicate a worsening of a health condition. One reads about retracing, and just assumes that any symptom that arises is a healing or retracing reaction.

It can be vitally important to know if a reaction is due to healing or a worsening of a condition.  Answering the five questions below can help one to know which is occurring.

A. Was the person following a nutritional balancing program, including diet, wholefood supplements and rest? Healing reactions occur most often when the body is given all that it needs.  If the complete program is followed fairly strictly, the reaction is likely due to healing.

However, if a person is not following the program, or on a different regimen, then it is more likely that it is not a healing reaction.  Also, if one is terminally ill, it may not be a healing reaction.

B. Was one feeling better before the reaction occurred?  Healing reactions require energy.  One’s energy level often increases until sufficient to initiate a reaction.  Thus, a reaction can occur and often does just when one is feeling stronger.  If one had been feeling worse, the reaction is less likely due to healing, however.

C.  Have the symptom occurred in the past?  Often, old symptoms or conditions recur during healing reactions.  If one experienced the symptom in even the distant past, it is more likely, though not always, due to healing.

D. Are the symptoms unusual?  Healing reactions often produce odd symptom pictures.  One might develop a sore throat or flu without fatigue.  This occurs when one is really not ill, though one may develop some features of an illness.

E. How long have symptoms lasted?  Healing reactions usually do not last long.  They may be vigorous but end in a few hours or at most about a week or two.  If a reaction or flare-up lasts more than several weeks, it may be a worsening of one’s condition.

This one is tricky, however, because a deep-seated physical or emotional problem may take weeks or months to retrace completely in a few cases.  Look to the other questions for more clarity.

3.  Emotional Healing Reactions:
One can change emotionally as well as physically during nutritional therapy.  Anyone undergoing a nutritional healing program needs to be prepared for these emotional shifts as body chemistry improves.

Causes of these changes are elimination of toxins that affect the brain and improvements in clarity of thought.  Other mechanisms involve returning to earlier states of body chemistry that are associated with specific emotional states or traumas, or elimination of what may be called emotional toxins.

Emotional toxins are feelings or beliefs that block healing.  Examples are feeling unworthy, unloved, incompetent, stupid, ugly, unfit or unlovable.  Others are fears, worries, anger, resentment, guilt and others.  These can be every bit as toxic as pesticides or heavy metals.  Following is more detail regarding some of the  mechanisms of emotional healing reactions.

Physically-linked Reactions:  Some emotional toxins are linked to physical toxins and impaired body chemistry.  An unhealthy body sends negative messages to the brain.  These may be experienced as feelings of fear, anxiety or unworthiness.

Toxic metals can directly affect neurotransmitters and parts of the brain associated with anger, fear and other emotions.  Iron, for example, is known to settle in the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with anger.

As physical toxins are eliminated, emotional states will change.  As health improves, the body sends positive messages to the brain.  An emotional crisis may occur as it becomes more difficult to hold on to negative feelings and beliefs.

4.  Handling Physical Healing Reactions
In general, the body will not undertake a healing reaction unless it can see it through.  Most important is to support the body, allowing it to proceed with minimal interference.  At times, one may speed up a reaction so it will end sooner.  Other times, one may slow down a reaction to lessen the severity of symptoms.  Basic support for healing reactions includes:

1. Rest lying down as much as possible.  Also, reduce stress and strain.  Conserve energy for healing.  Reduce mental as well as physical activity.  Breathing deeply and slowly is very calming for the nervous system.

2. Eat lightly.  Digestion is an extra stress during healing reactions.  If one is very uncomfortable, it may be best to skip a meal.  One may notice that symptoms subside after eating a meal.  The meal is not making one better.  Energy must be diverted from healing to digest the meal, so symptoms temporarily diminish while one digests. While drinking adequate water is important during healing reactions, guzzling extra water is usually not helpful.

3. Sauna sessions.  In general, during a healing reaction, 10-15 minute sessions are better than long sessions in saunas.

4. Other detoxification procedures are often helpful.  Besides more short sauna sessions, other procedures include enemas, colonic irrigation, massage, energy balancing and acupressure.  Enemas are excellent and perhaps essential if one feels constipated and toxic.  Energy balancing may also be most helpful.

5. Call someone familiar with healing reactions if one is unsure how to handle them.  Some patients went to emergency rooms instead of calling their health professional when they experienced healing reactions.  They wasted hundreds of dollars and received no benefit.  Those that stayed in touch passed through healing reactions, some very vigorous, without needing medical treatment.

6. Use care in discussing healing reactions with physicians and others unfamiliar with them.  Healing symptoms can easily be misinterpreted as illness.  This is a common problem.  Unless the doctor, friend or family member understands, costly tests and toxic medication may be recommended.  Medication can complicate reactions and is rarely effective.  Reactions will usually proceed in spite of it.

5.  General Supportive Measures:
For toxic reactions in general: As toxins are mobilized and eliminated, one may experience headaches, rashes, pain, dizziness, abdominal discomfort and other symptoms.  Sauna therapy usually helps symptoms pass quickly.

If a symptom persists, whole food antioxidants can enhance liver detoxification.  Coffee enemas or colonic irrigation enhance elimination through the colon.

Support For Infections:
Always watch infections, regardless of the possible causes.  Always make sure that one’s temperature does not rise above about 103-104 F. and that one is well-hydrated when fever is present.  However, if a person is following a nutritional balancing program, most infections, no matter how vigorous they seem, are totally benign and should never be suppressed with drugs, too much vitamin C or other remedies.

Common sites of chronic infections are the sinuses, ears, eyes, throat, bronchials, lungs, skin, intestines, kidneys and bladder.  These and many other infections commonly flare up as they are healed.  They go from chronic to acute, and are then eliminated.  This is the reverse order in which they took hold in the body.  Here are some simple and safe supportive therapies that are excellent for retracing infections.

Heat. Heat activates the immune system and may disable or even kill some microorganisms.  Sauna use is excellent to help heal chronic infections.  A hot bath, perhaps with several pounds of Epsom salts in it, may also be helpful and can be repeated several days in a row.

Diet.  Eat lightly.  Drink plenty of spring water.  Vegetable soup appears to help with some infections. Stay with the recommended anti-inflammatory diet and just eat less, especially if you are not too hungry.  Never eat a lot when sick.

Supplements. Probiotics, digestive enzymes and enzymes therapy, and other whole food supplements to help speed up the process of elimination are helpful.

Lifestyle.  Rest lying down as much as possible.

6.  Discussing Healing Reactions:
Forewarned, most people handle healing reactions well.  One should look forward to reactions as they are evidence of deep healing. Always call someone knowledgeable if :

1) you are not sure what is going on,
2) you are concerned or worried,
3) any reaction becomes severe such as a high fever.

These guidelines are sufficient to handle most healing reactions. Healing reactions can be vigorous, but rarely dangerous.  Always use common sense, however.  Rarely, medical intervention is needed, but certainly not often.  Taking medical drugs such as antibiotics and aspirin or others can prolong the reaction or even turn it into a dangerous situation.

7.  The Dangers Of Retracing:
Almost all retracing reactions are totally benign.  Some last for a few months, or can be very annoying, but most pass quickly and easily without a need for any extra interventions.  However, once in a while they are extreme.


One can read about healing reactions in texts on homeopathy, chiropractic and psychotherapy where they may be referred to as the catharsis.  Max Gerson, MD, in A Cancer Therapy – Results of 50 Cases, devoted an entire chapter to them.  William Frederich Koch, MD mentions them often in his excellent book, The Survival Factor in Neoplastic and Viral Diseases.  Bernard Jensen, DC, ND wrote about them in The Doctor-Patient Handbook.


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