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Author: Joanna Thomson
Title: The Healing Crisis

It is the Healing Crisis, and the importance we attach to it, which probably more than any other aspect of Nature Cure sets us apart from any orthodox approach to health. It is a central pillar of our belief system but it can also be the cause of the largest number of raised eyebrows and open mouths from those of a more conventional outlook.

We, of the dyed in the wool Thomson Kingston Nature Cure movement, apparently don't have an "immune system", we have a reaction, or chain of reactions, instigated by the somatic intelligence innate to each cell in our body. This chain of events just happens to result in an identical set of symptoms experienced by the next man who is having an immune system response to an invading virus. The difference is that we don't accept the virus theory as the whole story, so by way of explanation we describe the body as having seen its neighbour under the weather and thinking: "Hey, a clearout, that's a good idea!" This can cause a certain amount of confusion and not a few hoots of derision.

My neighbour "catches a cold"; it takes a particular course; raised temperature and sore throat, followed by a running nose accompanied by a general feeling of malaise for a few days. He has caught the "bug" that is doing the rounds and he is not a happy bunny. We have a "healing crisis", we love it, and indeed we positively welcome it. The fever is a great wee bonfire for the body getting rid of lots of rubbish, the sore throat is the body's way of telling us to lay off food for a few days, and the runny nose is the body ejecting more rubbish we have stored up with our bad living habits. The general malaise? Well, can't keep up our normal pace when the body is busy with its housework. The neighbour rallies against the latest "virus" and attempts to clobber it on the head with Antibiotics (a misguided thing to do as viruses don't respond to them and ultimately overuse compromises the health of our gut), Beechams, paracetamol and Benylin, he looks at us aghast as we say "I've been needing this for a while." We both get better in about the same time scale. Although this is not always so, sometimes our "cold" goes on longer, but the good effects of a well handled healing crisis last for a very long time. Whereas the neighbour is "well" again in a few days, but his body has been denied the cleansing opportunity.

On balance we do seem to enjoy a better level of general health and we tend not to experience the same problems of unpleasant side effects when we use compresses rather than medical cures, at times we appear to present a façade of invincibility. We should not get carried away with this - we are as vulnerable as the next man, we just happen to choose to let the body deal with illness in its own way. Basically, to use current trendy speak, we seem to be allowing the body the time to have a "de-tox".

I have noticed that there is a tell-tale burst of energy a few days before a healing crisis. I always hear the warning bells clanging when I draw up a huge list of impossible tasks and think I can complete them all in a couple of days! Sometimes the healing crisis does not follow any current trendy symptoms, you are struck down apparently out of the blue. This is generally a whole lot more upsetting and usually all the more necessary.

I recall a hellish crisis that happened to me a couple of years after my father died. The symptoms were debilitating and extremely frightening, but I recalled the words from his monograph "The Healing Crisis" where he described the process as being a bit like a fairground rollercoaster ride: however scary the ride might be, you had to trust that the designer knew what he was doing, to try to step off in the middle of the ride would be highly dangerous, you had to hold on, have faith and wait until the end. It did work! It took three weeks, but it did work.

We have to trust the body to know best, we have to be strong and not be tempted to try an intervention in the form of medication, but we also must avoid the awful guilt that can cloud a spell of cleansing. The hair-shirt self lecturing about all the wrong things we have done in the previous couple of years, all when we should have known better, etc. is, at best, unhelpful. Supportive family members are a bit of a godsend too, in fact pretty much essential. If you live alone, hide! Just think of what an animal would do if it was unwell, curl up in a quiet corner and go to sleep!

What does become apparent as the days pass following a healing crisis is that it is not just a physical process that had taken place. I, personally, found emotional problems that had previously seemed insurmountable were put into perspective.

The Healing Crisis, well handled, should be another step on the path to maintaining good health; the germ theory would have us believe that any illness was a large stride along the path towards death!

It is true that viruses do exist and they do get into our bodies, but when there is a "cold" doing the rounds not everyone gets it. How so? The Nature Cure reply is that the virus can only take hold where the conditions are right. So is that a healing crisis then? Or did we "catch" the current cold, and instead of medicating it, treated it as a chance for a rest? Confused? Yes, so am I.

Sometimes it is more than a little baffling even to a Nature Cure girl born and bred. My weak link is my teeth, when I get run down, my teeth ache. Now that is a really lousy design fault, when you are whacked you need sleep and rest, what is the one thing that is impossible with toothache? Sleep.

A couple of other things also bother me: Is it only middle class, reasonably intelligent, fairly comfortable people who have healing crises?

The other is when does the Healing Crisis spill over into a Death Crisis?

Joanna Thomson is a Naturopath Practitioner 'in waiting' and jeweller.

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