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Author: Barbara Smith
Title: The Healing Crisis

The Nature Cure verdict on acute illness delighted me, the only surprise being that so few folk held this sensible view: no minor ailments unless the body needs their cleansing action; no random catching of local bugs; a general improvement in health will follow if there is no suppression of symptoms and some simple rules are followed - fast, or eat just fruit, take more rest, breathe fresh air, walk in the sunshine as soon as inclined, use waist compresses. And when a feverish cold or fearsome looking septic finger was successfully dealt with, what glee!

My only problem was the waist compress. Having seen the effect on Audrey Sharples, I needed no convincing, but how did she achieve it so easily? A rapid donning of the cold damp cloth and wool wrap sent her promptly into a deep, healing sleep, whereas I was left restless and often chilly. Only a compress used when I had a high temperature enabled me to experience its magical effect. So I had to work out a technique. It's simple. I put out everything ready, including the cloth well wrung out in cold water, and get into bed. Once there, I do not emerge until I - and the bed - are thoroughly warm. In a few seconds I can don the compress and nip back into bed, quite relaxed. No longer do I count the minutes it takes me to warm up the cloth. It just so happens that it takes me longer than most.

And yes, of course, following the 'rules' can cure the condition without healing. Learning those rules tends to make one say after a while: I have done this, and that, and now I must be better. But without truly considering how you feel.

In older people, a healing crisis does not necessarily come easily and tends to be more violent, but is non-the-less often valued, for the effort gives one time to think about habits, lifestyles, attitudes, activities and relationships - and find ones way to a more genuinely healthy path.

It continues to allow the thrill of feeling the body's will to heal.

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