When toxins are eliminated, it can lead to mental, emotional, and physical sensations that are not generally comfortable. These experiences are collectively coined “The Healing Crisis.” A healing crisis, for the majority of time refers to a mild reaction to purification. For example, the headache many coffee drinkers experience when they go cold turkey. However, healing reactions are not limited to physical symptoms and can include emotional releases as well. It is important to remember this when beginning any program of detoxification, and allow for increased objectivity should such symptoms arise.
The human body is an expression of all life’s experiences, choices, and history. The nature of a reaction indicates what part of your life is being healed. In this way, we can have gratitude for certain discomforts that arise during the journey, and learn to embrace them as opportunities for change.
In Ayurveda, we try to avoid intense healing reactions. We believe making dramatic changes all at once, can possibly leave a deficit difficult to sustain through sheer will power alone. Thus, we tend to encourage change over the long term, rather than cold-turkey approaches. Still, depending on the severity of the disease, imbalance, or trauma, things might come up. It is up to you, to find ways to nurture yourself during these times, and create reminders that these experiences are only temporary.
Some common examples of healing reactions include: systemic pain, aching, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, problems or changes with digestion, menstrual changes, feeling cold or hot, skin eruptions (boils, acne, rashes), impatience, anger, depression, sadness, memories, clarity on how one is contributing to disharmony. Symptoms vary according to imbalance, and degree of skill to which they are handled. You can work with a healthcare provider, however, the greatest skill must come from your desire to be well. Most reactions do not last longer than a week, and often mimic something you have already experienced in your past that you believed was healed.
To help relieve the severity of healing reactions, implement more cleansing foods such as: fresh squeezed vegetable or fruit juice, sprouts, grains and legumes. Steamed vegetables and fruits are easy to digest, and less of a burden on the body, while it eliminates stored toxins. Chlorophyll rich foods such as wheat grass, barley grass and spurlina help to cleanse the liver, and build clean blood. Colon cleansers can pull mucus from the large intestine. Massage can mobilize stored emotions and toxins. Steam baths, or other sweating devices can help eliminate excess mucous, skin eruptions, and flu-like symptoms. To reduce very severe reactions, re-introduction of the toxin in a very small amount, and gradually weaning off over time, can also help relieve discomfort. These cases are often indicative of a change made to fast, and serve as a reminder to slow down, and enjoy the process of transformation.