Healing Crisis: Part 2

Transcript of video:

This is the second part of what we’re talking about with healing crisis. The first video about this covered the overall trajectory of what happens when your body starts this change process with healing, which can seem not like healing. It can seem like things are not working out the way you wanted them to, and it’s so important to remember, as I said in the first video, you’re really looking for that upward trajectory over time, even though there are dips in it. 

But there is this second piece of healing crisis that in a way is a lot less fun than that. 

Sometimes, in fact often, when you’re creating these profound changes in your body and in your health, there are changes that are indeed (especially in the long term) for the better. But your body doesn’t always process that immediately as being for the better. 

We establish patterns in our body – in our physical tissues, in the central nervous system – the entire brain is built on patterns. And if you’ve been in your pattern of dysfunction, or discomfort, or pain for a while, that’s what everything is used to. 

As you break that pattern it can be terrifying and really uncomfortable, and this is the heart, the crux of healing crisis. It does feel like a crisis, it feels sometimes like your whole body is breaking down in weird ways that you’ve never experienced before. I’ve seen everything from intense allergic reactions as you’re releasing tissues, or other different adhesions, or scar tissue, or whatever it may be.

As you’re resolving that in the belly, oftentimes it comes through as a cold, or the flu, or really intense allergic reactions in super specific and weird ways. Sometimes it comes through as a pain flare, sometimes it comes through as aches and pains in your body that seem completely unrelated, that you’ve never had before. You’re thinking “oh my gosh, I thought I was doing something good for myself, why am I suddenly feeling like crud?”

Oftentimes this is healing crisis, and it’s part of the package. It’s a bummer in some ways, but it’s also a really good marker of progress. 

I talk to my clients about this a lot, and when they start telling me that they’re going through these different fluctuations, we’ll check through the tissues of their belly, and indeed the work that we have been doing has been holding. 

We’re still gaining a lot of momentum, and we’re still feeling the changes that we want to be making.  All of that is still present, but all this other stuff is cropping up. Then I get this stupid grin on my face and I tell them “I know this sounds ridiculous, but this is actually very good news that you are having this reaction to the work!” 

It doesn’t feel like good news in the moment, but it means that you are making change, and that’s what we’re here for, that’s what we’re trying to do. We have this idea that healing should just feel good, but the reality is that healing is change, and change does not always feel good, even if it’s good for us.

I bring this up strongly because it’s really important to try to weather those healing crises and to keep track. 

I mentioned in the first video that you want to keep your logbook all the time. Indeed you want that because there are times when it’s not a healing crisis, when it is actually a flare. You need to manage it more in whatever way that you have to support yourself in actual flares of whatever your pain or your condition might be.

Oftentimes these healing crises are different and you can you can sense that they’re different. It’s not the usual flair, and sometimes it’s more frustrating because it’s a whole new set of symptoms.

That’s when i get that dumb grin on my face like “oh my gosh yes, we’re actually making progress now!” We’ll track these new symptoms, we’ll pay attention to them, and  we’ll deal with them as we need to, but oftentimes just sticking with the process of the change will resolve those symptoms on its own. Your body, your mind, your central nervous system – everything is trying to adjust, and that adjustment period is often kind of wild.

The reason that I wanted to talk about this in these two videos is to hopefully give you some of that inner sense of “oh this is happening, and I’m going to make it through, I just have to weather the storm.” And that’s really what it is – sort of a storm of reaction in your body that means that you are making change. 

That said, if anything comes up that seems really concerning to you, you need to call your doctor immediately and find out if they’re worried about it. If you’re working with a practitioner, that’s a great time to give them that extra call and find out if this is normal, should I be worried about this.

I find that a lot of you who are doing this work with your belly are getting pretty tuned into your body. You’re getting pretty good at reading your body’s signals, so your logbooks will help with this so much. Or your long spreadsheet – whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be a book, it can just be a spreadsheet that you print out and put little checks on for every thing that you’re tracking.

That’s the end of our healing crisis series, and I hope it helps!

I take this really seriously – healing crises are sucky, but they’re also extremely important. I hope this helps in some way as you’re going through the change of bringing more health, more ease into your own belly.

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Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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