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How to Navigate a Healing Crisis

Ever find yourself in a “healing crisis”?

If you’re actively healing through chronic pain or trauma and doing the work to become a better version of yourself, you may have come face-to-face with a healing crisis. This is something I educate my patients on during their first holistic physical therapy session. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about, too? 

Simply put, after treatment sometimes you feel better, but many times you will experience what’s called a healing crisis, which means you will get stirred up anywhere from a mild increase in your symptoms to a major flare-up. I’ve personally gone through many healing crises over the years in my journey of healing from chronic constant headaches.

Here are some of the strategies I use when I’m going through a healing crisis.

(hint: some of them I teach my patients too)

1. Myofascial Release.

myofascial release

  • True Myofascial Release, as taught by the father of MFR John F. Barnes, is a triad of Structural Release, Myofascial Unwinding, and Myofascial Rebounding. This is my preferred choice of bodywork because it’s been so profound in my own walk with chronic pain and childhood trauma. As a therapist I regularly treat myself, but I also get myself in the hands of therapists who have been trained by John F Barnes, because I know the value of regular self-care. Myofascial Release is a whole-body approach to healing and works with the mind-body connection. It’s pretty profound when done correctly. 

2. Feel it.

  • Soften into whatever you’re feeling. It can be physical sensations, emotions, a flood of memories, spiritual/intuitive hits. Anything goes. Soften into it all. That simply means: don’t resist it. Feel all the feels without needing to do anything about it. It may be helpful through your experience to remind yourself that this can be old, old stuff. Emotions know no time or space boundaries, so even if you’re not aware of why you’re feeling the way you are, let go of the need to analyze things or even know why. Just feel your whole body and whatever comes up. You can do a lot of clearing (and ultimately feel better) simply by your willingness to feel it.  

3. Reiki. 

Reiki Healing

  • I’m a Reiki Master, so I do Reiki on myself, hovering over the unseen energy centers of the body to clear the physical and subtle bodies. If you’re not Reiki trained, you may consider seeking out someone who is. It’s spiritual healing but is not rooted in any particular religion. I’m Christian so I call on Jesus when I’m doing Reiki, but that’s based on my own faith and belief system. Healing does not come FROM the person doing Reiki. The healing comes from Universal Source Energy, whatever you choose to call that higher spiritual realm. You will not “absorb” the belief system of the person doing Reiki on you. Also, you will not “rub off on” them either. Energy flows through the Reiki practitioner, and since the energy is wise, it knows exactly where it’s needed in the body. 

4. Essential Oils.

  • Essential oils work through their frequency, or measurable energy, that comes from the plants they are distilled from. Since I’m human and that also means I’m made of energy, the science behind essential oils just makes sense to me. I choose Young Living’s therapeutic grade essential oils because I’ve researched the company and love what I found; their Seed to Seal guarantee ensures I get the highest quality oil on the planet. I have used EOs for a lot of emotional balancing over the years, and for me personally, they have been a huge help in my healing journey. I also choose essential oils-infused supplements and personal care products because through my research and self-discovery I have learned that what I put into and on my body makes a difference in how I feel on all levels, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You may have a different opinion, and I respect that; I speak from my own personal experience. Some of my favorite EOs for emotional support are: Young Living’s Release, Forgiveness, Inner Child, Valor, Harmony, and Present Time blends (you can get all 6 of these in the Feelings Kit), Frankincense, Myrrh, Stress Away, Sara, and Trauma Release. 

5. Counseling.

  • When you’re really in a jam and you’re just not sure where to begin, or you need to talk to someone who is unbiased and is trained to help you through transitions and hurts, find a mental health provider. If you had a problem with your knee you’d go to an orthopedic doctor. If you had a heart issue you’d call up a cardiologist. If you have ongoing worries and recurring thoughts that you can’t shake or emotions you just don’t know what to do with, go to a professional trained to help you out! It can be a little daunting to find someone you trust and mesh well with. Ask around, look online, read reviews, call them up, and ask them questions and if they offer a meet-and-greet where you can meet them to decide if it’s a good fit. 

6. Journal.

journal

  • I keep a journal beside my daily devotional book which I’ve coined Love Letters to God. It’s filled with warm fuzzies like gratitude and thanks but also murky stuff like anger and overwhelm and worry. I just pour out my heart, knowing that it’s safe for me to express all aspects of my human experience, without fear of judgment or reprimand. It helps me work through some really big stuff, quite possibly simply from getting it out of my own head. You can keep your journal or burn it if you’re worried about others reading it. Burning the pages can be healing in its own way. You do you, boo.

7. Spiritual Connection.

  • Because this post is about my personal healing journey, I gotta at least mention that I lean on a higher power. It’s a relationship I make a conscious choice and commitment to fostering and developing. I don’t leave home without it. Heck, I don’t even start my day without it. For me, it’s made all the difference in the world and whether I’m feeling “on top of the world” or “down in the dumps”, it’s something I just can’t live without.

8. Nature.

 

  • Getting out in nature seems to always soothe me. Sitting on the earth, on a rock, by a stream, gazing over the mountains or just admiring a sea of green grass can help in a way that being inside cannot. Fresh air and slowing down to go inward; it’s medicine for the soul. I’ve found peace also in running outdoors, kayaking on a still lake, cloud gazing, sitting on my deck listening to the birds, and walking the dogs. Really, the possibilities are endless here.

 

These are just some of the ways I use to navigate a healing crisis. I didn’t discover them overnight and implementing them has taken persistent time and effort. It’s been worth every bit of it. My work is not done and I will experience more healing crises. At the end of the day, I am a better person for it. You can too. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, my friend.

You’re worth the effort! 

AUTHOR
Justine Calderwood

The Healing Spot Physical Therapy

"We help women overcome pelvic floor issues, heal from chronic pain, and have healthy pregnancies with a complete Postpartum recovery so they can get back to the active lifestyle they enjoy."
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