How to Recognize & Cope with a Healing Crisis


Healing is supposed to make us feel better, right?

Yes, and it usually does — in the long run. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand that in the short run, it’s very common for a good healing process to make us feel worse.

You see, our bodies (and psyches) move cyclically. First there is birth, then there’s steady development, after that we plateau and enter a period of maintenance, then there’s a period of decay, and eventually, there’s some form of death. Out of that death, there is a new rebirth and our cycle begins all over again.

Every time we heal and transform, we move through this birth-to-death cycle, which means before we can get to the good stuff we need to endure a sort of mini-death of the old stuff. Intuitively, our bodies know this, which is why we often avoid change — even though it’s good for us.

And since most of us, understandably, are not real fond of any part of us “dying,” I find that very few healers talk about this inescapable, necessary part of the healing process. They’re afraid that if people know in advance that there will likely be some serious fall out, they won’t commit to the healing process that’s being offered. And you know what? They’re probably right!

Still, we in the healing community need to start talking about what a healing crisis is, when it’s likely to occur, and what to do about it. Because, when we’re prepared for something, we can deal with it much more effectively.

Not knowing that healing crises are common causes a lot of people to believe that they’re doing something “wrong.” This is a big problem, because when you’re engaged in a process you think will improve your life, and things start getting worse, there’s a tendency to abandon the process right when you’re actually starting to create substantial, positive change.

Understanding and accepting that a healing crisis is normal and natural, can help you navigate it in such a way that it actually supports your healing.

Have you ever done a fast, detox or cleanse? If so, you’ve probably experienced a healing crisis firsthand. You probably started your first detox excited about how much better it was going to make you feel, only to discover that first, it made you feel like crap.

That’s because all change requires recalibration and our system goes into overdrive when we make radically change. And specifically during a cleanse, all the toxins from the body start leaving the tissues and moving into the bloodstream, making us feel tired or nauseous or both.

The point is, all types of transformation first cause serious disruption in our homeostasis. This is true whether the healing is directly “physical” like a cleanse, or more “energetic” like receiving reiki (or using my healing tattoos).

In my experience as a healer and life coach, I see three common types of healing crises:

1. Ascension Symptoms (from the energy field moving upward too quickly) – headaches, dizziness, nausea
2. Grounding Symptoms (from the energy field moving downward too quickly) – extreme tiredness and fatigue.
3. Eliminatory Symptoms (from the digestive and eliminatory system getting rid of toxins too quickly) headaches, body achiness, nausea, fatigue

Now, when I use the term “too quickly” for each of these types of healing crises, I don’t mean to imply the change is bad. It’s not. It’s usually desired, transformation, and in the big picture, it’s really good that it’s happening quickly. But in general, our bodies are set up for homeostasis (such as relatively consistent temperature, blood pressure and resting heart rate), so when we create big shifts quickly, various parts of our system tend to get thrown off and even “rebel.”

I should also mention our bodies are set up to adapt and change as well, which is a good thing, because the frequencies on our planet are rising so quickly right now that we’re needing to physically adapt at a much more rapid rate.

The best way to deal with all of the healing crises I mentioned is to:

1) Realize you’re having a healing crisis and see it as a sign of growth. You’re going through positive transformation. This is absolutely KEY. Symptoms are so much easier to deal with when you see them as a sign of personal progress.
2) If you’re doing a practice or following a program, stick with it. It’s so easy to want to quit a practice when we feel “icky.” The key is to stay on it during this most challenging phase.
3) Drink more and better water (more alkaline). You can add a little lemon to your water, buy higher alkaline water or buy drops that alkalize it. The key though is to at least double your normal water intake.
4) Breathe more consciously – slower, deeper and more rhythmically. Maybe even post signs around you that remind you to breathe. It takes real diligence to bring heightened consciousness to breathing, an activity we normally do on an unconscious basis.
5) Carve out as much down time as possible. Rest and sleep more. If you can create structured time away from work, do that. If not, then take little naps where you can, get more sleep at night, and just generally be more supportive and gentle with yourself.

In my years as a life coach, I’ve noticed that the body in general, doesn’t like change, because it’s set up for homeostasis. In contrast, the spirit, loves and craves change. So, if we want to live an integrated life, it’s essential that we use our mind and emotions to affect our body positively so that it will want to align with spirit and step into our full spiritual evolution.

Vicki Howie is the Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ and the Chakra Life Cycle System. Expand your heart chakra with this FREE copy of her Heart Chakra Healing Song.


  • Cecily MacArthur
    October 17, 2014

    Hi Vicki!
    Thanks you so much! This is exactly what I neede to hear, today. I was feeling discouraged and scared, and you’ve given me a new perspective and much hope…
    You’re the best!
    Love & light,

  • Poppy
    October 19, 2014

    Oh Wow! Thanks so much for this info! My Son and I have been going through massive shifts and this resonated with us very much! Even though we’ve been aware of the process, the residual fears that we have been conditioned to feel in relation to pain and discomfort still some times raise their heads and then the minor wobbles set in. Lately though we’ve been able to deal with it with some humor – after a bit of a whinge we have a good laugh at our selves and then it passes. Thanks fr all your love and support – Peace, Light and Blessings to you in Beautiful Sedona!

  • Vicki
    October 19, 2014

    Hi Cecily, I’m so glad, honey. It’s okay that the womb is dark, right? It has to be. Love and light (and the kind of courage and darkness when they’re needed) right back at you, Vicki

  • Vicki
    October 19, 2014

    Hi Poppy,
    I was just thinking this morning that in this age of rising consciousness, our sense of humor just may be our best tool for growth (and sanity). LOL. Good for you and your son! Thanks for sharing. Much love, Vicki

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