Tuesday, 12 May 2009
What is a Homeopathic Aggravation or 'Healing Crisis'?
Homeopathy is often put forward as a completely safe form of medicine with no side effects yet almost all of you will have heard of the homeopathic ‘aggravation’ or ‘healing crisis’. Lots of patients ask me ‘Surely isn’t that a side effect?’ It’s an ‘effect’ for sure, but normally there’s nothing harmful about it, in fact, quite the opposite.
To understand the concept it may help to look first at what we understand as the ‘side effects’ from conventional drugs, before we look at homeopathy. Let’s take steroids for example; these are often prescribed by your GP for skin rashes and some people react to them badly because the steroids have chemicals in them that they are sensitive to. More commonly however, side effects occur because the action of steroids unfortunately suppresses or hyperstimulates certain immune or vital organ functions in order to be able to calm down the rash, putting the whole body out of kilter.
The homeopathic ‘aggravation’ however is something entirely different, in fact it is usually a good thing! Why? Because in homeopathic philosophy, when a person is sick and they receive a remedy and they then start to ‘aggravate’ — ie. their symptoms appear to get worse temporarily - this is a sign that the remedy has hit the spot and your body is battling it out with the disease. This is often called a ‘healing crisis’.
To use an analogy, imagine two cars racing along a road, one is a Disease, and the other is your Vital Force (what homeopaths call the natural healing power that keeps you alive and stimulates your immune system and organs).
When we are well and balanced our Vital Force is always in the lead, blocking Disease from overtaking us. However, today your Vital Force is depleted after a few late nights (or financial worries, or an argument at work, or another stress of some kind) and must pull in to a lay-by to recover itself. This has allowed a Disease (let’s say a virus) to overtake and it is now belting along at 70 miles per hour throwing out a painful sore throat...
Then you take your homeopathic remedy . This fills the Vital Force car with a fresh tank of petrol, puts him back on the road and into first place as he steps up to 90 miles per hour, overtaking the Disease car. Your Disease car puts his foot on the gas to catch up and, going full throttle, manages 80 miles per hour, racking up the intensity of your throat pain on the way. This is the homeopathic aggravation. However, soon the Disease car runs out of petrol and is forced to leave the race, while your Vital Force carries on down the road leaving you symptom free and no more sore throat!