Crisis in the ordinary sense of the word means change, either for better or for worse. In its relation to medicine, the term “crisis” has been defined as “a decisive change in the disease, resulting either in recovery or in death.”
We of the Nature Cure school distinguish between healing crises and disease crises, according to the character and the tendency of the acute reaction. If an acute disease is brought about through the accumulation of morbid matter or the invasion of disease germs to such an extent that the health or the life of the organism is endangered, in other words, if the disease conditions are forcing the crises, we speak of disease crises.
But if acute reactions take place in the system because conditions have become more normal, because the healing forces have gained the ascendancy and forced the acute inflammatory processes, we call them healing crises.
Healing crises are simply different forms of elimination by means of which Nature endeavors to remove the latent, chronic disease encumbrance from the system. The most common forms of these acute purifications are colds, catarrhal and hemorrhoidal discharges, boils, ulcers, abscesses, open sores, skin eruptions, diarrheas, etc.
Healing crises and disease crises may seem very much alike. Patients often tell me: “I have had this before. I call it an ordinary boil (or cold, or fever).”
That may be true. The former disease crisis and the present healing crisis may be similar in their outward manifestations. But they are taking place under entirely different conditions.
When the organism is loaded to the danger point with morbid matter, it may arouse itself in self-defense to an acute eliminative effort in the shape of cold, catarrh, fever, inflammation, skin eruption, etc. In these instances, the disease conditions bring about the crisis and the organism is on the defensive. These are disease crises.
Such unequal struggles between the healing forces and disease conditions sometimes end favorably and sometimes unfavorably.
On the other hand, healing crises develop because the healing forces are in the ascendancy and take the offensive. They are brought about through the natural methods of living and of treatment and always result in improved conditions.
A simple allegory may assist me in explaining the difference between a healing crisis and a disease crisis:
For years a prizefighter holds the championship because he keeps himself in perfect physical condition and before every contest spends many weeks in careful training. When he faces his opponent in the ring, he has eliminated from his organism as much waste matter and superfluous flesh and fat as possible by a strictly regulated diet and a great deal of hard exercise. As a consequence, he comes off victorious in every contest and easily maintains his superiority.