The body becomes ill and gets well in an orderly manner whether the stressor is nutritional, mechanical, or emotional. The stages of disease in the order of progression are Acute, Sub-acute, Chronic, and Degenerative. All stages are various degrees of a condition called "inflammation."
According to Dr. Hans Selye, M.D., "inflammation is a local reaction to injury." The four signs of inflammation are redness, swelling, heat and pain. The redness and heat are due to dilation of blood vessels. Swelling is caused by leakage of fluids, and pain is caused by irritation of nerves in the local area. The phenomena of inflammation is a natural defensive reaction of the body due to stressors, either physical or mental. The four stages of healing are actually the four stages of inflammation the body goes through in the process of getting sick or well. In fact, it's important to understand that most pain is due to the inflammatory process.
Stage One, which is the Acute Phase, has a rapid onset, severe symptoms and short duration. Everything is speeded up including the blood, lymph, nerves and hormones. An example of this phase would be the common cold with fever and nasal discharge. The mucous or catarrh is the body's response to an acid or toxic condition often brought on by rich food or emotional stress. All those symptoms of a cold or flu &endash; fever, pain, nasal swelling, and coughing &endash; are nature's efforts to carry away the waste acids of toxic metabolism. The bacteria or virus are the result of lowered immune function rather the cause of the infection.
If we suppress the healing discharges of fever and mucous from the body and do not allow the natural rhythm to complete itself, we may begin to move into Stage Two or the Sub-Acute stage in which our overall vitality has been lowered even if we may not be aware of it. According to Bernard Jensen, D.C., Phd., "the metabolic rate has not been sustained. There is a lesser degrees of blood, lymph and nerve flow, and the vital force is depressed. There is less pain and discharge for the moment, often leading us to mistakenly assume that we are cured."
As we continue to stop the acute discharges of the body, more serious health challenges begin to manifest. Instead of simple cold and flu, we may find ourselves battling with sinusitis, bronchitis, allergies or even asthma. We have now entered the Chronic or Stage Three of disease in which the total metabolic rate has been so lowered that it can no longer produce the symptoms of the Acute phase of inflammation where the healing response occurs. More toxins and fatigue accumulate and long-term illnesses occur such as asthma instead of the short-term flu. At this critical point, dietary change, detoxification, and manipulative therapies can stimulate the Vital Force to awaken out of its chronic slumber to heal itself. Unfortunately, many people are so uncomfortable at this time that they resort to approaches that are symptomatic and not health restorative.
The Fourth Stage or the Degenerative phase is where there have been changes in the tissues due to the long-term inflammation. Body structures have been altered, such as arthritic joints in which cartilage has been destroyed. We still have symptoms of pain, redness and swelling in the local area but there have been destructive changes. At this stage, the body can no longer heal itself without outside help.
This is because the metabolism and Vital Force are so low that tissue breakdown is occurring faster than regeneration. No longer can the body produce the detoxifying effects of a fever as in Stage One. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine emphasized: "Give me a fever and I can heal anything." Herein lies both a crisis and an opportunity for either more serious health challenges or the commencement of regeneration. The opportunity is that our Inner Healer is constantly trying to help us heal. Symptoms of inflammation are the response of the body to injury and are the attempt for self-correction. The root cause of inflammatory symptoms are the accumulations of fatigue poisons due to total lifestyle.
Even in the Chronic and Degenerative Stages, the body can improve if given the correct environment. Adequate rest and nutrition, proper nerve and blood supply are all the mainstays of recovery. As these elements are supplied, the Vital Force gains enough energy to move from chronic to acute. Symptoms of asthma, for example, may disappear and we may start to re-experience long-forgotten colds or bronchitis. We must go through this reversal process if we are to get well. We must re-experience disease we suppressed perhaps decades ago, only this time in a milder form. Nature requires a high metabolic rate in order to discharge catarrh or other toxins, and that is achieved only during the acute reaction.
Once we have supplied the body with all the elements necessary to raise its vitality level, the Acute Phase of healing is able to begin. Symptoms we experienced in the past will re-surface, only this time we are getting well, not worse. This is a Healing Crisis or Retracing as the body-mind moves backwards in biological time. The Crisis is a welcome sign and our opportunity to harmonize ourselves towards long-term wellness physically, mentally and emotionally.
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