Understanding and managing the healing response

healing response Feb 13, 2019

What most people are unaware of is that every cell, tissue and organ has a 'beyond' physical function which we can call 'metaphysical'. Meta means 'beyond' - metaphysical means 'beyond physical'. Simply put, every cell, tissue and organ has an emotional function: they have to store, manage and process our emotions!

One of the most useful concepts to understand in health is the HEALING 'RESPONSE' or HEALING 'REACTION' and how to handle it.

Not understanding this phenomenon can trip you up, and even have you rushing to the doctor or emergency room unnecessarily. 

In particular understanding what I am about to share will take away a lot of WORRY AND FEAR you may have around being ill. Let's be honest, whose mind hasn't gone to fearful, worst-case-scenario thoughts such as 'maybe it's cancer' or 'maybe I'm dying' when experiencing severe or  inexplicable symptoms?

So listen up, this information could be a game-changer!

Let's start with a definition:

What is a healing response or healing reaction?

A healing response is when the body is going through a natural, intelligent self-healing phase or cycle in order to restore homeostasis; as part of that process it creates physical or emotional symptoms which we equate with symptoms of illness or unwellness.

Most people 'confuse healing response symptoms with regular symptoms of illness', not realizing that healing response type 'symptoms' are a temporary phenomenon indicating a positive transformation occurring at a deep level inside the body, where old energy and information is being cleared from the body-mind.

Often when we are going through a healing response, we will not feel well. In fact, we can feel utterly shoddy!

Healing response symptoms can come in all shapes and sizes: they can be physical, mental (mind thoughts) or emotional.

Let's look at each type.

Physical Healing Response Symptoms

Physical healing responses usually show up as symptoms of physical discomfort, pain and tiredness, including digestive issues, cramps, nausea, tiredness, exhaustion, headaches, general aches and pains, back pain, insomnia, diarrhea, constipation (when the healing response gets a bit 'stuck') and more.

They can also show up as repeat symptoms of symptoms we are already experiencing if we have a chronic long-term illness.

For example, people with long-term CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, ME, IBS and more, can often experience an exacerbation of symptoms during a healing response, and mistake the healing response symptoms for increased symptoms of their illness*. This is often not the case - the healing response symptoms are an indication that healing progress is being made, and we just need to patient and wait out the temporary healing response symptoms until we come through the other side. Once we get to the other side, we will normally feel a whole heap better.

Physical healing responses will normally also include emotions, because we are a totality of being, which means our physical, mind, emotional, spiritual parts of ourselves are completely interconnected. The emotional side-effects of physical healing responses often include emotions like frustration, impatience, intolerance, or grief and sadness. 

Emotional Healing Responses

Emotional healing responses turn up as 'negative' (ie uncomfortable) emotions such as frustration, anger, sadness, grief, upset, as well as depression and anxiety.**

Out of nowhere we suddenly experience, or re-experience, these emotions, leading us to feel more upset and frustrated, as we erroneously believe something is wrong, we 'shouldn't be feeling like this', there's no apparent cause, and we must be going backwards.

Again, nothing could be further than the truth. 

Often the emotions are a sign that this negative emotional energy is self-clearing from the body-mind. They are literally clearing out at a cellular level. As the emotions surface to clear out, we FEEL them. But all they are doing is passing through and out. It's our job therefore to recognize what is happening (see below) and allow this healing phase to self-complete, which it will naturally do if we allow it to. As the saying goes 'this phase shall pass'.

Mind Healing Responses

A 'mind' healing response will be very connected with any emotional healing response, and often go hand in hand. Mind healing responses are more to do with our thoughts and mind patterns (patterns and habits of thinking). For example pessimism, worry, worst-case-scenario thinking. These are all unhealthy mind habits, which in turn will trigger 'secondary' emotions such as fear, which in turn will trigger physical responses such as feeling 'sick with worry'. (For more information on understanding different types of primary and secondary emotions, this is all explained in depth in the Level 1 EAA Foundation program).

No matter which type of healing response you may be experiencing, they are all part of what is called the 'stress-regeneration' cycle. A healing response is a miniature stress-regeneration cycle, whilst a chronic or serious illness is a larger much more comprehensive stress-regeneration cycle, because all symptoms are a sign our body is trying to heal itself.

Understanding the stress-regeneration cycle

In the bigger picture of understanding how the body works, another very misunderstood phenomenon which can catch you out, is the 'stress regeneration' cycle.

The body is constantly self-monitoring homeostasis (balance). Every second of every day millions of homeostatic chemical reactions are occurring in the body to ensure it stays healthy and alive. A simple example of homeostasis balance is the PH balance of fluids (water, blood etc). Without us even having having to think about it, our body creates miracles inside our body.

One of the ongoing miracles is taking charge of the natural healing process.

I won't go into full detail here about the natural healing cycle because it will detract from the original purpose of the topic we are focusing on, but it's important to understand that the 'healing response is part of a natural healing cycle which consists of two parts:

  • A 'stress' phase and 
  • A 'regeneration' phase

Usually when we are experiencing a 'healing response' we are in the 'regeneration' phase of the natural healing cycle. ***(see below for more info on this).

Why do 'healing response' symptoms often affect our digestive system?

Often when we experience healing response symptoms, we experience things like headaches, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and other digestive issues. 

In order to understand why this is, we need to understand that every cell, tissue and organ in the body has a dual function:

One the one hand the organs and tissues have a biological, physical function (we know this from biology and science)

What most people are unaware of is that every cell, tissue and organ has a beyond physical function which we can call 'meta-physical': meta means 'beyond'. Metaphysical means 'beyond physical'. Simply put, the cells, tissues and organs have an emotional function: they have to store, manage and process our emotions!

Most people are unaware of the 'meta-physical' role the physical body plays. They have not been taught this at school or growing up in their family environment. It is not yet taught in medical school. But it's a fact, and I am fortunate enough to have come across this information which is now starting to be brought into public awareness. One day it will be commonplace. 

The physical and meta-physical functions of the body mirror each other in an uncanny way.

If we look at the physical role of the digestive system, its job is to take in food (mouth), swallow it (throat, esophagus), break down (duodenum, stomach), digest and process (digestive tract including liver, pancreas, gall bladder etc), absorb nutrients (small intestine), and excrete waste (large intestine, rectum).

If we look at the meta-physical role of the digestive system, its job is to manage and process the emotional responses which are being triggered inside the body as a result of events which are happening in our life. We literally have to DIGEST our life.

This is why we say things like

  • I found that hard to swallow (throat / esophagus)
  • The tears got stuck in my throat 
  • I was sick with worry (stomach)
  • I'm finding that hard to digest (small intestine)
  • I'm livid  with anger (liver)
  • I'm green with envy (gall bladder)
  • She / he is a pain in my neck
  • I can't let it go (large intestine)
  • etc

When we are processing emotions as part of the natural healing response, it is very common to experience physical and emotional symptoms of detoxification as the body lets go of old energy and toxins from the body. It's natural! It's just doing its job!

We WILL therefore experience physical and emotional symptoms!

It's natural!

The problem comes when people have no idea this is a natural phenomenon and do not recognize it, or allow it to 'ride its course'.

One of the secrets is to know how to recognize if you are experiencing a healing response. 

How can you tell if you are in a healing response or not?

One of the things which can catch us out when we are experiencing a healing response is that we don't recognize when we are in it! We have been so conditioned to think that symptoms are 'bad' and that 'something must be going wrong' that we immediately jump to the conclusion that we are getting sick or worse.

Jumping to conclusions without complete information is a natural human tendency which we have to learn to monitor, because it can often lead us astray. (This goes for any area of our life!).

In order to know whether you are in a healing response or not, you need to know:

  1. What a healing response is (we've covered this already)
  2. The classic physical, mental and emotional signs of a healing response (covered at the start of this blog)
  3. The typical traits of healing response symptoms and how it differs from 'regular' symptoms (see below)
  4. The bigger picture of the natural 'stress-regeneration' cycle of the human body-mind for maintaining natural homeostasis (also described above

Typical traits of a healing response

As a rule of thumb there are several indicators symptoms may be a healing response. It's good to know them so you can cross-check to assess and monitor the situation:

Healing response symptoms often occur:

  • within minutes to 2 days of a healing treatment (eg massage, oestopathic appointment, acupuncture treatment, dental appointment, physio treatment etc)
  • usually happen within 72 hours of a healing session (including counselling, emotional release work, trauma healing etc)
  • within 24 hours of starting a detox regime or new diet (because the digestive system is now starting to get rid of emotional and / or physical toxins from the system
  • A few weeks after intense emotional / trauma release work
  • When we move out of a 'stress' phase into a 'regeneration' phase - eg, we go on holiday after a stressful period at work, and get sick as soon as we relax

What is essential to understand about healing response symptoms is that:

  • They are temporary and will pass. Normally they can pass in minutes or a few days (in my experience within 24-48 hours)
  • They are POSITIVE sign that something GOOD is happening in the body even though it feels awful and you can be in a lot of pain
  • They are a natural part of the self-healing cycle

Why can knowing this information change your life?

Many people are unaware that when they have symptoms, their body is in a healing response or natural 'regeneration' phase. They think something is wrong when actually something is right.

They rush off to the doctor worrying and fretting, when actually all they need to do is take care of themselves and ride it out.**** (see important note below).

If we know how to recognize a healing response (by cross-checking the list above) we can hold it as a possibility it may be one. If it truly is one, we must then do the following:

Keys to navigating a natural healing response

  • We stay calm and remind ourselves our body is in a self-healing phase and it knows what it is doing. It is incredibly intelligent, it knows how to look after us.
  • We look after ourselves and TAKE IT EASY. We do not push ourselves to work or 'keep going' when our body is CLEARLY asking us to rest so it can do its job. (Adverts on TV telling you to take flu medication and just 'carry on' are a classic example of erroneously educating people into thinking this is the right course of action, when it's probably not)
  • We EMBRACE the symptoms and THANK our incredible body for its amazing ability to self-regulate
  • We drink lots of water (as necessary) and take it easy, sleep, rest as necessary
  • We ride it out
  • If necessary we seek support, emotionally, medically or otherwise, to help us make it through

Examples of Healing Responses

I've lost count of the number of very real healing responses I've had, but I'll share a few so you can see what can happen. It will also help you to understand the connection between underlying emotional causes and how old emotional pain manifests as physical symptoms.

Back Pain Healing Response

Even though I know that almost any physical pain I experience has an emotional cause or undertone, sometimes it's useful and necessary to get physical help. One day I was experiencing a sore left knee, and took myself to my cranio-sacral osteopath for a treatment. Even though I knew she had done good work, the next day I woke up in agony, barely able to walk. My left hip was very sore and stiff. Obviously on a physical level the work she did had a knock-on effect on my hip, quite possibly because the origin of the issues was actually from the hip. I spent the next 36 hours barely able to walk. The next day I felt slightly better and made it out to the shops. While I was out something happened which triggered some anger, which I self-processed and dealt with it. As soon as I did this, the physical pain disappeared immediately and I could walk again without pain. It was as if the physical pain had never been there.

This story is a great example of a couple of things:

  1. How emotional pain can get stored in the body and manifest as physical pain which can be cleared in seconds once the emotional cause is cleared
  2. How the body can go into a natural physical healing response after a therapeutic treatment

Depression Healing Response

A few years ago I returned from an intensive 2 week training. Two weeks after my return I woke up one day experiencing intense depression which seemed to 'appear out of nowhere'. On the second day, I recognized that it could be a healing response after the in depth transformational work of the training. I held it as a possibility that it was, and sure enough, a couple of days later the depression lifted and was gone. I could clearly see that it had been old energy and information clearing out of the cells after the training. 

This story is a great example of:

  1. How it's important to always question and hold it as a possibility, you may be experiencing a healing response if you get sick shortly after a treatment, therapy or program of deep transformation, because the body always needs to complete the natural self-healing cycle, which may necessitate a healing response
  2. How it's important not to panic and stay calm if you suspect your body is going through a healing response 

Emotional melt-down healing response

Not too long ago I did another intense 10 day emotional healing residential training. Two days after the training, I was flying up to Scotland to visit a friend. It was a hell experience at the airport: I arrived late in the rain to find a 30 minute queue to get through to the x-ray machines - my flight was due to leave in 20 minutes!

I managed to get to the front of the queue and then had my liquids confiscated because the decanted bottles were too big even though the amount of liquid in them was under the limit. I was rather annoyed (under-statement) because I had bought a beautiful Swiss liqueur as a gift for my friend and it was unceremoniously confiscated.

I then ran through the busiest crowd of people I have ever experienced at an airport, through a maze of corridors, to get to the gate, and just as I neared the gate realized I had forgotten my laptop at the x-ray machine as a result of being distracted by the liquids saga. At that point I lost it and broke down. I was exhausted and at the end of my tether. Never in 45 years of flying had I ever been late for or missed a flight! This was going to be a first. The choice was getting on the plane or leaving my precious laptop: there was no contest, and the laptop had to be saved. 

After making my way back to the x-ray machines, I was relieved to reclaim my laptop, and devastated to have missed my flight. I stood sobbing by the customs desk, no longer caring that I looked like a total lunatic. 

There was more drama even after this before I finally got to a hotel room to stay the night before flying out the next morning which I won't go into here, but the point here is this:

I had an emotional breakdown at the airport not because of arriving late for my flight / having items confiscated / missing the flight etc, but because those events triggered a huge emotional clearing which needed to happen after the very intense training I had just completed. 

This is the wonder of how the universe works, if we can see the deeper meaning and purpose in what happens to us. 

As I lay in bed in my hotel room that night, I did some deep emotional processing and clearing work to complete the emotional healing response which had been triggered, and by the morning I was right as rain. 

Physical Healing Response after medical treatment

The fact of the matter is that most medical procedures and treatments are going to trigger a healing response in the body. 

Some years ago I had an intravenous iron transfusion. I completely forgot that iron transfusions can trigger a physical response in the body.

The next morning I woke up feeling as sick as a dog. I spent the next few hours with a high fever, vomiting, barely able to move a muscle. I felt like I was dying. 

Had I not recognized and held it as a possibility that my body was going through a healing response as a result of the iron transfusion, as my wondrous body intelligence strove to rebalance itself and find homeostasis after having had an enormous influx of iron shot into it in one go, I would have called an ambulance. 

However, I decided to ride it out and sure enough within 24 hours it was as if nothing had happened. I was better. 


There are many, many more healing response stories I could relate, but I hope from these few examples you can start to understand the principle and how it works.  

Obviously it takes practice and skill to tell if one is experiencing a healing response, how to navigate one while it is happening, and how to tell if it's symptoms of illness (which are still a healing response but of another kind - that's a whole other story).

Therefore if in doubt always seek appropriate medical support and advice. However, the more adept you become at understanding this phenomenon, the more you are going to avoid panicking or seeking out medical help which may not be necessary. It will also stop a heap of unnecessary fear that something has gone horribly wrong in your body-mind, when the truth is your body is just doing its job to regain homeostasis.


*Actually, direct symptoms of illness are a type of 'healing response' in themselves because the body IS trying to heal itself if it is sending symptoms, but it would complicate things to go into detail on that here. 

**Depression and anxiety are not technically emotions - they are symptoms and symptomatic of an unconscious pattern of 'de-pressing' a group of emotions or being overwhelmed by too many emotions.

*** Watch a video on the natural healing cycle here on my You Tube channel

**** If ever in doubt, seek medical assistance. Until and unless you know how to tell the difference, it is essential you seek proper medical advice. Sometimes you may absolutely need life-saving medical attention.


Relevant Videos on You Tube

Are symptoms meaningful or meaningless?

Why a virus isn't the cause of chronic fatigue or ME

The Metaphysical / Emotional Cause of Back Pain

Why symptoms are a sign of healing



Kim Knight Health does not diagnose, treat, cure or heal any illness or health condition. This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Please seek appropriate help if you are ever in doubt over symptoms. 

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