When a Healing Crisis Arises and How to Cope  

The beauty of Reiki energy healing is that it gently amplifies and supports your natural ability to heal on all levels; mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Reiki wakes up and rebalances your innate healing resources, supporting the healing of acute and chronic disease as well as anxiety, fatigue, depression, addictions and other symptoms of imbalance. It can also help you experience deep relaxation, reduced stress, more emotional stability and increased self-esteem.

For most clients, the healing process unfolds smoothly while an infrequent few will experience a more significant healing response, sometimes referred to as a “healing crisis.” In this article, I’ll explain what a “healing response” is, why it occurs and some tips for coping when it happens.

Three Ways Energy Healing Unfolds

Each person’s experience of Reiki is quite unique. In my experience, however, the healing process typically unfolds in one of three ways:

  • Spontaneous Healing
  • Healing Spiral
  • Healing Response (i.e. healing crisis)

Spontaneous Healing – Some individuals report spontaneous healing of their health condition or emotional/mental issue, either on the Reiki table or within 24 hours of their session.

Here the client is open and their belief system is strong. Reiki amplifies the client’s highest will and intention for healing and provides what appears to be an instant or spontaneous healing.

The Healing Spiral – For other individuals, the healing process takes place over time, much like peeling an onion but in a non-linear somewhat cyclical fashion. Reiki facilitates peeling away the layers of each issue, bringing our buried or blocked “stuff” to the surface for healing then allowing for periods of integration until the healing is complete. On some level, I believe the client’s higher self is concerned with being overwhelmed and Reiki, respecting the individual’s highest will, moves the healing process along more gradually.

Also, this spiraling process often occurs because the original issue or symptom is often rooted in multiple aspects of person (mind, body, emotions, and/or spirit) and therefore requires unraveling and re-patterning on all levels of the energy field.

The Healing Response– A small number of individuals experience what is called a “Healing Response” either on the Reiki table during their session or shortly after their session.

A Healing Response is defined as a time during the purification process when old symptoms temporarily resurface, moving you from the chronic stage back through the acute phase of the problem while on the way to a deeper true healing.

The term “Healing Response” was derived from the medical term for healing crisis, also known as the “Herxheimer Reaction.” The Herxheimer Reaction occurs when our cells release toxins into circulation but our elimination organs can’t eliminate them quickly enough. The toxins remain in circulation effecting the brain stem region leading to nausea, poor coordination, headaches, fatigue, malaise, fever, and so on.

In all cases, Reiki is not the cause. The Reiki practitioner is not doing the healing, rather she is channeling life force energy which amplifies or kick-starts the client’s own natural healing abilities. All healing is self healing. Therefore, I believe that the client’s higher self ultimately determines which of the three healing processes the client is most ready for.

Also it’s important to note that you may experience a Healing Response for one issue, a Spontaneous Healing for another, and at a later date, the Healing Spiral for a different issue.

Reiki and the Purification Process

Some might call it a detox but I prefer the term “purification” which I came across in an article by Diane Ruth Shewmaker entitled Reiki and the Healing Crisis in the Fall 2004 issue of Reiki News Magazine. The term “purification” aptly puts the focus on the outcome, which is a purer more authentically you state. A “you” without the junk that is weighing you down and holding you back. Because the true core of who you (and we) are is divine love and light.

A great deal of cleansing takes place during Reiki energy work. For many of us, old injuries, illnesses, emotional wounds, traumatic events, and/or environmental pollutants (i.e. collectively known as “toxins”) have built up on our energy system over time. As a Reiki Master, I sense where in your body and/or energetic field these mental, physical, emotional and spiritual “toxins” are stored, and then use Reiki life force energy and our joint intention to release them. Energetically this creates more “space” where your own natural God-given light and love can expand and where you can allow more of God’s love and light to enter as well.

Most of the time the release experience is relatively gentle and passes unnoticed. Sometimes, release is experienced during a session through crying, talking it out, breathing through it, and so on. Other times, the purification process is more noticeable and uncomfortable, with the symptoms feeling like they resurface or get slightly worse before subsiding and moving on to a deeper healing. It may take several hours, days or even weeks for the purification to works its way through your energy system.

The cleansing experience is sometimes heightened following a Reiki session or a series of sessions because it can greatly accelerate the clearing and healing process. Although it may feel bad, it is actually an indication of a deeper level of healing taking place. As the purification process unfolds, releasing toxins from all levels of your being you may experience one or more of the following physical symptoms:

  • Feeling lethargic or unusually tired
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Aching joints and muscles
  • Tingling sensations
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Sometimes emotions or memories that you’ve repressed from earlier experiences re-surface for no obvious reason. Many clients will say, “I’ve already worked on all this.” My response is that it’s just another layer of the “onion” coming forth to be released. When these memories or emotions resurface you may feel, one or more of the following:

  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Doubt
  • Frustration
  • Blame
  • Victimizing

9 Tips for Coping During a Healing Crisis

  1. Know that you haven’t failed and this isn’t a failure to heal. It’s quite the opposite. Your higher self has chosen to release more of what no longer serves you, and so it is bringing to light what needs to be released. Picture a sunken chest of your junky issues (pain, illness, depression, fear, etc.) at the bottom of the ocean that is you. The only way to get ride of this junk is to bring it up to the light, open the box and let the junk swim far, far away from you. Metaphorically speaking, Reiki has helped your energy system bring this heavy chest of junk up to the surface to be released. The Healing Crisis is the junk coming to light and doing its best to swim away. The challenge is to not grab on to the junk as it’s trying to swim away!
  2. Let go and let God. As uncomfortable emotions and thought patterns from your subconscious come into your awareness, resist the urge to re-examine them, to pick at them, or try to fix them. Simply acknowledge them, let them move through and out of you. If you are having a hard time resisting the urge to fix the thoughts or feelings, simply say to yourself, “I see you, thank you, I release you. I welcome in love and light.” Or “I let go and let God.” Or a personal favorite is, “I let go and I choose to see this from God’s higher truth and perspective.”
  3. Call on your spirit guides, angels, ascended masters and God for assistance. Reiki Master Haripriya Suraj suggestes this short prayer, “Dear Archangel Michael, please help me with this phase. Please bring me assistance and help me to feel strong and comfortable.” Our angels and guides are always ready to help. But because we all have free will, you must ask for their help so they can come to your aid.
  4. Rest more. Honor your body. You may feel extremely tired and lethargic. Your body and/or energetic system is healing, which takes energy. Nurture yourself with longer periods sleep, rest or several naps throughout the day.
  5. Take a hot bath with Epsom salt and a few drops of Release essential oil. As one of the most powerful of the emotional supporting essential oil blends, its goal is to release memory trauma from the liver in order to create emotional well-being. It also helps open the subconscious mind to release deeper-seated trauma.  You might follow this by diffusing Peace & Calming essential oil blend in an aromatherapy diffuser (diffuse 3-5 drops, for one hour, three times daily as needed).
  6. Double your water intake. Just like with a physical detox or cleanse program, it’s important to stay hydrated with water to encourage your body to flush and expel the toxins. Drinking water with a healthy squeeze of lemon may also help flush out toxins and provide nutrients and antioxidants.
  7. Read uplifting books or a watch an inspiring movie. It will take your mind off the symptoms and shift your vibration up a notch or two, moving you from a potentially restrictive state to a more expansive state, allowing the healing to unfold at its own pace.
  8. Meditate by focusing on the breath or listening to a guided meditation. One of the amazing benefits of meditation is that it has the capability to reduce mental and physical pain better than morphine! Seriously. Read here for the research that backs this up. In the meantime, there are half dozen guided meditations on my website that you can listen to for free, such as my Pools of Light Chakra Healing guided meditation or Healing Body-Mind-Emotions Guided Meditations. Or enjoy one of the thousands of guided meditations on the Insight Timer app (one of my favorite apps).
  9. Do breathing exercises to calm your body and mind. The breath has amazing recuperative powers. By controlling the breath you can alter your state of mind. The three practices in the video link below create their effects by slowing and regulating the breath. This engages what scientists call the parasympathetic nervous system, a complex biological mechanism that calms and soothes us.

Expanding into more love and light

The good news is that the uncomfortable feelings and sensations that accompany a healing crisis are normal and are not usually cause for concern. They are a natural result from the process of bringing, through Reiki, vital life force energy into your system. It’s nature’s way of cleansing the body, mind, emotions, and spirit, to make way for more divine love and light to be grounded into your body.

As Ms. Shewmaker states, “The universal healing energy of Reiki harmonizes your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies by grounding the essential life force within your energy system, which expands your capacity to carry more light and love.”

Nevertheless, if you have severe or continuing physical or emotional reactions after receiving a Reiki session, it is recommend that you contact your regular provider. Reiki is a complimentary modality to traditional medical and psychological care, not a replacement.

About Natalie Eve Marquis, RMT, CH

Natalie Eve Marquis, founder of the Wisdom Within, is a Reiki Master TeacherMaster Hypnotistprofessional intuitive and spiritual life coach. She offers heart-centered healing and coaching, helping people connect to their inner wisdom and achieve optimal energy states that allow them to heal, align with their soul’s purpose, and sore! You can work with Natalie in person in the Outer Banks, NC or by phone from anywhere in the world. Visit: http://wisdomwithinobx.com/ or call/text (603) 642-4949.


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Natalie Eve Marquis
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