Why Do I Have to Feel Worse Before Feeling Better?
July 2, 2013 | Published by Dr. Eric Bakker
It seems cruel, but sometimes it seems like your body punishes you for doing the right thing. For example, many people, when starting their journey to battle adrenal fatigue, start to feel worse before feeling better. They’re watching their diet, monitoring their lifestyle to eliminate and reduce stress, supplementing with good nutrients, yet are worse for the wear than before. To get a better understanding of why his happens, we’re stepping into the time machine to pay a visit to one of the pioneers of modern medicine — Hippocrates.
Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) was credited with being the first to argue that diseases are caused naturally, not by godly acts. He put forth the idea that diseases are the product of environmental factors: things like a low-nutrient diet, harsh weather and bad habits. And all this more than 2,000 years ago, in an age when most people believed the Earth was flat and you could fall off the edge.
To explain the worse before better puzzle, Hippocrates put forth the idea of the ‘crisis.’ A crisis in the healing process meant a turning point in the patient’s condition; these would occur at multiple set points during the recovery process, especially toward the beginning. He realized these setbacks would often happen after treatment because it stimulated the body’s ‘vital principle’—the force that animates living beings—which would throw off the recovery process. A crisis could manifest as a bowel irritation, headache, low-grade fever, severe tiredness or a skin rash to name a few. Severity also varies, with symptoms ranging from mild to sometimes severe. In my practice, I generally find that in chronic cases a patient may call or email me around the three day mark to ask if it’s normal to feel worse before feeling better.
As a practitioner himself, Hippocrates was passive yet observant, basing his therapeutic approach on “the healing power of nature.” Hippocrates believed rest and immobilization were the two most important aspects of the recovery process. He also believed that the physician needed to be kind to the patient and intend no harm; these tenants are upheld today, and are known (surprise!) as the Hippocratic Oath. The treatments Hippocrates used on his own patients were (mostly) gentle, with an emphasis on keeping the patient ‘pure’ and sterile. Patients were encouraged to rest and take it easy to minimize any crises during the important healing process.
So in this present day, how do you go about minimizing your own crises after starting a treatment? You go low and start slow with treatment, especially if you have been chronically unwell. Your body will need time to slowly adapt to the changes you are introducing, so be patient. Don’t act in haste and quit your treatment right away because you think it’s not working; these setbacks are temporary, and if you can push through them you will be rewarded for your efforts.
About the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website: candidacrusher.com You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org Dr. Bakker’s Blog: www.ericbakker.com
Categorised in: Adrenal Fatigue