This section of the book is from the "How and When to Be Your Own Doctor" book, by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon, published in 1997.
Certain unpleasant somatics that occur while fasting (or while on a healing diet) may not be dangerous or "bad." Two types, the healing crisis, and retracing, are almost inevitable. A well-educated faster should welcome these discomforts when they happen. The healing crisis (but not retracing) also occurs on a healing diet.
The healing crisis can seem a big surprise to a faster who has been progressing wonderfully. Suddenly, usually after a few days of noticeably increased well-being, they suddenly experience a set of severe symptoms and feel just awful. This is not a setback, not something to be upset or disappointed about, but a healing crisis, actually a positive sign
Healing crises always occur after a period of marked improvement. As the vital force builds up during the healing process, the body decides it now has obtained enough energy to throw off some accumulated toxins, and forcefully pushes them out through a typical and usually previously used route of secondary elimination, such as the nose, lungs, stomach, intestines, skin, or perhaps produces a flu-like experience with fever chills, sweat, aches and pains, etc. Though unpleasant, this experience is to be encouraged; the body has merely accelerated its elimination process. Do not attempt to suppress any of these symptoms, don"t even try to moderate fever, which is the body"s effective way to burn out a virus or bacteria infection, unless it is a dangerously high fever (over 102° Fahrenheit). Fever can be lowered without drugs by putting the person into a cool/cold bath, or using cold towel wraps and cold water sponge baths. The good news is that healing crises usually do not last long, and when they are past you feel better than you did before the crisis.
Asthmatics seem to have the worst crises. I have had asthmatics bring up a quart of obnoxious mucous from their lungs every night for weeks. They have stayed awake all night for three nights continuously coughing and choking on the material that was being eliminated. After that clearing-out process they were able to breath much more freely. Likewise I have had people who have had sinusitis have nothing but non-stop pussy discharge from their sinuses for three weeks. Some of this would run down the throat and cause nausea. All I could say to encourage the sufferer was that it needed to come out and to please stand aside and let the body work its magic. These fasters were not grateful until the sinus problem that had plagued them since childhood disappeared.
The interesting thing about healing crises are that the symptoms produced retrace earlier complaints; they are almost never something entirely unknown to the patient. Usually they are old, familiar somatics, often complaints that haven"t bothered the faster for many years. The reason the symptom is familiar but is not currently a problem is because as the body degenerates it loses vital force; with less vital force it loses the ability to create such acute detoxification episodes in non-life-threatening secondary elimination routes. The degenerated body makes less violent efforts to cleanse, efforts that aren"t as uncomfortable. The negative side of this is that instead of creating acute discomfort in peripheral systems, the toxemia goes to more vital organs where it hastens the formation of life-threatening conditions.
There is a very normal and typical progress for each person"s fatal illness. Their ultimate disease starts out in childhood or adolescence as acute inflammations of skin-like organs, viral or bacterial infections of the same. Then, as vital force weakens, secondary eliminations are shifted to more vital organs. Allergies or colds stop happening so frequently; the person becomes rheumatic, arthritic or experience weakness in joints, tendons, ligaments, or to have back pains, or to have digestive upsets. These new symptoms are more constant but usually less acute. Ultimately, vital organs begin to malfunction, and serious disease develop. But a hygienist sees the beginning of fatal diseases such as cancer in adolescent infections and allergies.
Retracing is generally seen only on water fasts, not on extended cleansing diets. The body begins to repair itself by healing conditions in the reverse order to that which they occurred originally. This means that the body would first direct healing toward the lungs if the most recently serious illness was an attack of pneumonia six months previously. In this case you would expect to quickly and intensely experience a mini-case of pneumonia while the body eliminates residues in the lungs that were not completely discharged at the time. Next the body might take you through a period of depression that you had experienced five years in the past. The faster may be profoundly depressed for a few days and come out of it feeling much better. You could then reexperience sensation-states like those caused by recreational drugs you had playfully experimented with ten years previously along with the "trippiness" if it were a hallucinogen, speediness if it was 'speed" or the dopiness if it was heroin. Retracing further, the faster might then experience something similar to a raging attack of tonsillitis which you vaguely remember having when you were five years old, but fortunately this time it passes in three days (or maybe six hours), instead of three weeks. This is retracing.
Please do not be surprised or alarmed if it happens to you on a fast, and immediately throw out the baby with the bath water thinking that you are doing the wrong thing because all those old illnesses are coming back to haunt you. It is the body"s magnificent healing effort working on your behalf, and for doing it your body deserves lots of "well done", "good body" thoughts rather than gnashing of teeth and thinking what did I do to deserve this. The body won"t tell you what you did to deserve this, but it knows and is trying its darndest to undo it.