Crisis in the ordinary sense of the word means change, either for better or for worse. In its relation to medicine, the term "crisis" has been defined as "a decisive change in the disease, resulting either in recovery or in death."

We of the Nature Cure school distinguish between healing crises and disease crises, according to the character and the tendency of the acute reaction. If an acute disease is brought about through the accumulation of morbid matter or the invasion of disease germs to such an extent that the health or the life of the organism is endangered, in other words, if the disease conditions are forcing the crises, we speak of disease crises.

But if acute reactions take place in the system because conditions have become more normal, because the healing forces have gained the ascendancy and forced the acute inflammatory processes, we call them healing crises.

Healing crises are simply different forms of elimination by means of which Nature endeavors to remove the latent, chronic disease encumbrance from the system. The most common forms of these acute purifications are colds, catarrhal and hemorrhoidal discharges, boils, ulcers, abscesses, open sores, skin eruptions, diarrheas, etc.

Healing crises and disease crises may seem very much alike. Patients often tell me: "I have had this before. I call it an ordinary boil (or cold, or fever)."

That may be true. The former disease crisis and the present healing crisis may be similar in their outward manifestations. But they are taking place under entirely different conditions.

When the organism is loaded to the danger point with morbid matter, it may arouse itself in self-defense to an acute eliminative effort in the shape of cold, catarrh, fever, inflammation, skin eruption, etc. In these instances, the disease conditions bring about the crisis and the organism is on the defensive. These are disease crises.

Such unequal struggles between the healing forces and disease conditions sometimes end favorably and sometimes unfavorably.

On the other hand, healing crises develop because the healing forces are in the ascendancy and take the offensive. They are brought about through the natural methods of living and of treatment and always result in improved conditions.

A simple allegory may assist me in explaining the difference between a healing crisis and a disease crisis:

For years a prizefighter holds the championship because he keeps himself in perfect physical condition and before every contest spends many weeks in careful training. When he faces his opponent in the ring, he has eliminated from his organism as much waste matter and superfluous flesh and fat as possible by a strictly regulated diet and a great deal of hard exercise. As a consequence, he comes off victorious in every contest and easily maintains his superiority.

These victories in his career, like healing crises in the organism, are the result of training and preparation.

The prizefighter in the one case and Vital Force in the other are on the offensive from the beginning of the struggle and have the best of the fight from start to finish.

Rendered overconfident by long-continued success, our champion gradually permits himself to drift into a weakened physical condition. He omits his regular training and indulges in all kinds of dissipation.

One day, full of self-conceit and underestimating the strength of his challenger, he enters the ring without preparation and is ingloriously defeated by a man who, under different circumstances, would not be a match for him.

So, in the case of a patient in a disease crisis, fatal termination may be due to the excessive accumulation of waste and morbid matter in the system, to lowered vitality and to lack of preparation. Victory or defeat in acute reactions as well as in the ring depends on right living and preparatory training.

In the healing crisis, vitality is the stronger and gains the victory in the struggle; in the disease crisis, disease conditions have gained the ascendancy and may bring about the defeat of the healing forces.

Under conditions favorable to human life, a body of normal structure, healthy blood and tissues and good vitality cannot be affected by acute disease. Such an organism is practically immune to all forms of inflammatory febrile reactions. These always indicate that there is something wrong in the system which Nature is trying to correct or get rid of.