Rolfing Healing Crisis – transitioning into wellness – Post 2
When an imbalance has existed for a while, the entire system exhausts its ability to compensate, causing sub-systems to begin to fail. Any gardener knows that the soil can only be depleted for so long until the plants start showing signs of weakness. The weak plants become vulnerable to attack and disease. Our bodies are no different. Years of stress and exposure to toxic substances weakens them.
Scientists call this adaptation to the constant stress “allostatic load.” It happens where a new baseline of homeostasis is created. Your body is meant to sustain a high level of output to survive; it is just not designed to do it for an extended time. Post traumatic stress (PTSD) is one specific illustration of how you can exhaust your coping mechanisms.
To permanently alleviate symptoms, the whole system (the entire body) needs to be released. The hyper-state, the “allostatic load” that was created to survive must be turned off. When the body starts to come down from being wired, many of the consequences begin to be released. This is not much different than a person withdrawing from an addition. Not only does the body excrete the additive substance, but it also can release many of the other substances and emotions that were linked to the original substance.
The most common complaint that brings a client in to see me is back pain. In most cases, this person has tried other therapies that helped for a while, but inevitably, the back pain would return. In the process of seeing me, the client began to realize that the back pain was tied to many other long term conditions, such as a short leg, an old sports injury, chronic stress, or maybe kidney toxicity. Through the course of Rolfing, the body begins to unwind. The first experience one has is that of relief – in this case, his back became looser. A few more sessions frequently causes deeper structures to let go. When this occurs, the held state of chronic stress, the allostatic load, starts to release. This is when true healing occurs. It is also when a healing crisis is more likely to occur.
The disassembling of the old world order – the disruption of what was a pseudo-balance state as the prelude to creating a higher state of balance, can bring about the healing crisis. I have had many clients say they felt as if their world was falling apart. Their internal world was. This purification process restores the body’s natural ability to exist in a more relaxed, adaptable and balanced state. The shift from a body that is getting worse to one that is getting better is the turning point, the healing crisis.