It seems natural to assume that if a symptom is healing, it will slowly get better and better until it’s gone. However, the path to healing is not commonly this linear. More likely, there will be ups and downs, improvements and setbacks. Slowly the ups become more frequent and long-lived, and the downs become fewer and further between.
Sometimes as part of the healing journey, you may experience a temporary worsening of your symptoms after an acupuncture treatment. This worsening usually happens within 24 hours of the treatment; less often, it can happen up to 48 hours after the treatment. This timing, combined with a marked improvement afterwards, points towards what is known as a “healing reaction” or “healing crisis”. Another way to think of it is an intense healing event:
“An intense healing event is a normal part of an accelerated healing process. It occurs when the body gathers enough strength to deal with the cleansing and regeneration needed to achieve an improved condition of health.” – David Saterlee
This is a good sign that the treatment you received is working to correct the underlying imbalance that is creating the symptoms. It indicates that the message that the treatment delivered hit its target. You should feel much better once the reaction subsides than you did prior to the treatment.
Healing reactions never create new symptoms – if you experience a new symptom immediately following a treatment, this is not a healing reaction. Communicate with your practitioner anytime symptoms worsen after treatment, and he or she will guide you in understanding the context of what may be happening.