Retracing - Why Test and Symptoms
Don't Always Match

Retracing is the process the body goes through as healing occurs. Retracing reactions, also referred to as healing crises or flare-ups, are symptoms of the rebalancing of one's body chemistry. Chiropractic, psychology, homeopathy and nutritional balancing science all recognize this concept. Allopathic medicine rarely mentions it, most likely because allopathic methods rarely produce retracing reactions.

Often, healing reactions appear the same as disease symptoms. However, healing reactions usually pass quickly, even if they are vigorous, provided they are not suppressed. To distinguish healing reactions from disease symptoms, ask the following questions:

  • Is the patient following a health-building program that specifically balances body chemistry? If the answer is yes, the reaction is more likely retracing. Keep in mind that just because someone is on a special diet, or taking supplements or remedies, does not mean they are on a proper balancing program. For example, one patient followed a vegetarian diet for five years and experienced many symptoms believed to be healing symptoms. Later he discovered they were signs of illness brought on by stress and a diet improper for his needs.

  • Was the patient feeling better just before the symptom occurred? If the answer is yes, it is more likely a healing reaction. Healing requires energy. When the body has more energy, it will initiate a retracing process.

  • Is this a flare-up of an old symptom?If so, it may be a healing reaction, although that is not always the case.

Examples of Retracing Symptoms

Retracing often causes a flare-up in chronic conditions. They become acute and then resolve, reversing the way they arose. For example, most people have chronic infections they are unaware of. Infections may be in the sinuses, ears, teeth, bladder and others areas. Many began in early childhood, or may be the result of dental or surgical procedures.

Retracing may involve the release of medications or other toxic substances ingested twenty or more years ago. As they are mobilized from tissue storage sites, symptoms may include energy fluctuations, strange odors, bowel changes, or a re-experience of the actual effects or toxicity of the substance itself. If someone was a coffee addict, as stored caffeine is removed from tissue storage sites, the person may become jittery and anxious until the elimination ends.

Substances that came from the mother during gestation may also be released. For example, if a mother smoked during or before pregnancy, her child will be born with toxins found in cigarette smoke such as cadmium and nicotine. Many years later, that person may go through a reaction in which the nicotine and cadmium are eliminated.

Retracing also occurs on the emotional level. Memories and emotions are stored at the cellular level. As body chemistry improves, old (toxic) memories often surface to be released. Emotional sensitivity may increase and unexplained episodes of anxiety, depression, crying or other emotional states are common. Emotional awareness and expression often increase as healing proceeds, causing unusual symptoms.

Retracing and Hair Analysis

On a hair analysis, the retracing phenomenon can skew the mineral readings. It can cause a shift in the oxidation rate. Toxic metal levels may rise as a metal is mobilized from a tissue storage site. Mineral ratios may invert as the body retraces an old stress pattern. Sometimes these changes last for weeks or months, or they may go on for a year or more when deeper patterns are being undone.

Retracing complicates the interpretation of a hair analysis. The general procedure is to follow the body through its changes. We alter the diet and supplements as 'mid-course corrections' to support and guide the system toward more balanced and higher energy states.

At times, the patient may feel better but their mineral test may look worse. The sodium/potassium ratio may decrease on a retest, even though the patient feels better. This could be due to releasing a toxic substance that was propping up the ratio artificially. It is not important what the toxin was, and it may not be possible to find out what it was. It is important to support the body through the change with the appropriate diet, supplements and lifestyle modifications.

Sometimes the hair analysis will look much better, but the patient feels worse. This may occur because the retracing process requires that energy be used for internal healing, not for outward activity. Thus, the patient feels tired. Sometimes the improved chemistry has brought into focus an old infection, a structural misalignment, or fears from the past which must be dealt with. This causes the patient to feel worse for awhile.

Most often, reassurance is all that is needed. The symptoms will pass. However, if symptoms persist, other natural therapies may be needed along with a scientific nutrition program to move past the blockage. These may include chiropractic, colonic irrigation, psychotherapy, or others. One modality may work for a while and then another is needed. We are multi-dimensional beings and healing needs to take place at all levels. It is always incorrect to believe that one healing modality will answer all needs at all times.

Adaptation - The Basis for Retracing

The terminology of the stress theory of disease is often helpful to explain retracing. Complex, self-correcting systems such as our bodies continuously modify or adapt themselves in the face of stress to maintain equilibrium, or what is called homeostasis. The changes the body makes are called adaptations or compensations. Sugar levels, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone and mineral levels and hundreds of other factors fluctuate moment by moment in response to stress. Most of the time we don't notice the changes.

Causes of stress on the body include lack of nutrients, fatigue, heat, cold, physical trauma, or blockages in the body due to structural, energetic, bacterial, viral, fungal, chemical, nutritional, mental or emotional disturbances. The goal of all natural healing arts is to relieve stress and reduce the burden of disturbances or blockages that impair the body's ability to adapt and heal itself.

If stress becomes too severe, or if the body cannot adapt adequately to it, more extreme adaptations will occur. These include pain, fever, exhaustion, even depression or anxiety. If we respond correctly to these signals, they are usually self-limiting. That is, they achieve their goal of restoring balance and they disappear. However, if they are suppressed, adaptation continues. The body must adapt not only to the original stress, but to the suppressive measures that have been added.

If one is tired, one may drink a soft drink. This provides instant energy, but upsets the blood sugar level and does not provide the rest the body usually is craving. So now the body must adapt not only to the original stress, but also to the suppressive remedy that has been applied.

Today, most bodies, even at a young age, have layers and layers of compensations due to birth trauma, accidents, improperly treated infections, emotional shocks and so forth. Each adaptation reduces the energy level, opening the door to more serious problems. Eventually, the system may no longer self-correct and goes into a "vicious cycle", which means the self-healing process doesn't function. Examples of this are runaway infections, untreated diabetes or cancer.

Natural healing methods are gaining popularity because they are the only way to reverse the suppressive process and restore homeostasis. Hair analysis can be used to balance and normalize the body's homeostatic mechanisms. Using mineral analysis to balance body chemistry is the way we teach, because it is a much more effective way to restore health.

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