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The 4 Stages of Healing

At some point in our lives, many of us will experience a serious health event.  This may be physical, mental, or spiritual or a combination.  Often these events are brought on by stress or eventually cause stress related health challenges including depression, indigestion, inflammation, insomnia, weakened immune system and so on.

Inevitably, this cycle activates the stress response in our bodies.  When stress has no where to go, it develops into chronic stress which has serious health consequences.  Many of us are interested in this topic, because we are there, we have experienced serious health consequences, or because we can see writing on the walls that a change is needed.

So, the first stage is Rest, especially if our bodies have broken down enough that the energy body has no get up and go left.  What are we resting?  All the systems of the body, especially: 

  • Cardiovascular / Circulatory – stress raises blood pressure and heart rate, increases risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Digestive – stress increases digestive disorder
  • Endocrine – stress increases stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline
  • Integumentary – stress decreases nutrient flow to skin, hair and nail cells
  • Lymphatic / Immune – stress decreases immunity, increases risk of illness and dis-ease
  • Muscular – stress increases muscle tension, puts pressure on the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous system tissues
  • Nervous – stress increases sympathetic response (fight, flight, and freeze)
  • Reproductive – stress decreases sexual function
  • Respiratory – stress decreases oxygen flow in the body
  • Skeletal – stress causes bone marrow to develop inflammatory cells – white blood cells
  • Urinary – stress increases urinary output

Rest is the first stage of healing.  And not just any rest, but the kind of rest that allows the body, mind, and senses to relax and let go.  Why?  By relaxing all the systems of the body, you create the right conditions for the body to restore itself.

The second stage is Restore.  When you feel stronger and more vital, the second principle in this healing continuum, restore, gradually increases movement activities with gentle joint movements, stretching and breathwork with the intention of moving toward health and well-being on all levels.

The third stage, Rebuild, continues with gentle yoga, stretching and strengthening poses, as well as lifestyle modifications to support your growing strength and overall well-being.  This includes creating a vision of wellness for yourself and your intention for health and wellness.

Rebuild includes all of the activities from Rest and Restore as appropriate.  The 4 Stages of Healing is a natural cycle that we experience many times in our lives.  The key, when moving from one stage into another, is a gradual approach that will allow you to recognize unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors that tend to increase stress and disconnection that lead to illness.

The fourth stage, Remember, is a commitment to your well-being.  Feeling well is a lifelong pursuit.  When you feel well, you have energy to participate and contribute beyond the bounds of your body.  Remember, is the freedom principle.  Freedom to be who you are truly meant to be:  loving, generous, involved with your family and friends, and active in your community.

The 4 Stages of HealingTM is a healing continuum that we cycle through many times during our lives.  Yoga offers tools for every stage of this continuum.