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Retracing - What is it?

What is Retracing in the Healing Process?

Retracing is the process by which your body rewinds and repairs previously unresolved injuries following an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment, which may allow you ultimately to achieve a greater level of health. It is important to describe an interesting phenomenon known as retracing as it relates to upper cervical specific chiropractic care.

Retracing is also known as unwinding, “detoxing,” or a “healing crisis.” It is the process by which your body rewinds and repairs previously unresolved injuries, which allows you ultimately to achieve a greater level of health.

Think of an archaeologist peeling back layers of earth to discover the ruins of ancient civilizations. The deeper that the archaeologist digs, the older the civilization. When your body retraces, it peels back the layers of trauma that you have accumulated on top of each other over time.

Let’s say that you suffered a series of injuries: A, B, C, D, and now E. When you suffered injuries A-D, you didn’t seek care because “they fixed themselves.” What actually happened was that your body just compensated for them by healing in a non-ideal way.

But now that you’ve decided to seek care after suffering “E,” your nervous system gets to repair those older injuries as well. And so one layer at a time in reverse order - D, C, B, and then A - your body works to resolve those unaddressed injuries that it was not able to fix fully the first time.

Retracing May Reactivate Old Stuff

As you may recall from the home renovation project described in the “Cycles of Repair,” in order for your nervous system to coordinate these repairs, it may also need to undo some of the adaptations that it made months, years or even decades ago.

When this happens, it is possible that some of the symptoms associated with that old injury may come back with it. Some of the most common things that people experience as part of the retracing process include physical discomfort (muscle pain) and flu-like symptoms including generalized fatigue. …

And it makes sense when you consider that your nervous system demands extra energy to do the repair work. So even though retracing may not be the most enjoyable experience, it is a normal and necessary part of the healing process.

Does that mean that every symptom that you’ve ever experienced is going to come back? No. Most retracing occurs without any conscious awareness or even a hint of discomfort. It's only when it does happen that it can be concerning, like an old injury coming back.

If I didn’t let you know about retracing in advance, you might stop care because you’d think that you’re actually getting worse. Fortunately, now that you know that retracing is a necessary and beneficial process, you’ll be better prepared if you do experience it.

Retracing Principles

There are three principles I want to layout so that you will know what to expect when you experience retracing symptoms. 1. Time. Retracing follows the same principles that I described for you in “Cycles of Repair,” which is in your success manual. Note: if you are not a current client, you will have no idea what I'm talking about. Click here for a quick video I posted a few years ago.

In natural healthcare, your body heals in predictable cycles. In brief, your body works in 3-month intervals of repair and rest. During a repair phase, your body is most active, and any symptoms you may experience will fluctuate for no apparent reason.

During the rest phase, your body is conserving energy, preparing for the next cycle. Repair phases generally last for 2-3 weeks, which means that most unpleasant sensations that you may experience as part of retracing processes will be short-lived: 2-3 weeks that come in 3-month intervals until the healing is complete.

While 2-3 weeks might seem like an eternity, in the grand scheme of things your body’s innate healing mechanisms know that the effort is worth it in the long run. 2. Emotions. In my experience, it is far more common for people to retrace emotions than physical symptoms.

Specifically, I am referring to unprocessed memories or emotions (e.g., grief, hatred, fear, anxiety, depression, etc) that you bottled up and buried. And that could be whether you did so consciously or unconsciously. It is impossible to disconnect your subconscious mind from your physical body.

The result is that unhealed mental scars are just as significant - maybe even more so! - then the old physical injuries (A-D) that I mentioned before that your nervous system must address so that you can finally heal. Fortunately, as difficult as this process may be … 3. Your nervous system never does anything to harm or destroy you.

Even if you experience strong emotional retracing - even if it seems that your own body is attacking or betraying you - be aware that your nervous system knows innately that for the first time ever, it is safe for you actually process the experience so that you may finally heal from it. It is working in your best interest. And however difficult the process may be, it would not even be happening unless your subconscious mind knows that you are capable of handling it.

What We Know and What We Don't Know

Retracing is a commonly observed phenomenon across healthcare disciplines. However, it is still poorly understood from a scientific viewpoint. The cellular and physiological control mechanisms by which retracing occurs are poorly understood, if at all.

Nevertheless, we cannot ignore that this phenomenon does occur. In addition to all the physical and emotional symptoms I’ve already described, it is not even unexpected if you experience a sense of agitation, irritability, or even anxiety. The sense of feeling “out of control in my own body” and that “I’m getting worse” is common.

Of course, if I could take away the discomfort of retracing, I would do so in a heartbeat. However, it is usually a process that you simply need to ride through. And if so, it is imperative to monitor your progress closely to be certain that you are experiencing genuine retracing, and that you are not that you are actually getting worse.

When we make the upper cervical correction, never know how many layers of injury - physical, chemical, or emotional - there are. Nor do we know how your nervous system needs to respond in order to retrace you back to health. Nevertheless, rest assured that on the other side of it all, you may find yourself even better than you expected to be.

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Meet Our Team

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Dr. Drew Hall

Dr. Drew HallChiropractor

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Dr. Alex Bello

Dr. Alex BelloChiropractor

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Beth O'Rourke

Dr. Beth O'rourkeChiropractor

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Moraima Esparza

Moraima EsparzaOffice Manager

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