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Uncovering the Healing Process: Understanding Retracing

“As it took time for the condition to change from health to a maximum degree of abnormality…it takes time to retrace back to health” -Dr. B.J. Palmer, Developer of Chiropractic

Retracing: Cycles of Repair During the Healing Process

What is retracing?

Retracing is the process of re-experiencing, or reawakening old symptoms, such as pain, memories, or even emotions – during the healing journey. Even though these experiences are part of the healing process, it may come as a surprise, or bring up concern if it’s not fully understood.

When you are under neurological chiropractic care, retracing often occurs where you will express symptoms that you have not experienced for months, or even years. Your initial reaction may be that you are getting “worse” because you are experiencing essentially “more” symptoms. In reality, your nervous system is retracing back through the layers of stress that have brought you to your current state of dis-ease, discomfort, or health concern.

How long will I be retracing my symptoms?

The length of time depends for each individual. If your concern has been in progress for a number of years, it will take time to peel back the layers of stress to get to that root issue. It took time for the concern to present itself, it will take time for your body to have the tools to heal itself again. Unfortunately, there are no hacks or short cuts to processing the stress or symptoms quicker. As I say, if you hiked into a forest for 9 miles, it will take you 9 miles to get back out – there is no way to shorten the journey.

Response Varies

The time spent in the retracing period does not always correlated with the severity of the injury. Typically, acute injuries or dis-eased states tend to retrace and process much quicker than more chronic, long-term ones. However, if the acute injury involved many structures (bone, muscle, nerve, soft tissues), those structures will retrace the various steps of healing that it passed through during the healing process.

The Role of the Chiropractor in this Process

As a chiropractor, I am thoroughly trained to detect abnormal function and communication patterns within your nervous system. The tonal chiropractic adjustment techniques that I use at Revival remove subluxations, or interferences, within your nervous system. An interference-free nervous system allows for clear communication from your brain to your body! Each adjustment moves your nervous system closer and closer to optimal function, balance, and ease. As your nervous system function and communication improves, the surrounding structures (bones, muscles, ligaments) have the opportunity to regain normal tone, which restores proper function to that region with consistent care.

Points To Remember

However, your spine and body in general are subject to the stresses of everyday life that it is possible for your nervous system to recede toward its old abnormal function. It takes time to retrain your nervous system and surrounding structures to hold its “new normal” position. Being an active participant in your own healing journey by following at home recommendations, reducing stress (physical, chemical, emotional), and being consistent with your chiropractic adjustments will allow your body to heal, repair, and hold adjustments longer.

Retracing in Different Modalities

Homeopathy has codified the observations of Constantine Hering, a homeopathic researcher, as Hering’s Law or “The Law of Cure”.

Retracing occurs (a) from interior to exterior; (b) from the most vital to the least vital organs; and (c) in reverse order from that in which the symptoms appeared.
(Coulter HL Homeopathic Science & Modern Medicine. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 1980:24.)

Essentially without retracing, there is no true healing.


Retracing seems to occur with healing systems that permit the body to express itself as it detoxifies, releases old energies, restores and rebalances the body. Retracing is not common in standard medical practice, partly because the tendency of medicine is to suppress and mask symptoms.

In Conclusion, Retracing is an Essential Part of the Healing Process

It is essential for retracing to occur to get to the end goal. As your body processes through the current and reawakened stress, you may feel as if you are getting “worse” symptomatically. By staying consistent with your chiropractic care, at home self care, and trusting the healing process – your body will have the tools needed to function at its best. Even though you may be feeling discomfort in this moment, retracing is a sign that your body is truly healing and working through dormant stress!

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