Why isn't my body healing? Image on Find my Energy website.

Why isn’t my body healing?

Do you feel like you’ve already tried lots of treatments, but seen no real improvement? Let’s explore why that could be… 

Why isn’t my body healing? That was a question I kept on asking myself for many years. Closely followed by the next question: what can I do to change that?

So, in this blog I’m going to be addressing those questions and also sharing the number one reason (in my opinion) why people end up stuck. If you’ve been trying different treatments and not seeing the results you desire, then read on. You need to understand this information.

Why isn’t my body healing? …The conventional answer

If I had only listened to my doctor, then I might have believed that the answer to the question is: “because your illness is incurable.” In other words, my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis was a life sentence.

However, I intuitively felt that this was not an acceptable answer. I simply refused to believe that I could have something wrong with my body that the medical profession couldn’t pinpoint and I couldn’t heal.

So, within a few months of receiving my official diagnosis, I found myself at a scheduled appointment with my osteopath. (He had been treating my Scoliosis for almost ten years). Although he wasn’t treating me for CFS specifically, he did have a few ideas. The first of these was to put me in touch with a lady who specialised in nutrition and also Bio Resonance Therapy. (If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry – it’s not important to this story).

That started me on a quest into the world of functional and alternative medicine. And, I quickly discovered that, in this world, the answer to my question took on a completely different form.

…A different perspective

In this world, my illness was not “incurable”. Yes, it was complex, and yes it might take years to find the path to healing. [Spoiler alert: in my case, it did!] But the headline answer is really this: “either you haven’t found the right path for you, or you haven’t travelled far enough along it yet.”

So, what does that mean and how can it help you?

Now, I’m not going to make you sit and read all the ins and outs of my journey. (If you want to read more about that, check out my story here). I want to get onto the important stuff. Why isn’t your body healing? And what, if anything, can you do to change that?

This too shall pass quote and image from Find My Energy blog

Is healing from CFS/ME Mission Impossible?

As human beings, we are not meant to live in a state where our bodies don’t function properly, but also don’t die. We are supposed to be thriving, not just surviving.

So, if you are prepared to accept that idea, then it’s time to turn to the Mission Impossible films for some inspiration…(No, Tom Cruise/Ethan Hunt doesn’t have the answer, and his next film is not going to be themed around finding a cure for CFS/ME)…I’m talking about the premise behind these films.

They start with a problem that seems impossible. The team on the mission exhibits courage, resourcefulness, risk-taking. They make a plan, start to follow it, disaster strikes, they stare failure in the face (possibly more than once), and just at the last moment, when all hope seems lost, they somehow manage to complete their mission. Happy ending!

Well, what nobody tells you is, healing from CFS/ME can feel a lot like that.

If you’re just starting out on this journey, then that’s probably not the news you wanted. But you know what they say? Forewarned is forearmed. In other words, if you know what to expect, you can work with it.

If you are already partway through your journey, then this is going to give you important new ideas to work with. So, keep reading…

Why isn’t my body healing? …Three reasons

Let’s explore what I believe are the three main reasons why you might have reached a point where you feel stuck.

The first reason why your body may not be healing

In some ways, the first reason is a no-brainer. You haven’t tried the right treatment yet.

You may already have discovered this. When you start moving in the world of alternative/functional/integrative medicine, you will find a LOT of practitioners offering treatments to help with CFS/ME.

Many of these practitioners are people who had their own experience of CFS/ME and worked out how to heal, then developed some kind of treatment that they could share to help others.

So, we have people working in the fields of:

  • Nutrition
  • Detoxification
  • Sleep
  • Breathwork
  • Trauma healing
  • Mental/emotional
  • Energy healing

…and more. Within those broader fields, you have multiple disciplines. You will suddenly find yourself going from the conventional realm of “there’s nothing to be done,” to this new realm where you have hundreds of possible solutions.

In one way, this is great news. But, unless you happen to be a millionaire, this is also terrible news. If you were to simply sit down and try each treatment until you hit on the one that works, you might end up bankrupt before you got there.

So, you will soon reach…maybe have already reached…the point where you feel like you’ve tried so much and you’re not moving forward.

You may have started reading this post from a place where you think you’ve tried everything. That’s actually unlikely. Apart from anything else, new treatments are still emerging.

Now, if you are in that place where you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing works for you, so you believe you are a lost cause and you’re ready to give up, don’t! This is where you need to consider the second and third reasons…

The second reason why your body may not be healing

Why isn’t my body healing? Well, could it be simply because you haven’t gone far enough yet? Remember that Mission Impossible analogy? This mission is not going to take place over a week or two. When your body has got sick enough to literally stop functioning, it’s going to take time and patience to allow it to heal.

So, it is worth considering the possibility that you simply didn’t wait long enough. Were you expecting a complete resolution in a month and, when that didn’t happen you gave up instead of continuing for longer?

In my experience, this isn’t often the case. Most people with CFS/ME are incredibly tenacious and unwilling to give up. But I have to throw it out there as a possibility. And, it is also linked to what I believe is the number one reason why people end up getting stuck. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s look at reason number three…

The third reason why your body may not be healing

True healing often requires layers of treatment. So, you may need to correct your balance of vitamins and minerals by working with a nutritionist. You may also need to rid your body of excess toxins by working with an expert in that area. Plus, you might need to sort out sleep patterns. And also work on releasing trauma. And so on, and so on.

But this is (often) not a linear process. So, you don’t spend six months taking supplements, then stop those and spend six months detoxing, then stop and focus on sleep, etc. Instead, you need to layer these things.

You start by building a solid foundation in one area, then add on the next layer, and so on.

This is actually a really big topic. So, if you feel like this is something you haven’t understood before, then I invite you to follow this link. That will take you to a blog post that unpacks this idea in more depth.

Healing is a process, not an event. Quote and image from Find My Energy website

The biggest mistake people make

If you have understood the three basics:

  1. The need to explore multiple avenues (there are many!)
  2. Recognised that healing is a process that takes time (often a lot of time!)
  3. Understood that this process requires you to build up layers of treatments, not just focus on one thing

…and you are still asking the question, “why isn’t my body healing?” then there may be another area that you haven’t yet understood.

Most of us have a slightly inaccurate view of how healing actually takes place. We like to think that it’s going to feel good. So, if something happens that feels bad, we may assume we have taken a wrong turn and need to stop the treatment.

Now, listen carefully, this is a highly nuanced idea.

I am NOT telling you to ignore pain. That would be a really bad idea. Our clever bodies are set up to promote our survival. And the experience of pain is one way they alert us to potential danger. So, ignoring pain can lead to harm, even death. For example, if you happen to stick you hand in a pot of boiling water, and it hurts, do not ignore the pain: remove your hand as fast as possible!

However, sometimes, the way in which our body acts to heal us can also feel bad. For example, if you swallow a poison, your body will purge to get it out. This does not feel pleasant, but if you back away from it and try to stop the purging, your body can’t get rid of the poison and you will suffer, maybe even die.

What is the solution?

The simple answer: understanding the difference between discomfort that is bad (pain) and discomfort that is good (healing). So, let’s unpack that a little.

Healing mechanisms

Let’s start by thinking about the mechanisms through which the body naturally heals. These are generally mechanisms that allow the body to get rid of something in some way. So, that could be fever, vomiting, sneezing, coughing, crying, release of an emotion etc.

So, if you are taking a treatment that results in those kinds of things, although they feel unpleasant to experience, they may be hugely beneficial. If you resist the experience, you may simply be trapping something which your body is trying to get rid of.

Other helpful things to notice

Take note of how long these types of symptoms last. Typically, a healing response will pass fairly quickly, not go on for weeks. So, if you develop a symptom that doesn’t pass, that could be a sign of a new problem. If it passes, it could just be healing.

Also notice what happens after the symptoms pass. If this is healing, you may feel a little better. This improvement may not last forever. And, that isn’t because it is temporary, it’s because we are programmed to constantly reset our perception of normal. We live in the ‘now’.

So, it’s hard to keep track of improvements because we soon forget how bad we were feeling. Your new normal may feel ‘better’ at first because it contrasts with the previous level of ‘terrible’. But, as you get used to the new level, that may start to feel ‘terrible’ because you are aware you are still not ‘good’.

Lastly, follow the advice of your practitioner. An experienced practitioner will let you know if you are likely to experience any symptoms as part of healing. They will also be able to help you understand whether what you are experiencing is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Again, these are all much bigger ideas that I explore in more depth in other blog posts. So, if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, click here to join my mailing list.

Bringing in compassion

Considering the question of “why isn’t my body healing?” can be very triggering. You may feel the despair of being stuck in a situation you hate. Also, after reading this, your inner critic may be firing up and telling you off for ‘giving up’.

So, I want to finish by acknowledging that, whilst the Mission Impossible scenario may make for a great film, it is tough to experience in real life. Each time you face the next point of apparent disaster, it’s hard to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and work out where to go next.

If you find yourself in a pit of despair in which that seems impossible, the most important thing you can do is recognise that and give yourself a little love.

There is a time for pep talks and action and moving forward. But there is also a time for resting, acknowledging the pain and just re-grouping. Unlike the film, your mission doesn’t have a deadline attached to it.

I’ll leave you with two wise mantras that have helped me through many difficult times.

Healing is a process, not an event.

This too shall pass.


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