How do we get sick?

More from the CellCore conference I attended 2 weeks ago:

This pic is a slide from one of the presenters at the conference. When I posted it on social media, a friend commented, “I’ve never heard of Terrain Theory. Can you tell me more?” I thought you would be enlightened by the answer, too, so here we go!

We’re pretty familiar with the germ theory, put forth by Louis Pasteur in 1861. It states that illness comes about by exposure to certain germs (bacteria or viruses). When we get exposed to these germs, they multiply and make us sick. This theory eventually was adopted by Western Medicine and it is why we use certain medications, like antibiotics, to kill germs. It also led to the realization that washing hands and disinfecting surgical areas is important, which was a huge advancement. The germ theory does have its flaws, though, as I will discuss below.

Not so well known is the terrain theory, put forth by Antoine Beauchamp in the same time period. The terrain theory, in simplest terms, states that the “seeds” of infection (which Beauchamp called microzymas) are present everywhere and the environment around them can cause them to do one of two things: If the environment is healthy (like the clean fish bowl above), the “seeds” stay in a dormant state and will not mutate into pathogenic forms. A clean environment includes proper pH, plenty of oxygen being delivered, and no excess waste or pollution/toxicity present. If the environment is not in a healthy, clean state, then those “seeds” are able to mutate into pathogenic forms that make us sick. This is why a sick person can be in a room full of other people and only certain folks will “catch” the illness. The terrain (environment) of their body was not healthy and acted like a petri dish to easily host and multiply the infectious agent.

There is some truth to both theories. If you eat food with enough salmonella, for example, no matter how great your terrain is, you will get sick. But a person with a healthy terrain can recover easier. Another example is when food is slightly “off” and shared by several people, some get ill (unhealthy terrain) and some don’t (healthy terrain.

Cleaning surgical equipment and washing hands is a good application that came out of the germ theory. But overuse of antibiotics and anti-bacterial cleaners in the name of killing germs has ended up creating superbugs that are resistant. The real answer, in my opinion, is to view a healthy terrain as your best line of defense and save the medical treatments for more serious exposures.

This is a very simplistic explanation! If you’d like to dig deeper, this Biological Medicine website does a great job. If the first part of the article is too “Science-y”, scroll down the page to the caption “Cellular Terrain Theory vs Germ Theory”. 

FYI, Biological Medicine is the philosophy I’m trained in and practice. I hope this has been helpful!

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