August 17, 2017
Adventures of Chiropractic Intern – Week 5
The great weather prognosticators have spoken, six more weeks of winter, and therefore six more weeks of sniffles, coughs and congestion. As we look forward to the end of this year’s cold and flu season I want to touch on a few misconceptions and a few tips to prepare yourself for what will inevitably come again next fall.
What truly causes the colds and illness that many of us fear in the winter months? Do the cold north winds blow in clouds of nasty little things ready to invade our bodies? Absolutely not. The number of nasty little bugs is the same the winter as there are in the summer. So what is different?
There have long been two theories on why we become sick: the Germ Theory and the Terrain Theory. The Germ Theory, first introduced by Rudolf Virchow, and popularized by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century states that there are external germs that invade the body and are the direct cause of a variety of different illnesses or diseases. So to be healthy, you have to kill whatever germ made you sick and then avoid it at all costs to make sure it doesn’t enter your body again. Pasteur believed the body is sterile, meaning it’s a blank slate devoid of any germs. We now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth because we have germs living on and in us all the time. Depending on the source, the ratio of germ cells to human cells could be as low as 1:1 and as high as 10:1. Western medicine still clings to this theory so that the drugs and surgeries they offer seem to be your only remedy. It’s gone one step further in trying to avoid an infection with vaccines. It is debatable if the flu vaccine has had any positive effect on the rates of influenza since it was first introduced in 1945.
The Terrain Theory, first introduced by Claude Bernard and later expanded by Antoine Bechamp also in the 19th century states that the “terrain” of “internal environment” determines our state of health. When the body is in a state of balance, and immunity and detoxification are working appropriately, a healthy terrain or body can handle whatever germs are thrown its way. A weak terrain will naturally be more vulnerable to external threats. The Terrain theory differs from the Germ Theory in that instead of having to kill all bad organisms, we must build up our body through nutrition, detoxification and by maintaining a proper acid/alkaline balance. This theory puts the power to get and stay healthy back in the individual’s hands if they choose to make good lifestyle decisions.
Let’s get back to our question; so what’s different? We know that germs are on and around us all the time, so it must be that the terrain is more hospitable and weakened, giving germs the opportunity to thrive in the winter months. Rudolf Virchow, the father of the Germ Theory, eventually changed his stance saying, “If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissues – rather than causing disease. Louis Pasteur recanted on his deathbed stating that “the microbe is nothing; the milieu (environment) is everything.” Why Western medicine can’t also see the light is beyond me other than they have wares to sell and billions of dollars to make. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the terrain is weakened during “cold season”.
During the winter months we are trapped inside and don’t get exposed to sunlight like we do in the summer. Sunlight is vital in our body’s ability to produce the necessary levels of Vitamin D3 that we require to be healthy. Vitamin D is a vitamin at all, it is actually a hormone that is crucial for a healthy immune system. Scientists are still studying what is the safe level of vitamin D3 to take, however, findings thus far are revealing that we can take much higher amounts than what you can currently get in any multi-vitamin. We are much less active in the winter months as well and this suppresses the immune system. Stress also lowers the immune response, so don’t overlook the extra stress that Thanksgiving and Christmas can cause as we deal with family and lose sleep over finding that perfect gift. Lastly, oooohh the holiday cookies and pies. All sensible eating goes out the window. All of these factors combine to create the perfect storm, weakening the body’s defenses, thus making us the perfect environment for germs to take up residence and make you feel miserable.
So let’s stop blaming the bugs and start strengthening our defenses. Here are a few tips on how to strengthen your terrain:
Jimmy may not have predicted the weather we all wanted, but maybe if we all think warm thoughts we can will Mother Nature to an early spring and get back to the weather that invites us outside for sunshine, exercise, less stress and ultimately better terrain.