This issue, our health detectives conclude their investigation of Blood, the river of life, with a look at how perspectives of disease have shaped modern medicine as we know it.
Hippocrates said: Let food be your medicine. Let medicine be your food.
Modern medicine has got to where it is today partly through a scientific and philosophical debate that culminated in the early 19th century, between two of the leading microbiologists of their time: Antoine Bechamp and Louis Pasteur. Their argument over bacteriological theories changed the course of medicine. Pasteur’s view was that disease is caused by germs invading from outside, and that these micro-organisms do not change their characteristics and they can be killed with drugs and antibiotics. Bechamp, on the other hand, considered that micro-organisms can develop as various growth forms (pleomorphism), and change according to environmental conditions, how they develop depends on the state of the internal biological terrain. At the core of this terrain is the body’s pH balance as we have seen in the last two articles.
Although both men acknowledged certain aspects of each other’s research, Pasteur was a stronger character, more flamboyant and a more vocal opponent to the quiet Bechamp. Pasteur also came from wealth with the right family connections, and went to great lengths to disprove Bechamp’s view. Pasteur’s viewpoint was eventually acknowledged by the scientists while Bechamp’s research disappeared into obscurity. We see the results of this dispute today practiced in every day medicine. When a body is out of balance, we try to restore it first with drugs then through surgery, removing the symptoms, rather than dealing with the root cause of the ailment.
Medicine does not need to be seen as an either / or and for a complete picture in health care it is important to be open to other viewpoints. Some scientists who have contributed a different perspective to our understanding of health include Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for his discovery of the role of oxygen deficiency in the cancer growth process. He discovered that as pH goes out of balance and our bodies become more acidic, our cells get less oxygen. Cancer thrives in acidic tissue and an oxygen deficient environment. German zoologist Gunther Enderlein used a Dark Field Microscope to visualize his hypothesis about how changes in the bio-terrain and pH gave rise to disease. Some of today’s pioneers include Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a leading figure in nutrition, fasting, detoxification, spirituality and health education, and Dr. Robert Young, who teaches “The New Biology", which encompasses theories about the cause and source of disease and how to prevent it through an alkaline diet and a physically active, low-stress lifestyle.
Shifting the paradigm
A century after the great medical debate, mainstream medicine still follows the road of Louis Pasteur, killing whatever makes us sick with drugs, antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Even though we now live in a world that has many generations of new antibiotics and drug developments there are still a lot of bacteria and especially viruses that are resistant to our treatments and conditions that are difficult to treat with drugs like cancer, diabetes and immune deficiency syndromes to name a few.
Using this approach, we have to have a pill for a headache, then another pill for the damage that the painkiller did to our stomach, and so on. Sometimes a pain killer is all right, but it is important to remember that we are only treating the symptoms. Why not take a look at the terrain to get to the cause of the headache? Not enough water? Muscle tension? Hypertension? Eye problems? A different perspective would look at imbalances in the body due to nutritional, electrical, structural, toxicological, biological or emotional reasons. To get better, this balance needs to be re-established by working with the body not against it.
The WHO predicts that 7 out of 10 admissions to hospital in 2020 will be due to lifestyle induced illnesses – can we afford to keep paying for our lifestyle induced illnesses like obesity, diabetes, heart and circulation problems? It is possible that the medicine of the future will not only have its roots in nutrition and food supplements, but will also be strongly tied to energy, or what is known as vibrational medicine. As we understand more about the energy of life, or Chi as it is called in Chinese medicine, one day we may walk into a health care practitioner’s office and as a routine procedure we would not only get a physical check-up, we would also get an energy or vibrational check up. This could be the new frontier for medicine – a change in the health-disease paradigm.
Paradigm shift consequences
The world we live in is becoming too toxic. As a result we humans are likewise too toxic. This toxicity is being reflected in the rise of illness/disease and the inability of “modern” medicine to do anything about it. Here we can contrast the two theories of infection and disease as we consider a changing paradigm in our understanding of health.
Invasion of Germ theory
• Infection/Disease arises from micro-organisms originating outside the body
• Micro-organisms should be guarded against and destroyed to prevent illnesses
• The appearance and function of specific micro-organisms is constant
• Every disease is associated with a particular micro-organism
• Micro-organisms are primary causal agents
• Disease is inevitable and can “strike” anybody
• To prevent and cure disease it is necessary to build defences and to destroy pathogenic micro-organisms
Environmental Toxicity Theory
• The susceptibility to illnesses/disease arises from conditions within the cells and the fluids in the body
• Micro-organisms are beneficial and life-sustaining if the body is kept clean from toxins
• The appearance and function of micro-organisms changes when the host organism is injured either mechanically, bio-chemically, electrically or emotionally
• Every disease is associated with a particular condition
• Micro-organisms become associated with disease only when cells, blood and interstitial fluid become toxic
• Disease arises from conditions of increased toxicity
• Preventing or curing disease consists of cleaning toxicity from the body in a way that does no harm
This article is part of a series and you can read more here