| | |

Terrain Theory vs. Germ Theory–A Fresh Look at an Old Principle

Source: The Epoch Times, Emma Tekstra, 05 May 2024

The theory that a strong and healthy body keeps illness at bay is reemerging as a foundation for maintaining wellness and fighting potential disease.

Health Viewpoint

Guiding much of modern medicine is the “germ theory” of disease—a framework that led to the development of the first antibiotics in the 1940s. Though credited with saving millions from deadly infections, the current explosion in chronic conditions highlights its shortfalls.

Proposed around the same time, the nearly forgotten model of “terrain theory” is finally getting the attention it deserves, and may come to dominate the next evolution in medicine. As an individual, you can embrace the principles of terrain theory to reverse disease and keep you healthy.

What Is Terrain Theory?

While germ theory proposes that illness is the result of a specific germ and that only destroying the germs will make us well, terrain theory postulates that a weakened body attracts disease while a healthy body resists it. The two theories are often compared using the analogy of a fish tank. If your fish is sick, germ theory would indicate you should isolate the fish and perhaps add some antibiotics or a vaccine. Terrain theory says, “Clean the tank!”

Our bodies are our terrain. Keeping our terrain healthy includes feeding it nutritious food free of toxins, exercising our muscles through regular movement, enabling it to rest and repair through adequate sleep, and keeping our minds and souls energized through positive social interactions.

However, the principles of terrain theory do more than keep us healthy. They can be used to restore us to health once sick. Whereas focusing only on a single cause such as a pathogen lends itself well to a business model supporting pharmaceuticals, a holistic approach to health underpinned by the terrain theory emphasizes lifestyle and puts the solution largely in our own hands.

Germ Theory Under the Microscope

There is no doubt that antibiotics have saved many lives. Germ theory progressed our understanding that we share this world with tiny microbes that we can’t see but can make us sick. However, more recent science highlighting the importance of our microbiome provides ample evidence that the germ theory is incomplete and short-sighted at best.

Our microbiome or microbiota is a reference to the trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that are in and on our bodies. The vast majority of these organisms contribute to a happy terrain and impact a multitude of processes in our bodies. In fact, an absence of such beneficial bugs has been shown to drive disease and leave us more susceptible to pathogenic microbes and chronic disease.

Not only do antibiotics wipe out many of our beneficial bugs but modern medicine has extrapolated the basics of germ theory to identify other types of medications that will fight individual ailments. However, evidence now suggests that many of these medications negatively impact our microbiome as well. Pharmaceuticals have also been shown to deplete critical nutrients in our bodies, further impacting our terrain.

The tension between germ theory and terrain theory may be one of timing. Cleaning up our terrain once illness sets in takes time. It takes learning new habits, changing the way we eat or spend our time—maybe addressing past trauma. In some cases, it means changing our environment or learning new information. Terrain treatment doesn’t work well for immediately life-threatening conditions as it takes time to establish.

This is why it is never too soon to clean up your terrain—and best not to wait for an acute condition to strike—whether it is due to an overwhelming infection, inoperable cancer, or a heart attack. Embracing the principles of holistic terrain theory will always stack the odds in your favor of avoiding these types of diagnoses, or at least, recovering faster.

Examples of Terrain Theory in Action

COVID-19 Severity and Outcomes

The principles of terrain theory were on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data gathered in China as early as April 2020 and published in a diabetes journal article in June 2020 explained the physiology behind the observations that the majority of people who were hospitalized with severe disease, and even more of those succumbing to a fatal infection, had comorbidities of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. There were many similar studies from around the world in the months and years that followed.

In recent years we have started using the term “long-COVID” to describe the symptoms that arise well after the original infection has passed. However, it has been long understood that viral infections can lead to sequelae (secondary symptoms or a condition arising separately from the primary illness).

Terrain theory provides us with an explanation why of three people exposed to the same germ, one may not get sick at all, one gets sick but quickly recovers, while the third is triggered into a longer-term condition or disability.

While it is rarely one aspect of the terrain that is responsible for sickness or health, a deficiency in vitamin D was quickly identified as a risk for a poor COVID-19 outcome. Easily measured in the blood and remedied with a high-quality supplement, vitamin D might have been mistaken as a cure for the germ.

However, vitamin D is involved in so many bodily processes, that its deficiency can lead to all types of illness including cancer, highlighting the importance of nutrients to keeping a healthy terrain.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans usually through the bites of infected ticks. Conventional medicine operating under germ theory offers a course of antibiotics to combat the infection.

However, as explained by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Lyme is often a much more complex condition that is not cleared with antibiotics. Rather, it requires a multi-system treatment in line with terrain theory principles to support the body in tackling the infection.

In fact, the broad-spectrum antibiotics often used for Lyme can work against the body’s own healing mechanisms and create more problems for the patient, particularly through the disruption of the microbiome.

As discussed above regarding viruses, a healthy body is better equipped to clear an infection from a bacteria such as Borrelia than one that is already compromised by poor nutrition, toxin exposures, a sedentary lifestyle, or undue stress.

Addressing these factors as part of treatment is definitely recommended but embracing a proactive attitude to the underlying health of our bodies before the germ encounter is infinitely better. Prevention, through taking care of our terrain, gives our body the best chance of being able to tackle the pathogen with the array of God-given defenses naturally occurring in our bodies.

Childhood Diseases

Perhaps the longest-known controversy between germ theory and terrain theory is the historical record around childhood infectious diseases such as measles. The argument has been resurrected with the increasing cases of measles in recent years in the United States and Europe.

While measles can be a severe disease and still accounts for an estimated 100,000 deaths annually around the world—mostly in the poorer nations of Africa and Southeast Asia—it is generally acknowledged that nutrition, or lack thereof, plays the biggest role in its severity.

It is worth digging into the history of measles to get an accurate picture of how measles mortality rates had plummeted long before a vaccine came onto the scene. Both historical and more recent evidence confirm that improvement in nutrition, and the importance of Vitamin A in particular, is most critical in both preventing measles and reducing its severity.

Vitamin C is another critical nutrient, particularly when fighting a viral disease as explained in the writings of Dr Thomas E. Levy. Better understood by its scientific name of ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant essential to maintain vascular integrity. Vitamin C is rapidly used up when the body is fighting a viral infection, which is why many infections can lead to bleeding complications and effectively induce scurvy in the patient. The efficacy of high-dose intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of sepsis highlights the importance of the terrain in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

Chronic Conditions

The precipitous fall in infectious disease over the last half-century has been replaced by a dramatic rise in the burden of chronic disease. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of Americans are living with one or more chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart or kidney problems.

While it is generally recognized that lifestyle and keeping your terrain healthy are important factors in these conditions, medicine continues to be practiced as if germ theory were responsible. Once diagnosed with a particular condition, you are much more likely to be given a prescription for one or more drugs to treat it, than an education on the importance of improving the terrain.

While cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes get the most media attention, millions of people are suffering from debilitating autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and close to a hundred more autoimmune conditions you may never have heard of. While the labels differ, the underlying processes are the same—essentially the body is attacking itself.

Autoimmunity can affect any cell, organ, tissue, or even an enzyme or hormone produced by the body. It’s as if our immune systems have been turned against us lending weight to the possibility that our obsession with germ theory and the tools it initiated, interfered with the innate mechanisms demonstrated by terrain theory.

Key Takeaways

While modern medicine continues its dependence on the tools and philosophies developed from germ theory, we can take matters into our own hands and embrace an understanding that the health of our terrain is every bit as important—if not more so—in driving illness or keeping us healthy. Some other key takeaways from this ongoing debate are:

  • History is our teacher. Today’s advanced tools do not occlude the observations and ideas of the past.
  • Science is always evolving. Competing theories usually get us closer to the truth than either embraced alone.
  • The human body is infinitely complex. Doctors and scientists may give the impression that aspects of life and health are understood, but the wonders of God’s creation ensure there is always more to know.
  • A natural approach to health and healing may provide better long-term outcomes than a man-made arsenal. Working in conjunction with God’s design is more likely to balance the terrain and drive health than focusing on eliminating an external culprit.
Suggest a correction

Vergelijkbare berichten