Body, Heal Thyself

While humans have known for centuries that the body can and will, indeed, heal itself, our present generations have been programmed to rely on human interventions, medications, and other unnatural means. My favorite quote about this comes from Steve Gundry:

Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, had described the body’s ability to heal itself, which he called ‘veriditas’ (green life force). He believed that the physician’s job was to identify which forces were keeping the patient from healing himself and then remove them. Veriditas would take it from there.”

What does this mean for all of us today, faced with a pandemic and a host of misinformation, political mazes of intrigue, and boondoggling? I suggest we look at what we CAN and DO know.

The human body – as with most living things – is a biome all its own. We are carriers for microbes and microsystems, and the balance of all these can and should together for the benefit of the individual. Then there is the understanding that, of course, “no man is an island, entire of itself.” [John Donne] Human beings are pack/herd animals and we require interpersonal relationships for our best health. Is this not why solitary confinement is such an austere punishment?

Once we understand this concept, once we realize that the body does not consist of discrete systems and parts, but rather synergistically complex relationships, we can then begin to conceive of illness and disease as a matter of imbalance, an “undoing” of the delicate harmony maintained by a healthy body. As Hippocrates and his students, the giants on whose shoulders we stand, understood, our job as physicians is to “identify which forces” prevent our patient’s body from healing itself and “remove them.” This may be removing harmful forces (smoking, exposure to human-manipulated chemicals, etc) or adding in helpful forces (utilizing food as medicine, assuring the body has essential vitamins and minerals available to it, etc), or – most likely – a combination of both.

Everyone knows at this point that cigarette smoking is harmful to the human body; they do not need physicians to tell them this. But then – after years of smoking – people are still amazed when they experience cancers, emphysema and/or heart disease, almost as if they chose to ignore the facts. Perhaps it is the belief that it can’t happen to them. Perhaps they prefer to blame other things in their environment (and it is much more likely that it is from a combination of multiple factors). The bottom line is our bodies are made to fight cancer.  We all have cancer cells processing through our bodies at all times.  But the immune system, whose job it is to clear these cancers through various methods, is overwhelmed and cannot suddenly decide to work after years of being abused and fed improper nutrition and faced with multiple abuses. Heart disease, emphysema, cancer – they do not materialize overnight.

So – along comes a novel contagion that our bodies have not seen before. How does the body naturally handle such a thing? An intact, well-fed, and well-maintained immune system takes the newcomer hostage.  It analyzes it, identifies its clothing and its internal components, and then constructs a lethal elimination process. If it cannot destroy it by any other method, it isolates it. Then the body is well prepared; if it ever sees that enemy attempt to pass its gates, there is an army of defense ready to attack and destroy.  This is how the body can defend and maintain itself.

Is it any wonder, then, that it is the unhealthy, those with poorly operating immune systems, that are most vulnerable? Not at all. At least, not to those who understand the concept of how the body works.

How about “social distancing,” then? Stay-at-home recommendations? Isolation of the healthy and the young? Surely that helps to protect our elderly and vulnerable, correct?

Actually, no. All it really does is prolong the inevitable. If the healthy body does not see the virus, it cannot produce its own antibodies to it.  If it does not product its own antibodies, it will be more likely to shed the virus and unknowingly expose the elderly and vulnerable to the virus. This idea is commonly referred to as “herd immunity,” but I prefer to think of it as the best way to stop the enemy. Those of us who actively attempt to provide the body with what it needs in order to maintain its delicate balance MUST be exposed to the contagion, and for the ultimate greatest benefit to “society,” MUST produce our own antibodies.  Natural immunity is far superior to engineered immunity.

Let us also consider vaccination. Vaccines are best reserved for diseases that have a high mortality rate. Tetanus, for instance, has a high mortality rate. Most cases occur in unvaccinated people, and the elderly, newborns and injection drug users are at higher risk. It has a short incubation period. Another problem disease – at least for newborns – is pertussis.  While it causes “whooping cough” in older children and “the cough of 100 days” in adults, it can cause death in newborns and infants. Vaccination is therefore important for all who will be in contact with those most vulnerable.

Vaccination is practically useless, however, in diseases with very low mortality rates. It is far preferred to boost the immune system and avoid those forces that interfere with the body healing itself (i.e., its immune defenses). The reliance on engineered immunity versus natural immunity only creates more problems than it solves. We know from experience that multiple vaccinations at one time overwhelm the immune system and create auto-immune situations, where the immune system is “turned on” and begins attacking the body as if it were something foreign. This creates as big a problem as processes which attack the immune defenses and create immune deficiencies. Again, the problem is with BALANCE.

My suggestion to you is, learn about your body. Learn how to balance the body’s needs and what to avoid. Learn what foods are inflammatory in nature and anti-inflammatory in nature. Learn what exposures you CAN control and eliminate them. To quote Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”