The TERRAIN v. The GERM

Someone posed the following question to me the other day:

“WHY is it that most of the Chiropractors I see on social media are against the government & business shutdown, mandatory quarantine in our communities and certain public health measures instituted by government officials and politicians relating to C-19?”

I can’t speak for MOST Chiropractors, but those in my circle fall somewhere within this line of thinking:

To begin, we must illustrate the stark philosophical differences between medical school and chiropractic school. “Germ theory” is the foundational tenet of medical school, whereas chiropractic school is built on the idea of “terrain theory”. But, what do these terms mean and why is that important?

Tale of the tape: Germ vs. Terrain

  • GERM
  • Germs cause disease
  • If exposed to an infectious agent, you’re likely to get sick; regardless of the strength of the host
  • External stimuli required to treat symptoms
  • —Vaccines, antibiotics, medications, masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc.
  • Health comes from the absence of symptoms

  • TERRAIN
  • Dis-ease is caused by a weakened immune system (terrain)
  • If exposed to an infectious agent, those with a healthy terrain will fight off almost all agents encountered, some without being symptomatic.
  • Prevent future illnesses by emphasizing self-care strategies
  • —Supplements, herbs, holistic medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic, Reiki) etc.
  • A healthy terrain is established by strengthening the host, along with getting sick to get healthy.

Helpful analogy: Your fish is sick. Germ theory says isolate or vaccinate the fish; terrain theory says clean the water (environment). The polarity between these 2 belief systems has led to confusion surrounding what it actually means to be HEALTHY.

We don’t have a germ problem. It’s a weakened terrain causing sickness.

WHY does this matter? Because we have been indoctrinated into the world of western medicine from birth. We went to pediatricians as children, then naturally progressed to a medical doctor as we aged. This relationship has set the stage for the current dogma surrounding our beliefs about health care. Pharmaceutical companies spend $30+ BILLION A YEAR on advertisements (https://apnews.com/article/f44a7baa710d458ca50edd66affc1b91), to train us that we need their products to survive. Anything other than THEIR “science”, has been suppressed due to lack of understanding and a tendency to squash the competition and marginalize alternative health practices.

Unless you have been blessed to step outside of that model and into holistic care, through the support of a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, non-medical Physical Therapist, Naturopath, Functional Medicine doctor, etc., this might be your first time hearing this topic discussed. Luckily for you, this is the foundation of our belief system.

How we got here:

When I look back at the last 8 months of this pandemic, there are multiple layers to unwind when trying to decipher how we got to this point:

  • Survival rate vs. number of total deaths
  • Measures taken to “ensure the safety of our communities”
  • What demographic of people are most susceptible?
  • How does this novel virus compare to others, like the flu?
  • Prevalence of dis-ease and pre-existing conditions in the United States
  • What treatment measures are being taken by those affected?

Survival rate: 8,081,489 million cases in total (as of 10/18/2020) / 218,511 total deaths: 99.73% case survival rate (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days)

We’re being force fed the idea that total cases of infection is more relevant than the survival rate. This is a typical maneuver by those trying to control the narrative in a conversation. We should be elated that the survival rate of this virus is over 99%; instead we’re wearing masks, social distancing or staying home entirely because that’s what is expected of us. The lifestyle factors that maintain our health are thrown out the window for superficial, short term measures.

Measures emphasized to ensure our communities health? Social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, isolation, hand sanitizer, plexiglass dividers, reducing density of people in one area, working from home, etc.

  • An important concept to introduce at this stage is herd immunity. Herd immunity is achieved when a sufficient portion of a population of people become immune to an infectious agent, whether through vaccination or through previous infection. When a person comes into contact with a pathogen and survives, their body naturally “remembers” how to defeat the virus later, through the use of memory B & T cells, among others. If this person were to be exposed to the same agent later, they would likely not be affected (or moderately reduced) due to previous infection. One concern with vaccination is that this unnatural approach to antigen exposure does not elicit the same natural immune response that environmental exposure does, and can actually create a heightened response after exposure in nature.
  • How your immune system works (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQGOcOUBi6s). ESSENTIALLY, IN ORDER TO GET (AND STAY) HEALTHY AS WE AGE, WE MUST GET SICK! Exposure to a pathogen allows our bodies to get smarter and to build resilience. To establish the programming necessary to fight off a pathogen in the future.
  • By instituting the measures listed above (masks, social distancing, isolation, etc.), we are essentially delaying the inevitable. Since this is a novel virus (never having been exposed to humans in scale), we will all come into contact with it at some point; the strength of the host (YOU) affected will determine the severity of the case. A large majority will have little to no symptoms, while others undergo a more serious response.
  • This is also an opportunity to protect those most susceptible. Similar to our response during flu season when we tell grandma to avoid going out or being in large groups, we ourselves ramp up our Vitamin C intake and try to eat better. Why has that logic gone out the window? When you watch the news, the C-19 coverage is based around number of cases, school shut-downs, social distancing, masks and an occasional death within our community. If you’re waiting around for a reminder about improving your immune response, don’t hold your breath.

What demographic of people are most susceptible? Without question, people over the age of 70 https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-dashboard-may-6-2020/download?fbclid=IwAR3l4E7OZ4A0STb4GQCrKvaTnauxBkOpz3tW-2N75oJu9eUCTOtCShYIVz0, or those with a pre-existing condition (diabetes, hypertension, obesity, auto-immune conditions, etc.) are the most susceptible to this virus. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/nearly-all-nyc-area-covid-19-hospitalizations-had-comorbidities-67476 fbclid=IwAR0szsA3SkAlM4GEMAmCA3usGHSQx8wQukyUXt9sSCpIthQA5HVxb7vHqvw The simple fact being that their body is not strong enough to fight off this new virus, due to a reduced immune response from another illness or a normal physiological response to aging: immune suppression. Again, this is the group of people that need direction about risk reduction and tips to keep them healthy. Those talking points never come.

How does this novel virus, compare to the flu? Death rate for C-19: 0.026%. Death rate for the annual flu: 0.01-0.03%. (http://CDC.gov)

Does the danger match the response? Maybe in the beginning when we weren’t sure what we were dealing with, but this is month #8 into the “2 weeks to flatten the curve” narrative, with no end in sight.

What is the prevalence of dis-ease/pre-existing conditions in the United States? 6 in 10 adults (SIX out of every TEN) has at least one chronic disease, 4 in 10 have two or more. Think about that: 60% of Americans have a chronic disease, and 40% of those have two or more. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm That should startle you upon reading. When related back to terrain theory, 60% of Americans have a very weak terrain with which to fight off pathogens. When you’re terrain (body’s defense system) is inadequate, it raises your susceptibility to illnesses, such as C-19. https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/vaccine-misinformation-flu-shots-equal-health/

The chronic diseases included are heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In one way or another, all of these diseases are environmental in nature. A lifestyle choice to eat unhealthy, smoke cigarettes, avoid exercise, drink alcohol to excess, chronic environmental stress, etc. has created sickness within your body to the point that it is no longer healthy enough to defend you from invading pathogens.

What treatment measures are being taken by those affected? This depends on your school of thought. If you’re more holistic and seek out a natural approach, then you might utilize a regimen of Vitamin B, C, D, Zinc, Omega-3, elderberry and/or natural herbs (along with others + Chiropractic, acupuncture). Nutrient dense foods will keep your body strong enough to fight off any invaders. If you are more accustomed to the medical route: steroid inhalers, anti-inflammatory medications, vaccines, etc.

I firmly believe when this is all said and done, the people most affected by C-19 will be the people who are over-medicated/vaccinated, metabolically deficient (inadequate vitamin and mineral intake), dehydrated with poor nutritional intake. Add in emotional and spiritual stress to people who don’t exercise, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The US spends the most money on healthcare in the world, but has the sickest population of people (of 1st world nations). Something has to give. We deserve better.

When related to the government mandates, such as quarantines, masks, social distancing, etc., it is in my professional opinion that we should be more focused on our intake if we are to combat this (and all other) pathogens. Eating more nutrient dense foods and supplementing with whatever our diet is lacking + adequate hydration (1/2 your body weight in ounces is a good start), high-quality sleep + stress reduction techniques + regular exercise regimen + reducing stress to our spines + physical connection within our communities & a development of our passions. We need to do a MUCH BETTER job of building up our body’s natural defense system by living responsibly, rather than tearing it down by becoming overweight, medication-dependent, sedentary, subluxated, stressed out, dehydrated, metabolically deficient home-body’s that are afraid of a virus with a 99.73% survival rate.

Here’s a caveat though: Terrain theory is TOUGH to maintain. It means being fully aware of what you’re taking in on a given day. That includes the foods we eat, liquids we drink, use of technology, stress levels, environmental toxins we take in, thoughts we think, relationships we keep, how often we move. In short, we all need to UP our SELF-CARE game in a major way. It’s very doable, but we need to get to work. Create the future that our children will THRIVE in.

Our bodies are truly amazing organisms that we only know very little about. The brightest minds in scientific research have only scraped the surface of our true potential and our body’s ability to HEAL. The basic premise: create the right environment to thrive, and let the body handle the rest. The millions/billions/trillions of viruses, bacteria, fungi and more that have created a symbiotic relationship within each of us are only capable of continuing their work if we do our part.

Circling back to the question posed at the beginning: some Chiropractors (and holistic health providers) are standing up to government/political mandates because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Our professional experience is built on the evidence that the more healthy a person’s habits are, the greater ability they have to STAY HEALTHY into the future and to live vibrantly. We practice in preventative health care. Otherwise, what’s the point? To keep people sick?

Yours in healing,

Dr. Zach Jaskinia

MUST SEE: A differing perspective to viruses and how we interact with them.

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