We all know the germ theory of disease. It’s the idea that you get sick from “catching a bug,” and it has dominated medical science ever since Louis Pasteur developed and promoted it in the mid-19th century.
Pasteur saw the body no differently than had scientists of the Galilean Revolution nearly 300 years earlier. He thought of the body as an intricate machine, ruled by linear laws of cause and effect. But he also knew one new thing about it. In 1838, Schleiden and Schwann had identified the cell as the basic unit of life. By 1868, Virchow had developed his theory of cellular pathology, which stated that every disease is due to disturbance within the structure of individual cells. Virchow saw each cell as an “elementary organism,” enclosed within its membrane and primarily existing for itself alone. Consequently, all disease was seen as local phenomena, having no effect elsewhere in the body.
In this light, Pasteur’s theory is logical. And it’s proved useful for managing acute or mono-causal diseases. But it can’t uncover problems that arise from disturbances in the regulation of the immune system. The management and cure of multifactorial illnesses are impossible in this model. So long as symptoms are seen as parallel, acting independently of each other, such conditions cannot be explained.
Ultimately, Pasteur came to see his error. He admitted it on his deathbed and affirmed the theory of his rival, Antoine Beauchamp. Beauchamp had shown that disease is not a local, germ-caused phenomenon. Rather, it is dictated by conditions in the body’s internal environment. He called this environment the terrain.
“The microbe is nothing,” the dying Pasteur is said to have admitted. “The terrain is everything.”
It is also the most basic concept of integrative, biological medicine – a field in which it is also known as the matrix, milieu or ground system. Time and scientific study have confirmed its validity, thanks to the work of six men in particular. Knowing a little about their contributions can illuminate just how great a paradigm shift the biological approach involves.
Operating on a faulty theory of illness, industrial, corporate medicine can only continue to suppress symptoms without curing disease. Meanwhile, biological medicine strikes at the very roots of disease.
This early 20th century German scientist confirmed Beauchamp’s theory using the new technology of darkfield microscopy. He also showed that microbes do not exist in just one form throughout their lifetimes. Rather, they are pleomorphic, constantly changing in response to changing conditions in the terrain. When the body’s internal environment is polluted – with both external toxins and metabolic waste – microbes transform from simple bacteria to complex fungi and viruses. These add to the pollution. The more compromised the environment, the more severe the illness. Enderlein thus laid the groundwork for understanding illness as progressive.
Known as the Father of Homotoxicology, this contemporary of Enderlein showed us how illness is progressive. Reckeweg demonstrated that any illness develops predictably across six stages. He called these stages Excretion, Inflammation, Deposition, Impregnation, Degeneration and Dedifferentiation. If terrain conditions are not improved, symptoms progress in accordance with Herring’s Laws, until cellular damage occurs. But Reckeweg also showed that the process can be reversed. Homeopathic treatment, better nutrition and other measures can open the channels of elimination. This helps the body to detoxify and the terrain to return to a state of health.
In the 1950s, this Austrian researcher built upon Reckeweg’s work to provide the first real “geography” of the terrain. Noting that a living body always tends towards balance, or homeostasis – literally, “the condition of staying the same” – Pischinger showed how the body is a self-regulating system. He showed how the terrain is a functional unit of the vascular pathway, connected with the rest of the body via the lymph and central nervous systems. This basic regulative system controls all of the basic functions of life. Such findings paved the way for understanding how the terrain and adjacent organs communicate with each other. It also definitively proved the errors of Virchow’s theory of cellular pathology.
Vincent was the French scientist who gave us a way to evaluate the state of the terrain. He showed that measurements of the pH (acidity), r2 (oxidative stress) and redox (ion concentration) factors in a person’s blood, saliva and urine were excellent markers of milieu conditions. They could thus also help predict the onset of illness. These parameters gave rise to Biological Terrain Analysis (BTA), the standard test of evaluating milieu conditions. BTA can give a skilled practitioner insight to what can be done to improve the terrain and reverse the process of illness – or prevent it from arising in the first place.
Kramer and Voll were members of a small research community in mid-20th century Germany. Combined, their independent contributions are some of the greatest in the field of predictive medicine. Kramer was a dentist who mapped the relationships between the teeth and other organs and body systems. Meantime, Voll developed equipment for measuring the movement of energy along the body’s meridians at the traditional acupuncture points. This type of testing has come to be known as EAV, or Electro-acupuncture According to Voll. Such testing deepened our understanding of dental foci, or sites of infection in the dental and periodontal tissues that manifest illness and dysfunction elsewhere in the body. Foci disrupt energy flow along the meridians, which negatively affects the terrain. They are usually the result of trauma, accidental or otherwise, including the placement of root canals and the formation of cavitations. EAV may allow a practitioner to detect conditions conducive to illness, even before the onset of symptoms. Together, BTA and EAV can give a most comprehensive view of a person’s state of health and risk of illness.