The idea that microorganisms are the overriding cause of many diseases was initiated by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century.

‘Germ theory’ as it came to be called began when Pasteur noticed a correlation between sick animals and humans and high levels of bacteria and viruses compared to those who were not sick.

This assumption grew to guide the practice of allopathic, conventional medicine. That is the idea that germs infect our bodies and cause disease. If we wage war on  the disease and successfully eliminate it, the body will no longer be blocked from returning to optimal health.

This is similar to the foreign policy of the United States.  If something doesn’t act in the way you want it to just eliminate it and hope something ‘better’ grows in its place despite having no change to the environment. This understanding of disease gives practitioners a lens through which to view proper rehabilitation to health.

It has lead to an era of antibiotic drugs, chemical pesticides, herbicides, vaccines and antibacterial soaps resulting in a germphobic society and a pharmaceutical empire. These wars have interfered with the body’s naturally microbiome and has impaired our immunity.

Cut out or destroy cancer cells to eliminate cancer. Destroy all bacteria to eliminate a bacterial infection.  Treat an adolescent annoyance by chemically altering the personality.  The war strategy has become our collective primary response.

How different the present day treatment would look if the paradigm of Pasteur’s contemporaries were adopted rather than Pasteur’s. Claude Bernard,  a colleague and physiologist of the same era, concluded that it was the internal environment that led to the health of the individual and that the number of bacteria were reflective of the state of the environment. “The terrain is everything,”  he wrote;  “the germ is nothing.”

Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian immunologist, a generation younger than Bernard and Pasteur, suggested that a synergistic interaction exists between bacteria and its host. He, too, claimed that germs were not the problem. To prove it, he consumed cultures containing millions of cholera bacteria; he lived to write about it and didn’t even get sick.

His contemporary, French chemist and biologist Antoine Bechamp, also believed that a healthy body would be immune to harmful bacteria, and only a weakened body could harbor harmful bacteria. He discovered that there were living organisms in our bodies called microzymas.

These cells form into healthy cells in the healthy body and morph into unhealthy cells as the body become unhealthy.  Germs in this sense do not invade us rather they are ‘grown’ within us when there is diseased tissue on which to live when they seek their natural habitat. When our body tissues become weak due to poor health management, normal bacteria and viruses start to multiply and scavenge our unhealthy dying cells.

In June of 2012 there was a release by a coordinated research from the Human Microbiome Project Consortium organized by the National Institutes of Health. The New York Times reported that

“200 scientists at 80 institutions sequenced the genetic material of bacteria taken from 250 healthy people. They discovered more strains than they had ever imagined—as many as a thousand bacterial strains on each person. And each person’s collection of microbes was different from the next person’s. To the scientists’ surprise, they also found genetic signatures of disease causing bacteria lurking in everyone’s microbiome. But instead of making people ill, or even infectious, these disease-causing microbes simply live peacefully among their neighbors.”

These findings imply that bacteria work within in a symbiotic ecosystem, a concept understood by holistic practitioners for centuries.   As Ronald J. Glasser, M.D., puts it:

“It is the body that is the hero, not science, not antibiotics…not machines or new devices. The task of the physician today is what it has always been, to help the body do what it has learned so well to do on its own during its unending struggle for survival—to heal itself. It is the body, not medicine, that is the hero.”

What is exciting about these findings is that it allows us to take our power back.   We are no longer victims at the mercy of externals. We don’t have to fear the world  we live in as much as we need to tend to it.

By keeping our environment well kept on an individual scale, we ensure we are doing our part to maintain a healthy microbiological equilibrium. Caring for ourselves requires we care about ourselves.  If you don’t currently hold a healthy relationship with your body, it may because there is trauma that is keeping you from having a healthy relationship with yourself.

As you grow in acceptance and love for yourself this becomes directly reflected in the care you have with your body.  Behaviors become prioritized for their positive impacts on our health.  Fast food loses its place as an option. Organic food becomes a forethought.

Increasing transparency allows us to become witness to the impact our decisions have on our world.  We take our attention away from people who do not align with our values and shrink the space for anyone who does not have the highest of intentions for our world.