It’s great when diseases follow neat and tidy perimeters of behavior and act predictably. Sometimes they do. Unfortunately, if you go find a hundred or so people who have dealt with Lyme disease in all its various forms you will find it is rare that Lyme disease EVER follows completely predictable patterns. In fact you will hear stories so far different from the neat, textbook description of this health condition that you will wonder if that simple description given above has much value at all. If you or a loved one is struggling to deal with the potentially devastating consequences of severe Lyme disease, whether acute or chronic, it is important to consider these things because knowledge is power. Of necessity one must ask themselves if this narrow definition of Lyme disease is accurate, because after all, how can one fight a complex problem that they don’t fully understand? This article will be exploring some myths about Lyme disease and weighing in on some controversies.
We will explore thought provoking questions like: Is the Lyme bacterium, and perhaps the handful of co-infections known to go with that bacterium the fundamentally important, main cause of Lyme disease, or is this health problem far more complex? Might heavy metal poisoning, weakened immune systems, stagnant lymph systems, and the chronic inability to excrete the fat soluble toxins created by the plethora of infections be a bigger issue than the Lyme bacterium itself?
And if so what do you do about that particular problem?
In addition, since we all live in a sea of microorganisms, why the narrow focus on the Lyme bacterium Borrelia Burdorferi and the handful of concomitant microbes like Babesia, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia? I mean after all, for the most part these are not exactly deadly microbes! Evidence shows that most people with a healthy immune system are essentially unaffected by these microbes. Or in other words, those who aren’t immune compromised do not succumb to chronic disease because of these bugs. But if a someone does become chronically ill and that person’s immune system is so weak that they can’t overcome these more commonly known Lyme bugs, then why wouldn’t there also be a plethora of other pathogenic microbes involved? If you are too weak to fight off one small category of bugs, namely the four mentioned above, then what about all the other parasites, bacteria, yeast, fungus and viruses we are all exposed to on a regular basis? And if one is loaded with all these other types of microbes, might that explain why people seem to respond so poorly to long term antibiotic therapy? There are numerous opportunistic bacteria like Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and others that seem ever-present in an immune weakened host, and these can be quite difficult to kill with antibiotics.
What about the role of chronic inflammation in all this? It’s a big topic. Is inflammation the destructive root cause of disease it is often made out to be, or is inflammation just a marker for tissues loaded with toxins and infections that may be going under the radar of conventional medical diagnostic methods? Before getting too obsessed with squelching inflammation it might be wise to consider if the body is creating inflammation because something is there that is not supposed to be there? That the inflammation is just the natural response to a deeper root cause.
In fact several renowned specialists assert that it can be transmitted by mosquito’s, raw milk, blood transfusions, deer jerky created with low heat, dressing out a deer with any nick or cut on one’s hands, and some believe that it can even be transmitted sexually by an individual who has an active infection. This being the case, they estimate that well over 50% of the U.S. population has already been exposed to the Lyme disease microbe. Scary, yes perhaps but also consider that these experts also believe that most of these people will not likely get sick for the above mentioned reasons. In some heavily tick infested rural areas of the U.S. where Lyme is rampant people pull ticks off themselves daily, and realistically just about the whole population in those areas has likely been exposed and yet remain well.
Questions that we will consider from a more holistic standpoint are:
Do you see from this list of questions above the complexity of Lyme disease and associated health challenges? It could be argued that these questions barely scratch the surface. After all, we’re talking about human health here, a rather complex subject! Too narrow of a focus on any health problem usually means you are going to ignore huge contributors to the problem. To begin our discussion let’s look at a basic subject regarding why some get Lyme disease and the majority of those exposed to the bug don’t. That is the subject of biological terrain.
If you have done much digging into the subject of holistic Lyme disease solutions, you have probably heard of the controversy between Louis Pasteur (from which the name “pasteurization” comes) and Antoine Bechamp – two 19th Century French scientists.
The debate goes something like this…
Pasteur theorized that microscopic organisms clearly visible under the newly invented microscopes of the day were the “cause” of virtually all diseases. The proof was that every time he looked at diseased tissues under a microscope, sure enough…there were the bacteria. It was theorized that the more virulent and nasty the bug one had come in contact with, the worse their disease was.
Bechamp on the other hand taught that the cellular terrain was everything. That is – the strength of the host was the primary determining factor in disease. As this definition of terrain evolved, it came to mean that at the microscopic level, the health of individual cells, robust activity of immune cells, and a vigorous flow of nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells determined disease more than the nastiness of the bugs.
Basically, Pasteur’s camp won the debate and it shaped modern medicine. The practice of “find a bug – use a drug” was born. The notion of improving host resistance, a prospect that is quite a bit more difficult than taking a pill (and not very profitable) faded away. But the controversy still rages on, and has degraded into name-calling. Some would paint Pasteur as an evil villain who committed various evil and treacherous acts throughout his life (not the author’s view.)
“Okay”, you might ask “Why should I care?”
You may not have much interest in medical history, but it does very much affect people’s lives to this very day, both yours and mine. When you get a cold or flu and walk out of a doctor’s office with a prescription for an expensive antibiotic (that actually has no affect on your viral infection), you are living the outcome of this debate. If you are struggling to overcome chronic Lyme disease or almost any other chronic illness the debate becomes quite a bit more personal. In fact your future health could depend on an accurate comprehension of these important principles. So which one was right? Is disease determined by the nastiness of the bug or the strength and resistance of the host?
You probably guessed that being a traditional naturopath, I favor Bechamp’s philosophy, but it’s not that cut and dry. It really can’t be 100% one way or the other. Terrain is so very important but also some bugs like Borrelia Burgdorferi can obviously be quite nasty. In order to deepen your understanding of this important health concept and controversy I want to give two illustrations. The first is an embellished version of an illustration on the importance of healthy terrain that I have heard holistic Lyme disease expert William Lee Cowden M.D. give at several A.C.I.M. medical conferences. It goes something like this:
What would happen if all the garbage collectors in New York City went on strike? …Imagine the scenario in your mind for a bit. To begin with, folks would start bringing their sacks of garbage out to the curb and the piles would grow larger day by day. Then it would begin piling up in allies, vacant lots, and finally the streets themselves. Basically everywhere.
Eventually, there would be no place to put it outside and peoples’ homes and apartments would overflow with stinking garbage and yep, you guessed it, now come the vermin! Rats, mice, roaches and flies would have a heyday. They are everywhere and people are complaining, so the city leaders have an emergency meeting to address the problem. After an all night brainstorming session they announce the solution to the press: they will hire a crack team of professional rat and mouse snipers and bug exterminators! Over the next few weeks the rat-killers scour the city shooting rats and mice, and the exterminators fumigate the whole city with pesticides. What is the outcome? ….piles of garbage with dead bugs and pesticide residue on them, and dead rats and mice everywhere. But after a short time the vermin are all back and another emergency meeting is needed. Solution: more powerful pesticides and hire additional rat and mouse snipers.
Do you see the correlation here to human health? New York City represents your body – the garbage collectors represent all the pathways by which you literally eliminate garbage from your body, such as the bowel, liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. When these fail at doing their job properly or fast enough, bad things begin to happen, including the methodical appearance of one chronic infection after the other. Waste products and toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, metabolic waste products, and microbial biotoxins begin to back up in your city as it were. This is why holistic practitioners such as myself routinely recommend liver detoxification therapies and flushes, kidney cleanses, lymphatic drainage, and homeopathic Terrain remedies to clear the fluid between the cells of debris, and so forth. The notion is that yes, people with chronic illnesses do have chronic infections, lots of them. And yes, they are making people sick, but what really is the solution, especially when these are chronic and entrenched, such as the case for example with chronic Lyme disease? The ludicrous illustration above highlights the futility of hammering infections with one antibiotic after the other and/or natural bug killers, while neglecting unhealthy terrain, and a broken detoxification system.
The solution though realistically is twofold: improve the terrain and also kill the bugs, preferably in a way that does no harm to the host. Kill the bugs, keep the body. Microbial infection and damaged terrain are not mutually exclusive issues. In fact pathogens can intentionally damage cell health and immune health as a survival mechanism and so at some point, killing them becomes integral to improving cellular terrain. They are poisoning surrounding tissues.
But as a holistic traditional practitioner I am alarmed by how many people with Lyme disease are in fact relentlessly doing very powerful kill therapies, meaning natural and/or conventional treatments to annihilate Spirochete bacteria while mostly ignoring terrain. It seems like a recipe for failure and more suffering. It ignores the fact that there are many people walking around who have been exposed to the Borrelia Burgdorferi infection and all the other bugs that cause Lyme disease who are perfectly healthy, have the antibodies in their blood to prove they were exposed, and are essentially in great health. They are living examples of Bechamp’s theory – they were unaffected by the bug that makes a few individuals sick. There are far more of these people walking around than the relative minority of people who succumb to chronic Lyme disease after exposure. As stated, by some estimates, more than half the population of the U.S. has already been exposed to this bug and yet remain healthy. They are the majority. That minority who gets sick from Lyme disease were having problems long before exposure to any microbe. In other words, their garbage collectors went on strike sometime prior to the vermin-like, microbial population explosion.
So… how does this apply to you, the person trying to get well? You need to restore your terrain, immune system, and overall health to become like the average person who successfully resisted the Lyme and co-infections and various other opportunistic bugs, and you start this process by taking out the trash and doing detoxification therapies (This article is not meant to discuss that large topic. For more information on detoxification and drainage, feel free to read the information on the “Laser Energetic Detoxification”, “Oxygen Therapies”, and “Lymphatic Drainage” pages of this website.
But there are two sides to every coin: once a serious and chronic illness occurs, how big a deal are those bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses that inevitably take up residence in a weakened host? If you do enough work on your terrain and overall health improvement, will they vanish? In my experience, they probably will not. One big reason is that as stated, it seems nearly impossible to return to healthy cellular terrain once bugs are everywhere. The nature of many bacterial and other chronic infections is that once they become entrenched they are pretty good at staying put and possess multiple defensive mechanisms to protect their survival. And again, some of these include chronically poisoning the host and weakening them just enough to prevent that one’s defenses and immune system from reestablishing dominance over the bugs. It is a fundamental survival mechanism that pathogens have been developing for a very long time.
So yes, you still have to address these infections to get well. Therefore, let me play Devil’s advocate for a moment and give that second illustration:
Suppose you were walking in the jungle and a rabid spider monkey jumped onto the back of your head and started biting you and scratching you. What would you do? Would you say “Well, I seem to be wounded and bleeding, I better go into the jungle a little ways further and find some nice herbs for a poultice for my bleeding head.”?
What’s wrong with that picture? Well the rabid little spider monkey is still biting you and trying to remove your scalp, so the first order of business is to get the spider monkey off your head, then you can hunt for some poultice herbs. That is perhaps a simplistic illustration to explain Lyme disease, but to some extent it really does apply, not only to Lyme disease, but many of the associated health conditions that go hand in hand with it like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and various autoimmune diseases that have an insidious infectious component. Yes, having microbes attack you can be dangerous and sometimes you HAVE to kill them. It would be inappropriate to label all antibiotic use as worthless. I don’t think anyone is that stupid. Everyone knows that antibiotics can save lives. But what about with chronic Lyme disease when they fail…….. when this happens you MUST take terrain into account.
Jack Miller CTN does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment through this Website. The purpose of this digital publication is to explore current research and discussions of holistic natural therapies and healthy lifestyle factors that are typically not discussed in the real of modern allopathic medicine. The content of this Digital Publication, such as text, graphics, images, and other material has not been evaluated by the FDA and is for informational purposes only. The Content is not indended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read, heard or seen on this digital publication. If you schedule an appointment with Jack Miller you will be given natural therapies and supplements to support your healing, but they are not a substitute for medical treatment.