inner life






The Germ Theory

With the advent of the germ theory of disease, centuries of interest in what is now called the body-mind connection fell into disrepute. I have described myself as a medical philosopher and would like to begin the incredibly difficult and important section on emotions with a few broad remarks.

Disease as Sin

During the time of the Inquisition, doctors were prohibited from "curing" patients because the medical fashion at that time, dictated by a Church going through one of the most incomprehensible eras of history, was that disease is consequence of sin. So as not to interfere with either God's wrath or the opportunity that patients had to expiate their sins, doctors neither cured nor provided relief from suffering.

I never understood this dark period, especially not in the context of a Christian faith founded on the concepts of forgiveness of sins and compassion for those who suffer. Despite the teachings of the spiritual leader of Western civilization, the Inquisition burned approximately nine million people at the stake, mostly women who practiced gentler and more humane forms of healing than those espoused by the officialdom of the times.

What Does This Have to do with Anything Today?

Like every other discipline, medicine is a product of its history and the age. It goes through fashions. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, practiced natural medicine. Hippocrates lived in what might have been a Golden Age of Knowledge, but he lived before the Christian Era and was neither an heir to Judaism nor a great influence on Christianity. Western civilization is more a product of the convolutions of insane quests for dominion: dominion over souls, minds, property, and ultimately bodies. Reformers have not, in truth, been very successful in changing this picture.

After inheriting the enormous academic superiority of both Islamic and Judaic learned traditions, the West plunged into a Dark Age, burned books and witches, and nearly destroyed the entire legacy of natural medicine with its emphasis on observation, herbs, harmlessness, and healing. Instead, it focused on evil. Disease was evil. People who had diseases were sinners. Doctors, most of whom were trained in monastic institutions, cooperated with a vengeful God by using methods that increased suffering, and they persecuted those who offered kinder and more humane relief from disease.

It's no wonder that so many risked perilous voyages to create new lives in distant lands, away from the Inquisition and the Black Death. We who live in the U.S. cannot understand our history if we look at the Protestant Reformation as an issue of whether the Bible could be translated into the vernacular and read by common people. Life in Europe was dangerous, and people were leaving by the droves.

Separated from their homelands, they became dependent on Native American medical traditions for knowledge of the herbs that could make their lives safer in the face of diseases. The revival of natural medicine is thus very much a part of the New World, a place with no history whatsoever of the bizarre official medicine of the Old World. Thus, here it was that botanic medicine secured its rightful place in Western civilization.

Why is this Important?

These historic events are important because natural medicine is focused on healing, not on disease. It is based on relief, not on identifying pathological organisms. It is clinical and empirical, meaning that all trials are carried out on real people with real problems; and the task of the healer is to make accurate observations and good decisions so that the treatment can be fine-tuned to the precise needs of the patients. There is no mass production of cure-alls and no transplanting of diseases from one species to another much less deliberate attempts to make creatures ill in order to find out what will make them well again.

In short, natural medicine is humane, logical, and appealing to one's common sense. However, it isn't scientific, at least not in an academic sense. Natural medicine is about healing, and the reason this is important to the germ theory is that had Bechamp won the debate with Pasteur, you and I would have had an entirely different medical curriculum from the day of our first smallpox vaccines. We would have learned that those who are healthy and have good immune systems and adequate immune responses do not get sick even if exposed to pathogens. Doctors would have been trained to support healthy bodies rather than to look for microscopic causes of diseases, and they would have developed wholesome medicines instead of pusses and poisons to treat illness.

In my opinion, we have gone completely amuck. We are fouling our Planet with ludicrous chemical and pharmaceutical products and terrorizing people into submission by telling them of the dangers of germs instead of the value of healthy foods, harmonious personal relationships, job fulfillment, and spiritual bliss. Who profits from this? We know the answer, but do we really understand that Pasteur was wrong. He himself admitted it on his deathbed. He recognized that the terrain in which the disease appears is the cause of the illness, not the microorganism. We wasted a century on never-ending promises of miracle cures hyped by an overpaid Madison Avenue propaganda machine and a political system that is in the pocket of this hugely profitable industry.

Is this Really Relevant?

Yes, it is. For many reasons, it is important to know these facts because one will never be totally comfortable with one's pursuit of natural approaches to healing unless one also recognizes that many of the premises of modern medicine are flawed by an obsession with microorganisms and powerful drugs that can allegedly destroy these hugely adaptable microorganisms. Is the whole of modern medicine incorrect? No, obviously not. Even zealous natural healers admit the existence of germs. The difference is that healing involves the strengthening of the constitution so that it is better equipped to deal with insults.

It is also relevant because many of the theories of constitutional type and the psychosomatic characteristics of different disease conditions are part of natural medicine and its history. Modern medicine discarded this knowledge when it embraced the germ theory. It failed to see individual differences as relevant to disease process and thus created a one size fits all prescription for humanity. However, when the germ theory gained ground, the idea of disease as a sin died, but the price paid for this relief from blame has been high and also extreme since karma does play a part in all that we experience so going from one extreme to the other did not help us to find the middle way!

See also:

Article on pH Balance

For more on this subject:




Ingrid Naiman
9 April 2006




left up right

pH Balance

The Inner Child || Four Elements and Personality
Venus and Mars: the Pacifist and the Warrior
Ho'oponopono: Removing the Obstacles to Cure



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