The Hygiene Hypothesis


November 23, 2019


The Hygiene Hypothesis

It’s convenient to think of our bodies as machines that take in energy and are able to perform millions of different tasks. Consider the increasingly sophisticated computers and robots that now do what humans previously did. Seeing ourselves as mere machines overlooks at least one critical difference. You and I are self-healing. Machines aren’t.

This self-healing capacity is a mystery. However, the power that made our body is the power that heals it. When we die, this self-healing ability immediately stops.

It’s this self-healing capacity that intrigued the very first chiropractor. Why was it that two men, working side by side, one man would get sick, and the other, exposed to the same germs did not?

This question led D.D. Palmer to question the prevailing germ theory of a century ago. “It must not be the germ, but something intrinsic to the man,” he surmised.

Ironically, Louis Pasteur, the actual author of the germ theory had second thoughts too. On his deathbed he recanted his theory proclaiming, “…the microbe is nothing, terrain is everything.” In other words, it’s soil, not the seed (germ), that is the key to whether a germ will manifest into disease.

This fear of germs still lingers in our culture. We mistakenly believe that if we kill enough germs it will produce health. This has resulted in what’s called the “hygiene hypothesis.”

The hygiene hypothesis suggests that some exposure to germs and microorganisms in early childhood is good for us. It helps develop the immune system. Many believe that a lack of exposure to microbes can result in allergies, autoimmune conditions and a less robust immune system.

Yet, healthy individuals (that’s the key) are perfectly equipped to handle just about any germ or virus that comes our way. If not, the human race would have died off long ago.

Thankfully, our immune system (controlled by our nervous system) is on the job 24/7. It’s subduing countless germs and microbes without a single conscious thought from us.

Something that a machine will never be able to do.

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