Here is an excellent explanation on a common understanding of germs and health that is held by most chiropractors. Chiropractor, Dr. Robert Ferguson, D.C.’s blog post, even explains why chiropractor’s are even involved in the germ theory conversation.
It’s a funny thing that I read this today, as I have noticed myself using germs as an excuse to get my son to take my requests seriously. i.e. “Gordon, please stop playing with your airplane in the woman’s restroom.” He refused to listen, until I mentioned that there are a lot of germs in there, which he completely understood and quickly exited.
My understanding still remains consistent, that germs live with us in homeostasis, but are opportunistic. Dr. Ferguson explains the pillars of health, so your body can resist a sway in this balance.
WAR ON GERMS
Since 1840, mankind has been waging a war on germs. Bacteria and viruses, evil incarnate, have been linked to many of mankind’s most terrifying disease nightmares. They are everywhere and they are seemingly nowhere. They are like invisible predators waiting to pounce. In our effort to eradicate germs, we have searched the heavens and the earth, applying chemicals, poisons, vaccines, radiation and every other method we have stumbled across to rid ourselves of their blight.
As we learn ever more, we discover that we can never truly be rid of them. We learn that the pronouncements made by 19th and early 20th century physicians, that disease would be eliminated by defeating germs, is neither possible nor desirable.
GERMS ARE NECESSARY
As it turns out, we need germs. In fact, we live in a delicate symbiosis, each of us dependent on the other. Humans are highly complex hosts for a multitude of helpful bacteria. On average, each person is home to roughly 160 different species of bacteria that comprise their normal, healthy gut flora. These bacteria help us digest food, produce vitamins, and protect us from harmful invading bacteria. Put simply, they are crucial for our health.
LIVING WITH GERMS
For each cell in a human body, a person hosts up to 10 bacteria, most of these in the gut. A person who is dealing with an illness may have a different floral make-up than someone who is enjoying health. Promising research is underway studying this very relationship. While undertaking a study to map the genes of these bacteria, leading research Professor Mark Huycke stated, “This research puts into perspective the complexity of the effects normal gut bacteria can have on the health of the individual.”
HOW BACTERIA ARE OUR FRIENDS
We have known for some time that stress can have a negative impact on individual health, but the mechanisms for this have proved elusive or incomplete. New research may shed some light on this relationship and a mechanism for activity.
As a general rule, increasing the number of good bacteria is conducive to good health, much like increasing levels of good cholesterol. It makes sense that an increase in good bacteria would affect the overall bacterial levels of a person, but that is not the case. The less desirable bacteria are squeezed out like squatting tenants when the rightful residents return.
GOOD FOR US, GOOD FOR THEM
As bad bacteria gain a foothold, through opportunities brought on by lifestyle choices, external environment or antibiotics, it is possible for these bad bacteria to “leak” through the digestive tract and trigger inflammatory and immune responses. The reverse is true. As good, normal bacteria levels increase, inflammatory levels decrease and immune responses are seen to return to more normal levels.
By doing things to keep ourselves healthy we also provide and promote an environment conducive to the kinds of bacteria that are useful and helpful to us. By extension, things that are bad for these bacteria are also bad for us.
HOW IS THIS CHIROPRACTIC?
Chiropractic is concerned with natural healing. Chiropractic’s specific role in natural healing is to restore and maintain the connection between brain and body through a nerve system free of interference. To maximize this opportunity, we encourage healthy habits designed to make use of the body’s natural healing capacity.
This ties into the nutritional aspect of the 5 pillars of health. Increasing our intake of raw, local organic veggies is one way to promote a healthy bacterial tenant. Utilizing probiotics may be another. At the same time, using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, will allow us to cultivate a healthier crop of normal flora.
Find out more information about how living a chiropractic lifestyle can have a positive effect on both your short-term and long term health potential. Visit us on the web.
I would also like to add that bathrooms are gross, and I don’t like the idea of people hanging out in them unnecessarily. My opinions have less to do with the germ theory and more to do with proper sanitation and cleanliness.
I will do my best not to use mental germ warfare on my son in the future. 🙂