If you’ve been around yoga long enough to see it’s many positive results & near miracles, you’d think the idea of yoga as a part of health care would be more common in such a “progressive” country as the United States.
But old ideas die hard, especially when politically driven monopolies control them. New ideas take years, sometimes centuries, to take hold. Let’s get some medical science and history back-ground to build a foundation for why yoga should be an integral component, on the first line of defense, of modern health care.
Heroic/Allopathic versus Homeopathic Medicine
Some older ideas of health care are what some used to call Heroic Medicine. Meaning some Invading Entity would enter a person’s body, and it was the job of a “Hero” — the medicine man, shaman or doctor — to somehow rid the victim’s body of this entity. The entity could be an evil spirit or force from an angry god; later, a “bad humor;” or substance. In more recent times, a virus or bacteria (Germ Theory). All kinds of “medicine” & “treatment” was devised to facilitate getting rid of the Invaders. … Some people got better. Many did not … until the 20th Century when germ killing became more “scientific” and (somewhat) effective. They became GREAT at repairing torn or broken tissues. But in metabolic health, an important factor was still missing. Like Good Internal Conditions! … Imagine That!
About 1800, Samuel Hahnemann, founder of Homeopathy, named the heroic approach allopathic, meaning treatment by DIS-similars. Substances and techniques such as drugs, surgery, leeching, blood-letting (what killed George Washington), and such were the supposed “healing” agents of choice. Homeopathy, on the other hand, was considered treatment by similars, with medicines considered to be far more friendly to the body, including less likely to kill the patient! (Drugs and knives are “dissimilar” to human tissue. Food, exercise, STRETCHING, rest, etc. are natural to the body, therefore “similar.”)
The “Heroic” Germ Theory of Medicine
Mid-1800s, Louis Pasteur revived an old theory from some of his students, refined and promoted it, thereby becoming the “father” of the Germ Theory of Medicine; a theory allegedly more scientifically “valid” than our ancient medicine men — the Heroic Practitioners — ever came up with. Yet with most chronic disease, modern medicine has not really improved on the results of real health care and sciences all that much. (1.)
The Host Theory of Medicine:
At the time of Pasteur, Antoine Bechamp was a better researcher and scientist than Pasteur, but not as good a promoter or business man. Bechamp developed what’s now known as the Host Theory of Medicine. While he did not deny the existence of germs, he said most germs could only proliferate to excess when the Inner-Bio-Terrain had already become deficient and/or toxic, and normal detoxification was under-performing.
Yes, “germs” exist. But while vastly improved sanitation played a major part (maybe the biggest part), in most chronic illness, germs are far more likely a RESULT of poor inner-health, not the cause. Specific parasites then produce specific symptoms, but reduced metabolic health creates a good home for — and reduces resistance to and detox of — most parasites in the first place.
When the Inner-Bio-Terrain — via excess stress, nutritional deficiency & toxicity, or poison, and so on — degenerates, it becomes a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and other parasites, who go around consuming what they can find. But parasites have to poop, too. So they poop inside of (poisoning) their host. Think of micro-dots of food poisoning throughout the body, slowly adding up over time. (This could be you, and me too!) These factors lead to toxic overload/degeneration and decreasing metabolic resistance & immunity of the body. Then, each parasite or germ tends to cause its own unique symptoms. (2.)
For a better view of how “scientific” modern medicine actually is, or is not, please see Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s classic 1979 book Confessions of a Medical Heretic, by Warner Books.
Physical & Mental Dis-Stress
Now comes Hans Selye, M.D., in the 20th Century, on the previously little known nor understood, phenomena of stress. (3.)
The body reacts in some way to nearly everything, so internal metabolic states are constantly changing to small or large degrees. Much of stress — EU-stress — is good & necessary for proper function, development and maintenance. However, too much “bad” stress — DIS-stress — leads to varying degrees of metabolic degeneration, tissue burnout and breakdown, eventually damaging the whole system.
Micro & Macro Stress events stimulate the CNS (central nervous system), heightening overall brain stem activity. This gradually affects the body in many ways. When such activity reaches chronic thresholds, a system-wide emergency response — hyper-irritation of the CNS, eventually becoming Cascading, Sympathetic Overload — is triggered, causing tensions, aches and pains, organ stress and breakdowns, and a wide range of other dysfunction throughout the nerves, brain, body and organs. (This is neurological Generalization in Pfluger’s Principles. 4.)
Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension (term originated by your author) refers to long-term accumulations of neuromuscular tensions which, left unaddressed, inevitably increase to higher levels. These tensions compress joints & spinal discs, irritate nerves, interfere with blood & lymph vessels, degrade or interfere with organ function, create tensions between muscles, and so on. This produces localized & overall structural & metabolic degeneration on a wide scale. The list of possible symptoms emergent from too much C.E.M.&.N.T. and structural degeneration is far too long to list here, and surprisingly wide in its range.
Metabolic & Neurologic Abnormality = Breakdown
Even very small neuromuscular events can, along with the dis-stress events (above), further increase levels of irritation feeding the CNS and brain stem. This adds to overall, centralized hyper-activity and irritation, in turn producing intensified stress reactions, further compounded by each other … a vicious cycle.
Chronically contracted muscles excessively consume vital nutrients, producing toxic waste, bringing pathological changes in local and system-wide chemistry. Hyperactivity contributes to degeneration of the detoxification and immune functions.
All this systemic tension, stress & degeneration adds to degenerative changes in the Inner-Bio-Terrain of the Host. Internal resistance and immunity go down, the body of the host breaks down, allowing increased growth of toxic and pathogenic invaders: viruses, bacteria and parasites plus metabolic waste products. These in turn produce another wide range of specific symptoms.
Physical/Mental Yoga As A
The Healing Objective, then, is to reduce or eliminate the Central Cause, so your system normalizes. Conscious Stretching (Hatha Yoga) — if done gently & slowly enough, NOT adding stress to the system — while subtly lengthening muscles, activates certain nerve endings in the neuro-myo-fascial system, reaching upward and into the brain stem, beginning the often slow process of de-activating and relaxing local & systemic C.E.M.&.N.T. Local irritations turn down or off, and the organs tend to follow suit, be-ginning their natural, parasympathetic-driven self-repair. … We’ll discuss all this and the following in detail in the next issue:
Four Yogic Principles of “Structural Homeopathy” enhance the healing process: 1.) Removal of Obstacles to Cure; 2.) Low-dose, low-intensity stretching & micro-movements; 3.) Reflect-ing current physical & mental states back to the Being (deeper consciousness). 4.). Diet & Detoxification (such as fasting).
For an excellent Primer on how parasites grow and work, see Hulda Clark’s books, such as The Cure for all Cancers.
Selye’s easy to read yet scientifically informative books include The Stress of Life and Stress Without Distress.
Pfluger’s Principles were taught in medical schools as laws in early 20th Century. Their disappearance is very interesting.
MORE on Yoga as a Health Care Component — (Continued)