Altering the Terrain – The True Cause of Disease

The True Cause of Disease

It is said that in his final hours Louis Pasteur
 proclaimed that “the terrain is everything.”
 Simply put, this was an admission that
 the true cause of disease is the internal
 environment of a living organism, not 
external micro-organisms. It is the state
 of this internal environment — the terrain
— which either allows for germs to invade
 and injure the organism or fends them

With virtually every patient, and every disease that I treat, there are 3 main approaches that blend together to form an effective treatment plan. These are:

1. Rooting out the source/ true cause of disease – the bacteria, the cancer, the toxin.

2. Supporting the vital energy of the body.

3. Altering the terrain.

The conventional medical approach is focused on #1, killing the pathogen or the rogue cells, and drugs like chemotherapy and antibiotics are hard-hitters in this realm. Natural medicine has its own vast artillery that are weaker in action, yet more complex, which can be more advantageous (there are pro’s and con’s to both!). Yet

killing off bacteria 
and viruses is not the be all and end all
 of either curing disease nor preserving 


Approach #2, supporting the vital energy of the body, is a strategy exclusive to nature-based medical philosophies. Many herbs, special diets, and basic common sense advice around getting adequate sleep and exercise speak to the importance of actively maintaining and supporting the integrity of the vital organs and immune system by doing what we know helps the body function optimally.


Approach #3, altering the terrain, is a bit different. It is the least recognized, the least talked about, and the least practiced, by conventional doctors and natural medicine practitioners alike. The terrain can
 be defined in terms of nutritional status, pH level, 
toxicity levels, energetic balance, immune 
function, mineral stores, mental outlook and emotional
 well-being. It can be evaluated through
 any combination of physical examination,
 pulse diagnosis, blood chemistry analysis, pH testing, 
and verbal consultation. Generally, we 
can think of it as those factors which
dispose the body towards either health or


From the common cold to
 cancer, ulcers to multiple sclerosis, 
somebody is always seeming to try to
 explain away a disease in term of deadly
micro-organisms. Yet

this is only a a portion of the whole story. Altering the terrain asks, what are the conditions that allowed the bug or the mutant DNA expression to take hold in the first place?


An overly narrow focus on destroying 
pathogens (disease causing bacteria, etc.) with 
a reliance on pharmaceutical agents that 
solely perform the function of eradication is one of the 
major shortcomings of conventional 
medicine. The most common example is the child
 treated over and over again with
 antibiotics for an ear infection (or anyone with Lyme disease). It is a 
classic case of treating the symptoms
 and ignoring the cause. The antibiotics 
eliminate bugs and most often eliminate 
the symptoms, though not completely, because the terrain remains the 
same (and typically worsens!). Without making changes in the 
environment of the child’s body, s/he will
 remain susceptible.


Thus the vicious cycle of infection, drugs
 and increasingly poor resistance with weakened gut and immunity
, which eventually leads to 
more aggressive procedures like
“maintenance doses” of drugs, ear
tubes, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Without an effective cure, the 
parents are advised that the child will
 eventually outgrow it…

If we imagine our body as an ocean, which to a large extent it is, with 70% water content and every cell awash in a sea of blood and body fluid that brings nourishment and communication to the cells, and carries waste and communication away from the cells.


Yet if you imagine all the different qualities of water in nature you will find they also have counterparts within the body. The blood may be bright with a high level of oxygenation, or it may be dark oxygen-poor blood. It may propel itself with ease through the vessels like a mountain stream, or it may be sluggish and thick with the congealing of blood cells (due to the biochemistry of inflammation for example), like a murky muddy swamp. The blood may be polluted with acidic toxins, or clean and alkaline with life-generating vitamins, minerals, and


True wholistic medicine is the endeavor 
of understanding and adjusting the