Dynamic Chiropractic - September 21, 1998, Volume 16, Issue 20

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Enlarging the Vision: "Biofunctional Medicine" -- What's That?

David Prescott, DC, MA, JD, FIACA

"The cell is everything." -- Rudolph Virchow, circa 1860s

"The microbe is everything." -- Louis Pasteur, circa 1870s

"The microbe/cell is nothing. The terrain is everything." -- Claude Bernard, circa 1860-70s

The differences of opinion between Virchow, Pasteur and Claude express in part the present debate between allopathic medicine and chiropractic/alternative medicine. These issues go to the very core of each individual chiropractor's ability to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

We need to enlarge the BIG IDEA. The knowledge to do so has been available for at least 30 years. We need to be removing any and all interference within the body's regulatory system, whatever science identifies that regulatory system to be, and we need to use whatever means are necessary short of the use of drugs (allopathic) or surgery. I call this concept biofunctional medicine. The concept of biofunctional medicine also includes the concept of supporting host resistance; again, by all means necessary.

Additional issues related to materialistic/reductionistic versus vitalistic/holistic presuppositions are also of great importance. I will, however, touch upon those issues in this article only as they relate to the subject of biofunctional medicine.

It was reported on CNN that over 60,000 people died in the United States last year from infections with drug-resistant microbes. CNN also reported that over three million people died worldwide from TB, even though optimists in the allopathic community once predicted that TB would be eliminated from the planet by the year 2000.

Mainstream medical scientists are presently spending three billion dollars of taxpayer money to map the human genome in their belief that it will reveal all of the ultimate secrets of life, disease and death itself. That proposition is an extension of Virchow's basic idea that disease starts in the individual cell. Allopathic medicine's belief system is also supported by the proposition that life is merely chemistry and the product of random chance and natural selection.

We need to revisit the issues debated in the last century by Bernard, Virchow and Pasteur. It should be noted in passing, Bernard on his deathbed, in effect swamps permit the proliferation of mosquitoes; mosquitos do not create the conditions of their own uncontrolled growth. I will presently focus my attention on Virchow v. Bernard.

Virchow v. Bernard

 His basic concept was that each cell of the body is an "elementary organism" existing primarily for itself alone and that disease starts by disturbances in the structure of individual cells.

This cellular disease concept remains a central pathophysiological premise of allopathic medicine, extended, of course, to presently include the genes and receptor cites on the cell membrane.

Claude Bernard opposed Virchow's cellular disease theory. Bernard is recognized as the leading physiologist of the 19th century and is greatly respected by organized medicine for having been a leader in the movement that based medical practice on animal experimentation. He first espoused this position in 1865   been largely overlooked, or misconstrued, by mainstream medicine. It is this second concept which interests us here and it is this aspect which is captured in his quote, "The terrain ('internal milieu') is everything." What terrain?

Bernard's internal milieu theory was addressed from an allopathic perspective in a 1985 book by an English physician who explained Bernard's position, in part, as follows: "... the cells of the body can live only if their immediate This therefore is all about control mechanisms. . . ." (See 

 Bernard's focus of attention was on the chemical milieu, which is incorrect. His primary focus was the body's innate regulatory mechanisms which he assumed to be the nervous system. Claude   review with a large circulation in both Britain and the United  

"The nervous system, as Blainsville philosophically observed, creates a secret harmony between the different parts of the and renders them mutually dependent upon each other."

Bernard and D.D. Palmer

Pierre-Louis Gaucher-Peslherbe, a French chiropractor to whom this profession owes a great debt of gratitude, wrote his PhD thesis on the early history of chiropractic, published as  Gaucher-Peslherbe convincingly argues that D.D. Palmer got his idea about the central importance of the nervous system from Claude Bernard and points out, in addition to the material quoted above, that:

It is ironic that Claude Bernard would be revered by the allopathic community for his ideas about animal experimentation and that mainstream medicine would then limit his idea about the importance of "control mechanisms" to biochemistry. It is even more ironic that organized medicine would have the gall to call chiropractors quacks for having accepted Bernard's proposition that disease starts with a disfunction within the body's internal milieu.

Bernard's central idea is best expressed by the term biofunctional medicine, that is, the innate intelligence of the body has the capacity to control and regulate the internal functions critical to the expression of life. Straight chiropractors have, therefore, been on solid ground in focusing attention on the removal of interference with the biofunctional regulatory mechanism(s). Other chiropractors have also been correct to reason that one also needs to support this innate capacity through the use of nutrition, etc. (See the "Regulatory System" and the "Biological Remedies" sections.

The question of the nature of the body's regulatory mechanism(s) is primarily a question to be answered by science, not philosophy as done by Blainville in the quotation from Bernard. It must be recognized, however, that materialist philosophy dictates the allopathic conclusion that all regulation can be reduced to chemistry. A vitalistic/holistic philosophy would accept the importance of chemistry, but would recognize that something more is involved. We could speak of chi, life force, spirit, breath, etc., but I will merely contend that the regulatory mechanisms involve at least chemistry, light, (electromagnetic force), energy and vibration. More importantly perhaps is the question of what specific tissue(s) are involved in the regulatory mechanisms of the body? Obviously, the genes are involved but there is more to it than that. It is the internal milieu, whatever science may show that to be.

The Regulatory System

what Bernard referred to as the "interior milieu" or "terrain." The model encompasses the whole extracellular (connective) tissue compartment and recognizes this compartment as a singular regulatory network (system) composed of many subparts, including the nervous system, the vascular/lymphatic system, the immune system and, although not shown on the chart, the meridian system. The importance of each structural subcomponent of the network, including protein chains, electromagnetic factors and the fluid/water element is also recognized. Let's take a look.

Organic Diseases Originate in Dysfunctions of this System and Its Connections throughout the Organism.

"Disease is but the performance of functions in either an excessive or deficient amount. All disease shortens life by deteriorating the quality of the tissue."  

Books have been written on this subject. Suffice it to say, the Germans have developed a great deal of electronic equipment for evaluating the status or condition of this system and with which to monitor its treatment.

It is more important for my present purpose to ask you to look very carefully at the picture. It is imperative to note that although the nerves are of great importance they function in interaction (two-way arrows) with all the other subcomponents of the system. Indeed, it is the whole network complex itself which is the regulatory system. There can be interference with this regulatory system beyond the IVF, and some of us need to educate and train ourselves about the specifics, and how to treat it, so that we can claim this whole-body territory as within our scope of practice.

The question arises how one can treat and/or support the operations of this system. To repeat what I said at the outset of this article, I suggest we use all means necessary short of the use of allopathic drugs or surgery. That leaves, in effect, biological remedies and, at least for legal purposes, we need to have an adequate definition of such substances.

Biological Remedies

A biological remedy is a therapeutic substance which is derived directly from a botanical, mineral, animal or any other natural source and those substances the molecular structure of which is substantially the same as, or unaltered from, such botanical, mineral, animal or other natural source, including homeopathic preparations. that a primary action of such biological remedies is to remove interference with the body's innate healing capacity and to reinforce and support biological function or, otherwise stated, maximize host resistance.

Removing interference with, and maximizing the function of, the body's regulatory system is critical to the health of all persons on the planet. These factors are also central to the legal rights and market image of those chiropractors who seek a broader vision of their healing art.

Evidence must, however, tell us where, when and how to practice biofunctional medicine. It is a minor step from the nervous system to the general regulatory system pictured above, but that step creates huge new opportunities for our scope of practice and economic survival. However, for the courts to recognize a particular practitioner's right to such an expanded scope of practice it will require demonstrated competence to handle the diagnoses, treatment and maximization of function related to this enlarged vision. It will also require education and training in an appropriate educational program. I will address these matters in subsequent articles.

David Prescott, DC, MA, JD, FIACA
Tustin, California