The Immune System in Naturopathy

 

The immune system is a complex component of our organism necessary for survival – and not just for defending against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It is responsible for the elimination of environmental toxins as well as endogenous hormones and metabolic products.
In order for the immune system to work properly, a complicated interaction of many systems is required. For this, a multitude of different cells, enzymes, and globulins (proteins) are formed that circulate in the blood and the lymphatic system or constitute part of the skin and mucosal tissue.
Since nearly all diseases go hand in hand with a problem with the immune system, it becomes apparent that maintaining or restoring its best possible function is imperative for our health.
It is of fundamental importance to provide our immune system with an optimal supply of nutrients, vitamins, and trace elements; even more so, because environmental toxins, chronic exposure to pathogens, and psychological problems will also have a detrimental impact on the immune system and thus on our health.
The defense system is divided into immune systems associated with the skin on the one hand and the organs on the other. Defense cells like leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes are formed in the bone marrow and are then “programmed” in the thymus gland above the heart.
Inside the lymphatic organs like the lymph nodes, spleen, and tonsils, the germs and foreign substances circulating in the lymph are directly filtered and eliminated. The lymphatic organs are everywhere in the body and guarantee an adequate immune response in all areas of our organism.

Naturally, besides a functioning immune system, optimum circulation and innervation of the blood vessels is vital for tissue function so that, if required, the immune cells can be transported to become active.
The most likely area for infections to get the upper hand is where the tissue is already pre-damaged through injuries, stasis, structural problems, or after surgical procedures.

The Immune System and the Endocrine System

The endocrine system, which consists of various hormonal glands (endocrine glands) that are continuously interacting to release hormones, also plays a central role in every one of our organism’s immune reactions.

The adrenal gland that makes cortisol, a strongly anti-inflammatory hormone which is the model for the pharmaceutically used, synthetically recreated cortisone, is essential here.
Since every immune response by our bodies is connected to an inflammation, the release of cortisol is indispensable for limiting the damage to the tissue concerned.

We do not only have active hormones that directly control our body functions, but also “control hormones”, so-called releasing hormones, that are responsible for releasing individual active hormones and for balancing the overall hormonal system.
The main hormonal glands are the thyroid gland which produces the active thyroxines T3/T4 that have a significant impact on our metabolism,

the adrenal glands with cortisol and adrenaline which have a function that dominates inflammation processes associated with the immune system,
the genital glands (ovaries, womb, testicles, and prostate) which inter alia control the reproductive processes as well as social and sexual feelings,
the pancreas which controls the sugar metabolism with insulin,
and finally the brain glands hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the pineal gland, which control the whole system hormonally and which significantly influence feelings of happiness and sensations of pain by releasing opioid peptides.
Of course this is a very simplistic description. It is supposed to illustrate that even if only one hormonal glands sickens, other glands will not be able to function optimally and therefore the whole hormonal system, and as a result also the immune system, will be affected.

The Immune System and Poisoning

Insecticides in the Food Chain

While heavy metals weaken the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and brain glands, insecticides are more detrimental to the sex glands, and solvents cause a lot of damage to the blood vessels.
As you can see, it is not just one organ that becomes diseased, but the whole person. For example, the immune system can be damaged through poisoning and as a consequence the body will no longer be able to control the resulting inflammatory processes.

The Immune System and Infections

Antibodies of the Immune System

Many pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites have mechanisms to cause direct damage to our immune system in order to multiply and secure their existence.
Treponema, for example, weaken the adrenals, gonococci have enzymes to weaken the mucous membrane associated with the immune system, and tapeworms have a very detrimental effect on our Vitamin B12 metabolism.
Such chronic stress on the organs and inflammatory processes lead to structural changes in the locomotor system through changed fasciae tensions and result in pelvic obliquity and vertebrae blockages as well as jaw problems.
In today’s scientific medicine there are outstanding findings in the area of microbiology and biochemistry as well as in regard to most pathogens and also our organism’s biochemical processes.

The correlation of structural conditions and systemic stress factors is largely unknown to the majority of medical practitioners and naturopathic therapists.

The Immune System in Naturopathy

In university medicine pathologies are often named after their symptoms, whereby the causes remain unclear. Many patients have gone through an odyssey of doctor’s visits to see highly specialized medical practitioners without having received sustainable help.
The naturopathic viewpoint of how diseases develop should not be in fundamental opposition to university medicine, but should rather supplement, expand, and connect it.
However, some naturopathic methods are not yet reconcilable with scientific theories. The best way to illustrate this is by way of the term “certainty of action”, e.g. that something will work based on an experience which can be reproduced again and again, even if there is not yet a scientific explanation or study for it.
Using naturopathic therapies does not actually claim scientific provability, but is rather based on the experience of traditional naturopathic medical systems, e.g., TCM, osteopathy, western herbal medicine, and my clinical experience in treating my patients where I have had the opportunity to collect information, and categorize and evaluate as well as document it.
In practice I use various tools and methods for diagnosis besides osteopathic examination methods, like neurological function analysis as well as kinesiological tests and laboratory blood analyses.
In my experience, the vast majority of diseases develop through chronic infections that often remain unnoticed, through poisoning, and lastly through the psyche, which leads us to permanent misconduct by “not feeling”. In our strongly cerebral society, which is characterized by scientific dogma, logical thinking is often accorded more attention than individual perception.

Naturopathic therapy involving the immune system is based both on identifying environmental-medical stresses and releasing them as well as treating infections directly.

The Immune System from the Viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Treating the Immune System with Chinese Herbs

The ancient teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine stated long ago that too much thinking (=not feeling) damages the spleen (=immune system).
When TCM was established 2,000 years ago, people in China were mainly burdened with infections, while nowadays there are myriads of poisons besides which severely threaten our immune system and thus our health.
Therefore today it should really state correctly that too much thinking damages the spleen and the liver.

Herbal medicines in Traditional Chinese Medicine are particularly important for treating the immune system.

The Limits of Naturopathy

When the immune system is badly damaged, one has to weigh up whether a therapy based only on naturopathic methods is sufficient, or whether adjuvant therapeutic measures from conventional medicine should be used.

Quite often it is expedient to treat the underlying cause with naturopathic methods while applying medical interventions at the same time, as these often work faster symptomatically.

I use the following therapies to treat the immune system:

Praxis Osteopathie & Naturheilkunde Berlin

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