The Open Boat

Environmental Medicine

"I held the rainbow balanced on my outspread hands, and he said:
'You open your hands and give me nothing.'"

D.H. Lawrence
The Overtone

Environmental Medicine is based on the wisdom that there is a direct correlation between the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink - and bathe in - and our health. More importantly, there is a direct one-to-one correlation between these things, which are our life-support, and the level at which we are able to function every day.

There are two major concepts embodied in this approach, concepts new to us but which have actually been understood, accepted and built on by key healers for the past two thousand years.

The first concept is that health is a continuum.

We are used to mistakenly viewing our health as a dichotomy - either one of two states that contradict each other: you are either well or ill, like the on off switch to a light. This mechanistic view of health is useful in a system where people themselves are viewed mechanistically as "human resources".

We have applied our culture's two-sided view of health inappropriately to all sorts of decisions: about safety, about environments, and even about whether people have permission to take time off from work or school.

"[There may be] no measurable effect upon a healthy individual for a long time, but that in the end [small amounts of toxic substances] would produce no harmful effect is contrary to all the rules of physiology and logic."

Dr. Harvey Wiley
U.S. Government Chemist

Health is really a continuum; every day the air in your home and work environments, your food and water, your clothes and personal care products are affecting the level at which you can function. The level of environmental support that you provide yourself directly correlates to: 1) your critical thinking abilities, 2) your sense of physical comfort, 3) how well you sleep, 4) and your level of energy and stamina.

Recent studies have shown that a toxic environment diminishes your capacities without you even becoming aware of it. For example in reduced IQ, poorer short-term memory, diminished ability to pay attention, and reduced sperm count in men and reproductive capability in women. [Reference: Our Stolen Future]

The second concept embodied in Environmental Medicine is that all living organisms deal with toxic substances in basically the same way.

Regardless of tests performed on - relatively few of - the thousands of chemicals in our environment, once the chemicals enter our bodies, they all go through the same physiological pathway. Our body's detoxification pathway has only one name for all toxic chemicals: "Toxic".

It doesn't matter the thousand different labels and permutations put on by scientists, our body calls them all "Toxic" and in the interest of survival has a plan called "Excrete" which it tries to accomplish as fast as possible. Your body has limits to how many "Toxic" items it can deal with in any day and when it falls behind it has one response called "Illness".

This highlights a basic flaw in safety testing. Safety tests are performed in labs where animals are isolated from every other toxic substance except the single one being tested. This testing never takes into account thousands of other chemicals already burdening our body's detoxification pathway.

Environmental Medicine teaches that we should look first in the areas of air quality, food, water, and home environment to make changes when we become ill. Once we reduce the toxic load on our body, it can catch up with it's work and regain health.

There are four categories of environmental factors that contribute to the total load on your body.

(1) Chemical factors: Examples

(2) Physical Factors: Examples

(3) Biological Factors: Examples

(4) Psychological factors: Examples

A reduction of the load in any category allows your body to deal with a greater load in any of the other categories.

At any one time, your body is dealing with factors from each group and maintaining healthy well-being. Depending on your genetic make-up, nutritional status, and individual biological factors you can tolerate more or less of a total load. When the load becomes too great for your body to keep up with, you become ill.

An area of expertise where Environmental Medicine has especially contributed is to recognize that once the human body has a toxic overload and the immune system is compromised, multiple allergic responses can develop to the offending agents or toxins. These agents can be things like natural gas or ingredients found in perfume or cleaning products. Allergic responses are varied and can be hyperactivity, or frequent urination, fatigue, depression, or sleeplessness to name a few or any combination of these.

Dr. Doris Rapp: "You Can Find Answers on Your Own"

Conventional doctors err in prescribing drugs that mask these allergic responses. Deprived of uncomfortable warning signals, an individual makes no changes in their environment and toxic damage to the body continues including genetic damage that can be passed on to children.

Three principles cover up problem and are key for everyone to understand to be competent at taking care of themselves. Masking, adaption, and withdrawal are concepts everyone should be familiar with. [to be continued soon...]

Rainbow (19K)

All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature. ... But to a sound judgment, the most abstract truth is the most practical. Whenever a true theory appears, it will be its own evidence. Its test is, that it will explain all phenomena.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heidi and Peter

"The people themselves are more like the Egyptians. Plagues won’t convince them. A mother with all her own and her neighbors’ children sickening about her would walk miles in a burst shoe to fetch the doctor or a big bottle of medicine, but she won’t walk three yards farther than usual to draw her house-water from the well that the sewer doesn’t leak into. That is a fact, not a fable; and, in the cases I am thinking of, all medical remonstrance was vain. Uneducated people will take any thing in from the doctor through their mouths, but little or nothing through their ears."

Juliana Ewing
Jan of the Windmill

Blue House

Marc Chagall, The Blue House

The first thing to keep in mind is that conventional products for the home were manufactured with two goals in mind — functionality and economy...What they weren't considering seriously was the toxic effect of the choices they were making.

Jay Watts

The Center for Disease Control analysed data on the ten leading causes of death in the United States, and determined that lifestyle was by far the most important factor (51%), followed by environment (20%), biologic inheritance (19%), and lastly medical intervention (10%).
[CDC pdf file]

There are many conditions that can best be treated by standard medicine, including trauma, medical and surgical emergencies, bacterial infections, and certain mechanical difficulties. But there are many other conditions, including most forms of cancer, viral infections, allergic and auto-immune disorders, and most chronic degenerative diseases that are more effectively handled with alternative approaches."

John Robbins
Reclaiming Our Health