Hygiene hypothesis in a Nutshell
Our immune systems are top-echelon Samarui, exquisitely trained to defend us from danger at all costs. As we have transformed our society & dissociated ourselves from the elements of nature, we have subsequently doomed ourselves to autoimmunity. Our little warriors have now turned on us since we have neglected & banished them.
Have you ever watched a dog roll around in the dirt or grass? How about pigs wallowing in a mud bath? We can make some educated guesses on why animals partake in such activities such as temperature control, sun protection, pest removal, and pure enjoyment; but what about immune system learning, microbial diversity, and a better connection with their environment. This line of thinking is congruent with the Hygiene Hypothesis which posits that our bodies need to be introduced to a multitude of microbes and other environmental insults in order to have a fully functioning immune system. Not to mention, all of the other so-called systems in the human body. We do not fully grasp the immense capability of our immune system. The question that comes up is, have we become too safe, too clean, & too nurtured that our bodies now attack themselves like a caged dog that has been released. It is going to destroy whatever is in its path.
I often question the daily routines that I am accustomed to, since what we believe to be essential hygienic practices may actually be clear signs of the pendulum swinging too far in the opposite direction. We often overcorrect when we realize that an issue needs immediate remediation. When microscopic pathogens were deemed public enemy number one, we used a scorched earth approach through eradication of all microbes. Now, we know that we live in a symbiotic relationship with many of these microbes which is why probiotics are added to everything these days. Nature is all about balance. We just have to center ourselves and reharmonize with the natural energies around us.
I am not advocating that people live in filth. Many of the diseases that decimated populations during the early Industrial Revolution were due in large part to horrid living conditions. I just think that people need to evaluate whether they have strayed too far to either side of the spectrum. When is the last time you were digging with your hands into dirt or soil? Is using soap to bathe everyday excessive? Especially if you just spent most of your day in a controlled environment, do you need to scrub every inch of your body? Are we allowing our bodies enough time to produce their own defenses in the form of oils before wiping the slate clean? Yes, science can help us to decipher some of these questions, but we simultaneously need to use our intuition on these matters. We can learn a lot from our distant ancestors and indigenous tribes that enjoyed vibrant lives without our modern diseases, albeit somewhat shorter in duration.
Take your shoes off from time to time and feel the ground beneath you. Relish in the sensory experience and the energizing effect from Mother Earth. Start a small garden. Do not always use gloves when you tend to that garden. Allow your hands to get dirty with soil, compost, and a true microscopic ecosystem. Go to the beach more often. Explore mud baths that were once utilized by the masses for revitalization. If you are showering twice a day, try cutting that down to once a day. Let your dog lick you more often. Maybe a sweaty hug with your workout partner. At the very least, start questioning some of the daily routines that you undertake without a second thought because they are just things that everyone does. Remember, just because something is common, does not mean it is normal.
If you would like assistance on your health journey and are fed up with the conventional medical model, then contact our office at (727) 789-4020 and Janine will get you all set up for your initial consultation. I look forward to meeting you and helping you to be your best self.