(February 2022) – Over the last 24 months much has been learned and extensive research has been done. Still, my article written in March 2020 holds true to a large extent especially considering the “big picture” and the importance of healthy living and building a strong and resilient immune system, and the need to understand how microbes play a vital part in our organism.
I believe a recent study (out of many) says it clearly: “A new study of thousands of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the New York City area, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has found that nearly all of them had at least one major chronic health condition, and almost — 88 percent — had at least two.” (23)
(March 10, 2020) – Don’t believe conspiracy theories or simple, fear-based explanations. Instead, understand why microbes & viruses play an essential part in our body’s self-healing mechanism and why it is very important to take any infection seriously.
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The coronavirus scare is another major reason why we need competent Lifestyle Medicine Health Coaches trained in the Art and Science of Self-Healing.
In this article we’ll explore:
- Corona Virus Sars-CoV-2 and COVID-19 symptoms and facts (stats and comparison to the seasonal flu/influenza)
- Organ-Mind-Brain Anatomy perspective
- Lifestyle Prescriptions® Self-Healing Protocols
- Strategies for a healthy immune system
I’d like to take you on a journey from fearing viruses to knowing their biological function and purpose from a Lifestyle Medicine and Self-Healing perspective, and invite you to start loving your viruses.
The Symptoms and Facts
Harvard Medical Schools reports that some people infected with the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms. When the virus does cause symptoms, common ones include low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. However, COVID-19 can occasionally cause more severe symptoms like high fever, severe cough and shortness of breath, and other symptoms including pneumonia. (13)
Let me first dive into the facts and establish a baseline by starting with the seasonal flu:
- The average seasonal flu kills between 291,000 to 646,000 people worldwide each year (1).
- The CDC confirmed that the seasonal flu has killed 20,000 people in the United States this year with 350,000 hospitalizations (5).
- Mortality rates for the seasonal flu are between 0.05% and 3.5% (with 0.03% for people 65 and younger and 3% for people over 75)
- The most common pathogens found with respiratory symptoms related to seasonal flu/influenza are
2. Influenza A viruses
3. Influenza B viruses
4. RS and coronaviruses
- A variety of coronaviruses are found in 7-15% of influenza clients (7)
- Flu and coronaviruses are changing every year (via antigenic drift and shifts) which means there are “novel-new” viruses all the time. (14)
Now, let’s look at COVID-19:
- Worldwide to date, 1,909,119 people have tested for the coronavirus and 118,924 have died (which is 5-10% of the number of people who die from the seasonal flu each year). (9)
- About 90% of the people tested with the coronavirus have mild flu-like symptoms (9)
- If we consider that the vast majority of people with flu-like symptoms very likely have the coronavirus but have never been tested (e.g. they don’t appear in these stats) then it’s clear that we will end up with stats comparable to the seasonal flu.
- Dr. Fauci states in his New England of Medicine article: “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968)” (16)
- The majority of people who die from the seasonal flu or the coronavirus have pre-existing conditions like respiratory or other chronic diseases.
- Only 20% of people on the Diamond Princess cruise (which was a closed natural environment that allows for accurate measures) contracted the virus and fully recovered. The fatality rate was a comparatively low 0.85%.
- Japan and South Korea are examples of governments making smart decisions that resulted in low infection and death rates (something I hope the majority of other nations will study and follow).
Let’s stop for a second and digest these numbers.
If we were to react rationally from a fact-based perspective then we should “fear” the seasonal flu as much as we do the corona virus.
These facts make it obvious that the coronavirus, like the seasonal flu, are “nasty bugs” and all precautions and all forms of disease management treatments especially for anyone with pre-existing conditions, chronic diseases (which is mostly people over 75) are absolutely needed, important and warranted. We do need highly effective emergency medicine!
And caring for elders, our families, and communities demand being conscious and taking preventive measure (see below). No question about that.
But I wonder if the results of the country lock-downs, shops, and businesses being closed for weeks and months won’t generate way more suffering and diseases compared to the coronavirus? We know that traumatic events, emotional and mental stress can cause many symptoms and chronic diseases. With a major recession looming, 1,000’s of businesses going bankrupt, millions of people being unemployed aren’t we creating more damage?
The Art and Science of Self-Healing Perspective
As you may know, Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coaching is based on Lifestyle Medicine and the Art and Science of Self-Healing helping health professionals to address the root-causes of symptoms and use lifestyle medicine-based protocols to improve health and quality of life.
From a self-healing viewpoint, we need to first look at Organ-Mind-Brain Anatomy and dive deeper into the biological function of viruses and how they affect organ tissues.
We have 3-10 times more microbial cells in our body then so-called human cells and there is a really good reason for that. We would not be able to exist without viruses and other microbes.
For decades we’ve been indoctrinated to perceive viruses as pathogens; something highly dangerous that needs to be destroyed because they invade human cells and cause disease.
To be clear, I feel it’s really important especially for holistic-integrative thinking practitioners to not deny the biological facts, for example, that the COVID-19 and other microbes are real can be found if mild or severe symptoms are present.
Biology can be measured and that’s a wonderful thing. We should be proud of how far along science has come and accept the facts science can undeniably prove.
What needs to change though is the “manage disease and treat the symptoms only mindset”.
Lifestyle Medicine research over the last decades has proven that our lifestyle, emotions, beliefs, and environment do play a major role in the onset and healing of a disease.
Are Viruses really causing the symptoms?
I’d like to argue that it’s not that far-fetched to understand microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.) playing an essential role in our body.
Yes, they are active whenever we notice major tissue reactions and symptoms; but are they the “cause” of the symptoms or are they key microbial players that are required as part of our natural self-healing and homeostasis mechanisms?
Let’s look at recent discoveries:
- Viruses interact with both human cells and other microbes and form a symbiotic relationship (13)
- Plant and insect viruses are known to confer key benefits to their hosts including protection from harsh weather conditions and pathogens (15)
- Virome is more than a collection of pathogens and includes viruses that function much like symbiotic bacteria having an advantageous impact on the human host (immuno-modulation) (15)
- Virome are the largest, the most diverse, and most dynamic part of the microbiome and the majority of them are in our gut (bacteriophages) (13)
- They are triggered to be active – for instance, in times of stress or if the host bacterium is in danger of causing a widespread change in the gut’s microbial community.
- Viruses evolve and change, rapidly adjusting to lifestyle, age, geographic location, and even the season of the year
- From an estimated 400 trillion viruses only a small number of viruses are known to be pathogenic (like Sars-CoV-2)
- Viruses are responsible for an impressive 30 percent or higher of all protein adaptations since the human divergence with chimpanzees.
Suddenly microbes and viruses don’t sound so horrible anymore, right?
Example: Respiratory Lung Tissue Viral Infection
If viruses and microbes are not the “bad” guys but actually play an important role in the regeneration process of tissue how would that work? What’s the process?
Coronaviruses are often found in lung tissue and cells as part of an inflammatory process. With pneumonia, the highly active inflammatory process often with edema and tissue changes can be seen on x-ray in one or both lungs. (10)(12)
Organ-Mind-Brain Anatomy tells us that every organ tissue in our body is “made” of a specific tissue. The lungs, as part of the respiratory system, are responsible for gas exchange and have developed into distinct tissue (based on embryology):
- Endoderm lining the respiratory diverticulum gives rise to the epithelium and glands of the trachea, bronchi, and alveoli as well as the epithelial lining of the larynx
- Splanchnic mesoderm gives rise to the connective tissue, cartilage, airway, and vascular smooth muscles of the lungs.
- Neural innervation and sensory tissue in the lungs (bronchial mucosa and others) are of ectodermal origin (11)
The 9 Points & Phases of Self-Healing
We know that every one of these organ tissues reacts with different symptoms during stress and regeneration according to the 9 points and phases of self-healing.
For now, we want to look specifically at the ectodermal “sensory-nerve” tissue in the lungs, how they react to stress, and in regeneration.
During the stress-sympathetic phase we’ll see the following symptoms (often not noticed by clients):
- Loss of function
- Painless ulceration (expansion and improved airflow)
- Hyper ventilation
Whenever a client and the specific organ tissue switches into the regeneration-repair-parasympathetic activity we see the following increase in symptoms:
- Hypersensitivity (throat irritations)
- Viral infections
- Coughing (which can continue for weeks or months)
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Pneumonia (high fever, inflammation with edema in lungs) (10)
I understand that it’s counterintuitive to realize that the majority of severe symptoms for the ectodermal tissue in the lungs are part of the regeneration phase, but its easily confirmed using our 10-Step Root-Cause Analysis Process which every one of our Lifestyle Prescription® Health Coach Specialists has learned and uses daily with clients.
Naturally, if this process is chronic then we see a client fluctuate and change between the stress-sympathetic and regeneration-parasympathetic phases and corresponding symptoms.
That’s where the danger really is.
With chronic processes our body (specifically the bronchial lung tissue) can never fully regenerate and over time will require emergency treatments and support.
The 6 Root-Causes of all Symptoms
Lifestyle Medicine understands that the majority of chronic symptoms can be stopped or reversed using comprehensive lifestyle modifications which typically include nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and social support.
At Lifestyle Prescriptions® University we teach an advanced and much more precise form of Lifestyle Medicine based on the Art and Science of Self-Healing and Organ-Mind-Brain Anatomy.
Basically, there are 6 Root-Causes that need to be addressed:
I believe by now it’s pretty obvious to most people and health professionals how important these 6 factors are for living a healthy, productive, and empowered life.
For the purpose of this article, I’d like to encourage everyone to become more aware of the emotional and mental stressors we experience in life and how they affect specific organ tissue symptoms.
What we’ve seen again and again with thousands of clients is that typical stressors and emotions affecting the lungs are
- Territorial fear (social stressors)
- Death-fright (survival)
- Suffocating & breathing conflicts are often related to grief, sadness, or other unresolved emotional hurts
Just ask yourself: What’s the biological purpose of the lung alveoli or bronchial mucosa or muscle? What is that organ tissue supposed to do?
These root-cause-based questions will reveal to you which stressors and conflicts cause it to go into stress (sympathetic) activity and it will reveal what needs to happen for it to regenerate (parasympathetic) and heal.
Get a complimentary consultation from a Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coach to have your questions answered.
The only way to achieve sustainable health is resolving the root-causes of symptoms and breaking the chronic cycle between stress and regeneration.
- Why is this important?
After becoming aware of the points & phases of self-healing and the 6 Root-Causes, our Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coach clients start to lose their fear about viruses and start to make more informed and smart decisions that are in alignment with their body’s natural self-healing mechanism.
They sense that viruses are part of a larger picture and most active (pathogenic from a traditional perspective) in the regeneration phase which in turn is absolutely essential and our body’s way to return to homeostasis.
As mentioned above it’s obvious to note that whenever someone is going through a long or intensive chronic lung process being exposed to any viruses will increase the already present symptoms and very likely will be life-threatening.
Treating and managing the symptoms will then be extremely important. Whenever symptoms are severe we can be glad to have emergency medicine available.
The Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coach Protocols
If you experience flu-like symptoms then the CDC and WHO suggest:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap (or sanitizer) for 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Talk to your health care provider and follow instructions
In addition, there are excellent anti-viral and immune-supporting remedies you can take to lower the intensity of symptoms and strengthen the immune system for a speedy recovery. If needed talk to a trusted health coach and provider for guidance and make sure to give yourself and your body time to regenerate.
Addressing the Root-Causes
Our Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coaches use 6 root-cause protocols to reverse any chronic dis-ease process:
- Manage stress better
Become aware of the specific emotional, mental, and social stressors affecting your organ tissue symptom. Start by noticing the conflicts you have experienced during a stress phase. (18) (19) (20)
- Stay emotionally healthy
Notice your unresolved emotional hurts and find ways to forgive and let them go. Add positive emotions and experiences to your life.
- Let go of limiting beliefs
Did you know that not believing or identifying with every thought you have is freeing you up? Be mindful, watch your limiting thoughts and change them into empowering beliefs.
- Increase vitality, life energy, and body strength
Eat better, exercise and love more. Breathe deeply and energize every single cell in your body. Notice and integrate new healthy habits into your life. One small habit at a time. (21) (22)
- Design your social environment
Pay attention to how your relationships, social interactions, and environment gives you strength (or drain your energy). Eliminate or change whatever is unhealthy. Improve your reality one step at a time. (17)
- Manage stress better
Doing nothing or waiting for things to get better is the opposite of what you should do.
Don’t hope. Act instead.
You’re not alone. Get help.
Talk to a root-cause trained health coach.
Quick Strategies for a Healthy Immune System
Remember you are in charge and in control of many aspects even while experiencing a stressful situation. Here’re 3 powerful ways to strengthen your immune system right now:
- Take high doses of Vitamin D and C and increase healthy foods like whole-food-based vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains.
- Remove stress in your life (one-by-one) especially let go of unresolved emotional stressors and limiting beliefs (limit social media and internet – and watch the video below).
- Be present. Make a conscious decision to not give in to the fear spread by media and others. Listen to Eckhart Tolle on how to transform fear:
Write Lifestyle Prescriptions®: Lifestyle Medicine Made Possible
And if you are a health professional, step up your ability to create radical transformations and health outcomes by studying the Art and Science of Self-Healing based on Organ-Mind-Brain Anatomy at Lifestyle Prescriptions® University.
Request instant access to our Lifestyle Prescriptions® 101 Video Course.
Johannes R. Fisslinger, Founder Lifestyle Prescriptions® University and author “The 6 Root-Causes of all Symptoms“.
PS: Honestly, start loving your microbes (and every aspect of who you really are …) and see what happens.
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Iuliano AD, Roguski KM, Chang HH, et al. Estimates of global seasonal influenza-associated respiratory mortality: a modelling study [published correction appears in Lancet. 2018 Jan 19;:]. Lancet. 2018;391(10127):1285–1300. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33293-2
(2) Faust J. COVID-19 Isn’t As Deadly As We Think. Slate. https://slate.com/technology/2020/03/coronavirus-mortality-rate-lower-than-we-think.html Accessed 3/6/20.
(3) Centers for Disease Control. The Flu Season. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm Accessed 3/8/20
(4) Chen Z, Peto R, Zhou M, et al. Contrasting male and female trends in tobacco-attributed mortality in China: evidence from successive nationwide prospective cohort studies. Lancet. 2015;386(10002):1447–1456. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00340-2
(5) Centers for Disease Control. Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm Accessed 3/8/20
(6) Dr. med.Wolfgang Wodarg, Pulmonologist, former member of parliament Germany, WHO scientific advisor for H1N1 (Schweinegrippe). professor and health scientist.
(7) Research project Scotland from 2005 to 2013
(9) https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ March 19, 2020
(15) Excellent research article about the positive effect and importance of viruses (virome) for health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4578625/
(16) Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D.
(17) Social Ties and Susceptibility to the Common Cold https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/417085
(18) Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., David A.J. Tyrrell, M.D., and Andrew P. Smith, Ph.D.
(19) Emotional Style and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Cohen, Sheldon PhD; Doyle, William J. PhD; Turner, Ronald B. MD; Alper, Cuneyt M. MD; Skoner, David P. MD. https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2003/07000/Emotional_Style_and_Susceptibility_to_the_Common.25.aspx
(20) Depressive affect and survival among gay and bisexual men infected with HIV. Mayne TJ1, Vittinghoff E, Chesney MA, Barrett DC, Coates TJ. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8885823
(21) Numerous studies about nutrition and the immune system. Dr. Dean Ornish and others. https://www.pcrm.org/news/exam-room-podcast/incredible-vegan-immune-system
(22) The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. David C. Niemana, Laurel M. Wentzb. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005