Unfortunately, the ability to diagnose and address complex issues is still limited. It is quite common for patients to have “all normal labs” while barely able to function. Clinicians and researchers are making great strides in improving diagnostic tests, but still we have a long way to go. And then there is the issue of treatment. Modern medicine has improved our quality of life in unspeakable ways, but the only way to tap into our greatest healing potential is to start looking at the body as a whole rather than a bunch of parts trying to work together.
French physicians Jean Claude Lapraz and Christian Durrafourd understood the delicate balance necessary for optimal function of cellular machinery when they founded an approach to medicine called Endobiogeny. This innovative approach gives a person insight into how all the systems are working together.
The basis of endobiogeny is heavily influenced by the work of Dr. Hans Selye, a pioneering endocrinologist from the early 1900s. Dr. Selye was one of the first researchers to document the physical effects of prolonged stress. His work established a method that not only helped explain the link between stress and illness but also helped elucidate a predictable pattern that would allow him to anticipate certain illnesses based on combinations of stressors and weaknesses in the body. Selye’s work is referred to as the theory of adaptation, and it established three main categories through which the body responds to stress.
- Alarm. Most people understand this phase as the “shock” or “fight or flight” stage of stress, although it doesn’t necessarily have to come on suddenly. In this stage a multitude of organ and chemical changes occur to make the eyes more focused, the lungs ready to expand, the heart ready to pump harder and faster, and the muscles more ready to spring into action. It’s a system that works great if you’ve gotta quickly flee from danger. The adrenal glands are the primary frontline responders in this phase as they release adrenaline and cortisol.
- Resistance. Unfortunately, because of the day in which we live, the alarm that revved us up in the first place isn’t a fleeting thing, and our bodies have to figure out how to stay in overdrive for prolonged periods of time. When this happens, different chemicals and different organs have to kick in to keep us alert and on our game. One way we describe this to patients is that internal triggers get “flipped” on, and once they do it is very difficult to get the body turned back “off.” At this point, even though changes to the hormonal and nervous systems are occurring, they are keeping the body balanced enough to keep going. This makes it easy for us to keep demanding more and more of ourselves until we crash, leading to phase 3 of the general adaptation syndrome. Signs of the resistance stage include
- Poor sleep
- Easy startling
- Poor handling of stressors that were previously not a problem
- Irritability and feeling on edge
- Exhaustion. This is the stage where the body is forcing you to slow down, telling you it can’t stay in overdrive any longer. One way to think of this stage is that the resources for compensating are tapped out. And this is where most people with chronic illnesses fall. They have been pushing hard through stress for many years until their body decided it just couldn’t do it any longer. Interestingly, some people can hit this point after only a few months of intense stress, but for most people it takes years…decades even… to get to this point. Common symptoms associated with the exhaustion stage are:
- Fatigue (the MOST common!!! When our patients tell us they are fatigued we take them seriously.)
- Lack of drive or motivation
- Hair loss
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chronic pain
- Poor concentration and memory loss
- Lack of tolerance for physical activity
- Intolerance to light, noise, or stimulation
- Degenerative disorders
One thing to note is that although the majority of chronic stressors are emotional (relationships, money, work, etc), physical stressors can contribute just as heavily. In our experience, it is usually emotional turmoil (divorce, death, finances) that lays the foundation of imbalance over a period of many years, and then some sort of physical trauma (even as small as stubbing a toe or twisting an ankle) that triggers the maelstrom that manifests as autoimmunity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, neurological problems, or a multitude of other diseases.
Drs. Lapraz and Durrafourd built upon the work of Selye and created a way of determining which specific organs and systems were contributing most heavily to specific diseases. Their approach allows us a better glimpse into how the cellular machinery is being influenced by the multitude of hormones and chemicals. Their work has been foundational in exploring and explaining the often-overlooked concept of terrain.
Terrain refers to an individual’s baseline cellular environment. It is influenced by genetics, diet, prenatal course, location, family, friends, occupation, and personality. The many different factors influencing a person’s terrain can account for the wide variability seen with different diseases. For example, twins separated at birth can have very similar genetics but very different health based on the terrain because of differences in climate, upbringing, diet, and stress levels. Another example has been illustrated with Covid. Within a single family under one roof one person could be infected with no symptoms, another person could be totally unaffected, and another person could get sick to the point of death. The differences in response and outcomes can be explained by the difference in individual terrains.
Endobiogeny looks at the endocrine system as the true manager of the body. The endocrine system is the hormonal system, and it includes
- Adrenal glands which secrete cortisol, DHEA (precursor to testosterone and estrogen), and aldosterone. These manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, sex and fertility hormones, and metabolism. They also play a role in your general immune function, sleep quality, and general resilience to emotional and physical stress.
- Thyroid gland which secretes T3 (triiodothyroinin) and T4 (thyroxine)
- Ovaries and testes which secrete estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
- Hormones related to growth and metabolism such as somatostatin, growth hormone,
- Antidiuretic hormone which impacts your fluid management.
- Melatonin which impacts sleep and growth.
The endocrine system directs the function of every cell in the body, and it responds to signals from the nervous system in directing growth, function, metabolism, and structure.
When chronic illnesses occur, they seldom come down to just one system or hormone being weakened or imbalanced. Endobiogeny is designed to help elucidate the patterns of imbalance in the multiple systems that when simultaneously brought back into harmony can restore energy, vitality, and sense of well being.
Endobiogeny is particularly useful in addressing issues that have not responded well to prescription drugs or traditional medical approaches.Additionally, it is helpful in cases where a definitive diagnosis is difficult to reach.
Examples of health issues that are particularly useful to address with endobiogeny include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic infections
- Hormone imbalances
- Chronic muscle pain
- Chronic joint pain
Another benefit to an endobiogenic analysis is in PREVENTION. Through assessment of an individual’s terrain it can help a person know of his or her propensity toward certain illnesses, particularly those of a degenerative nature.
A thorough endobiogenic evaluation involves three steps:
- A history and physical examination. In this we look for several small but unique signs of the functionality of different organs.
- A “Biology of Functions” test, also known as the endobiogeny blood test. This is an analysis developed by Drs. Lapraz and Durrafourd and European mathematicians that gives us insight into how all the systems are working together. It helps us to see which systems are depleted and which ones are trying to compensate.
- A “Biology of Functions” test requires several commonly-known blood panels (i.e. cbc, cmp, tsh) as well as a few more obscure ones (i.e. alk phos isoenzymes, osteocalcin). Often the bloodwork itself shows no major abnormality, but when the numbers are entered into the proprietary software it gives us our analysis that gives us significant insight into the systems that need to be addressed and the direction we need to go to achieve greater balance.
For a list of labs needed for a Biology of Functions analysis click here.
An endobiogenic treatment plan.
Our customized treatment protocols rely heavily on the healing power of plants to help bring a person back into balance through a combination of herbs that are gentle, safe, and effective. Each person who undergoes an evaluation receives a customized treatment plan tailored specifically to his or her needs. Almost always our treatment plans can be used concomitantly with prescriptions. This allows a person to continue what they have been doing while building a stronger foundation of wellness that will eventually help them become less dependent on medications .Each personalized tincture blend is made in our in-house apothecary and utilizes a combination of tinctures, glycerin macerats, and essential oils. Only the finest quality herbal preparations are used.
“I got sick with covid about a year ago and have been plagued by fatigue, back pain, brain fog, weight gain, heart flutters, and eye pain ever since. I did an endobiogeny test with Dr. Wheeler, and she explained thoroughly how my inflammation and poor energy production were causing my symptoms. She also helped me understand the simple lifestyle changes that could help reverse these issues. Within a week of starting my customized treatment plan I noticed a difference! I have been doing it for about two months, and I have lost 20 pounds, my back doesn’t hurt, my heart doesn’t flutter, my eyes don’t burn, and I am back to the gym. Best of all, I have more energy to play with my kids and get back to the things I love.” – LL, Idaho Falls
If you are interested in an endobiogenic evaluation, contact our office by calling (208) 557-0200, texting (208) 214-8413 (please note that the texting number does not receive phone calls). Here’s to your health!