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Understanding Viruses

by Dr. Karen Clickner, ND


Right now, in every single person, there are multiple viruses… Why, you may ask, since I’ve never had a virus and never get sick. Whether or not you have experienced symptoms at the hands of a virus, if you have been exposed to a virus and it has entered your system, it will never leave you. It will simply go into dormancy. Whether it will stay dormant depends on you. The more you challenge and burden your immune system, the more chance you have to develop an active infection from dormancy. In this way viruses are very different from bacteria. Viral infections are intracellular (inside of cells) because they need the mechanisms of your cells in order to expand and replicate, creating illness. Bacterial infections on the other hand, don’t need to disrupt cells in order to reproduce and cause illness. Latent viruses can be at very low numbers so that they can evade your immune system and not be detectable in testing. Some of the most common latent viruses are Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex and Herpes Zoster. These are the very contributors to the development of autoimmune disorders. They have been found in people with unresolving autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Consider Conventional Treatment -
Common conventional treatment may shorten the course of the acute disease, but it won’t do anything to address the toxins created within the cells from the virus or to prevent recurrence. These very unresolved elements are what create long-term symptoms, chronic recurring illness. Actually it is your immune system that has the tools and capacity to resolve all aspects of a viral infection as long as your immune system is supported and not suppressed. Most conventional immune treatments suppress your own immune system as a matter of course. We are conditioned to believe that we have to stop a fever, eliminate pain, stop diarrhea and boost our energy so we can get back to our lives as quickly as possible.

Antibiotics may make you feel better with a virus, but what it actually is doing is simply eliminating the opportunistic bacteria that will thrive during your immune system battle, while at the same time perpetuating the weakened state of the immune system and destroying the balance of the gut microbiome. Looking at illness in this way, you realize that the symptoms are actually the normal effects of your immune system working to restore balance and resolve illness. By using medications to suppress symptoms, you are actually weakening your immune system response by taking away some of its weaponry to defend you. This will actually make the illness last longer and create more destruction in the system.

Let’s use fevering as an example. Fever is a stimulant to the immune system and activates many of your defense systems. Modulating your fever is much better than suppressing it, so lowering fever to a more manageable level allows the immune system to continue with its job.


The Phases of Viral Infection
Every virus goes through phases of infection. Understanding these phases helps to illuminate when and what are the best options for treatment.
Excretory Phase
- The first phase is when the virus first enters the body, when it will encounter your excretory defenses such as mucous, saliva, gut flora and vaginal secretions. An increase in any of these can indicate exposure such as stepping off a plane with a stuffy nose. So what do you typically do for a stuffy nose? You take an antihistamine.
Inflammation Phase - Once you’ve taken an antihistamine, the virus now can easily pass your initial defenses. The next line of defense that your body will mount is inflammation which allows the immune system to isolate and react to the virus. You may notice that you have eczema or hives, maybe soreness in the knee or a headache. What is your typical response? To take something to reduce inflammation and pain. And now you’ve eliminated the isolation factor and so the virus is free to deposit itself in the matrix, the liquid that surrounds the cells.
Deposition Phase - Once the virus is in the matrix, it still is not infective. If you are physically active or you get Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy which mobilizes the body’s matrix fluid, the virus may be washed out of the matrix and you will get a second chance to address it. Now Its presence in the major fluid pathways will trigger inflammation again. As long as you don’t interfere with this second round of inflammatory reaction, the virus may be able to be completely removed because it hasn’t been able to invade the cellular body. This is why you may experience symptoms of illness after a Decongestive Lymph Therapy session, because it has mobilized pathogens out of the matrix and lymph and into the main fluid pathways where the immune system can see it.
Impregnation Phase - But the longer the virus remains in the fluid matrix between cells the more opportunity it will have to work through the cell membrane and invade the cell body. The symptoms of this will depend on which cells the virus is attacking. This is when change begins and we’re not talking about healthy change. You may notice new and unusual symptoms, the start of a chronic problem, recurring infections or illness, unremitting inflammation. The type of symptoms you develop tells you which systems and cells are being invaded and where you need to focus your attention.
Degeneration Phase - Once a virus has invaded cells and replicated, the cells will not be the same, will not reproduce in healthy ways and you will get a loss of cellular identity. If this is not recognized and addressed, opportunistic illness and infection will occur as healthy cells are compromised. These are other types of illnesses that take advantage of the loss of cellular integrity and identity, taking up space and access to nutrition and oxygen left behind from the death of cells. Often this process changes the pH, the mineral load, the oxygen availability and the waterproof nature of tissues. This is a phase that will reach a point where recovery is very limited.
Dedifferentiation Phase - So if you have ignored all the warning signs, now there will be no doubt as to what systems are impaired and suffering because of the loss of groups of essential cells and their function. You will have noticed that an area or tissue that had been a chronic or recurring problem now looks or acts differently. This is the dedifferentiation phase where the body’s essential and normal function no longer occurs. The more cells that are lost, the more symptoms emerge. This is the phase in which cancers develop.

In holistic medicine, we understand that the symptoms on the road from Excretory to Dedifferentiation are not just signs of imbalance, they are also predictors of illness. By paying attention to these, we can help a patient identify where they are in this process, which systems are compromised and what can be done naturally to pull this process back. This takes time just as it took time to reach this point, but this is the best way to get your health back.

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