"The Germ Is Nothing; The Terrain Is Everything"

What is terrain theory?

Type that into Google and see what you get.


"Germ theory denialism."

"Roundly disproven."

One would (almost) be forgiven for dismissing it out of hand following such "research."

Here is an admittedly oversimplified explanation that may resonate with the reader: Terrain Theory argues that healthier people get sick less often than unhealthy people.

So how does one define “healthier?”

This is a principle question that is at the heart of this organization, and as we will discover, the two theories have very different answers.

To better understand terrain theory, perhaps it is helpful to examine its opposite, or what is often framed as its opposite: germ theory.

Germ Theory, Terrain Theory, and the Clash of Two Rivals

You're familiar with germ theory, naturally. "Disease is caused by our exposure to certain microorganisms."

Germs, bacteria, viruses.

It was the French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822 -1895) who popularized germ theory in the 1800s, which paved the way for antibiotics, vaccines, and the like.

Pasteur is most famous for originating the process of pasteurization, but he also developed vaccines for anthrax and rabies. 

He also lied in his published paper about the nature of the vaccine used in his anthrax experiments, stole from his competitors, and committed other acts of scientific misconduct that by today's standards would have him summarily labeled a fraud.

Nonetheless, it is Pasteur's germ theory which underpins much of modern medicine and serves as the principle paradigm governing health policy, allopathic care, and the daily habits of billions of people across the planet.

Claude Bernard

Curiously, Pasteur is also reported to have recanted germ theory on his deathbed, uttering these ominous words: "Bernard was right: the pathogen is nothing, the terrain is everything."

The "Bernard" Pasteur invoked was Claude Bernard (1813 - 1878), a French physiologist who is known for his discoveries regarding the role of the pancreas in digestion, glycogen and the liver, and how the vasomotor nerves regulate blood supply.

Bernard's most famous contributions to science were his theories around the internal environment of an organism, the milieu intérieur (or terrain) which later became know as homeostasis. 

Antoine Bechamp

Piggybacking on Bernard’s work was a man named Antoine Bechamp (1816 - 1908), a contemporary – and a rival – to Pasteur. Bechamp and Pasteur clashed on numerous occasions over their research into fermentation and the silk worm epidemic of 1855 and 1856. Indeed, it was Bechamp’s work that Pasteur plagiarized on more than one occasion, a transgression apparently overlooked at the time but that came to the attention of on Dr. M. L. Leverson, M.D, Ph.D, M.A, an American physician who discovered Bechamp’s work and realized they predated Pasteur on a number of occasions. In a lecture delivered at the Claridges Hotel in London in 1911, he relayed:

"Pasteur's plagiarisms of the discoveries of Bechamp, and of Bechamp's collaborators, run through the whole of Pasteur's life and work, except as to crystallography, which may or may not have been his own. I have not investigated that part of his career, nor do I feel any interest in it. The tracings of some of these plagiarisms, though they can be clearly demonstrated, are yet somewhat intricate, too much so for this paper; but there is one involving the claim by Pasteur to have discovered the cause of one of the diseased conditions which assail the silk worm, which can be verified by any one able to read the French language.”

Although today Bechamp is far less known than Pasteur, the staggering depth and breadth of his discoveries in the field of bacteriology was such that, after his death, it required eight pages of a scientific journal to list them all. It was Bechamp who accurately described the fermentation process: digestion by microscopic beings. Bechamp was the first to suggest that blood was not a liquid but a flowing tissue and he also developed a cheaper process for the production of aniline, which became the foundation of the dye industry.

It was Bechamp who discovered “mycrozyma”, which we now call micro-organisms. He asserted that “germs” were the result, and not the cause, of disease. Through experimentation he demonstrated that the essential characteristics of cells and germs are determined by the “soil” in which their microzyma feed, grow, and multiply.

He considered these microzyma to be an independently living element found in all living organisms, preceding life at the cellular and even genetic level, acting as the foundation of all biological organization.

Bechamp’s theory went on to claim that these microorganism have various life cycles or stages of development and can become the form referred to as bacteria, but then revert back or devolve into the microzyma state – a principle at the heart of “pleomorphism,” which was later expounder upon by the German zoologist and bacteriologis Dr. Gunther Enderlain. Bechamp stated:

“The microzyma is at the beginning and end of all organization. It is the fundamental anatomical element whereby the cellules, the tissues, the organs, the whole of an organism are constituted.” This idea that viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi and mold are evolutions from microzyma capable of rapid evolution and devolution based on the conditions of the biological terrain, lay at the very heart of terrain theory – In balanced, healthy conditions, the microzyma act harmoniously and beneficial, normal fermentation occurs. In conditions of dis-ease or imbalance, the microzyma become “morbidly evolved” into bacteria, yeast, molds and fungi whose feeding on vital body substances result in disease symptoms.

It must be noted that another gentleman, Rudolf Virchow, father of the germ theory, stated in his later years, “If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat–diseased tissues–rather than causing disease.”

In summation: a compromised terrain presents the conditions for disease which manifest internally, not as the result of necessary exposure to an external pathogen or “germ.”

Who Owns Health?

Terrain theory and the principles of pleomorphism put responsibility for health and disease prevention more squarely in the hands of the individual. This is agency. This is empowerment.

It is also responsibility. Which may be why some are quick to reject it.

For what causes a compromised terrain?

Poor diet. Sedentary lifestyle. Lack of sun. Exposure to toxins. Negative thought patterns (much more on this later.)

Much of this WE can control.

We have only to look at the COVID-related deaths in the United States to see the clearest evidence of the basic tenets terrain theory. An analysis of COVID-19 mortality data revealed that 92.8% of deaths associated with pre-existing comorbidity (ie, compromised terrain).

A CDC study found that 79.1% of COVID patients hospitalized between March-December 2020 were either overweight or obese.

The Germ Theory of Disease makes helpless victims of us all. It is also a trillion-dollar industry that relies on our fear of the invisible to keep us hooked on antimicrobial products, pills, injections and the like as the only means to prevent illness and disease.

Agency vs. helplessness.

Empowerment vs. fear.

Which do you choose?


This article is far from an exhaustive look at the origins of germ theory and terrain theory, pleomorphism, Bernard, Bechamp and the many precedents and antecedents to these men and their discoveries. Nor does it claim terrain theory or pleomorphism has been proven beyond any doubt. Far from it. Terrain theory provides a compelling alternative to a prevailing paradigm that, considering the rapid decline in overall health across all age groups, does not appear to be working.

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