The terrain is made up of our individual’s personal health history, nutrition, toxicity levels, vaccination history, antibiotic use and the past or current drug treatment.

The terrain is our personal history.

It is important to understand the terrain as a concept. It is used to address illness by naturopathic doctors and practitioners and looks at the individual as a whole, unique entity.

The Terrain

Before Louis Pasteur’s experiments with bacteria in the 19th Century, the nature of microorganisms’ relationship to disease was not understood.

In and around this era, microbes, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi became the central tenet in the causative nature of illness, creating the “germ-theory of disease”.


Since that time, the cause of nearly every health problem has been either temporarily or permanently attributed to some form of irrepressible, virulent pathogen and remains the central notion in many disease processes today.

Predictably, the awareness that there were tiny, living organisms involved in the process of infectious disease caused a significant shift in the priorities of cleanliness and sanitation that led to great progress for our urban environments and communicable diseases.

With this hygienic awakening, however, the other (and no less important) half of the equation has been forgotten: the terrain.

The terrain is that environment in which a bacterium, or microbe, lives. The terrain is the soil for the germ, and hence the true ground for the disease.

Without paying attention to terrain, we may never overcome the chronic infections and antibiotic-resistant microbes the world now faces.

So how do we act upon the terrain to improve a person’s health?

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