Vital Resistance, Hypersensitivity and the Essential Nature of Disease

In trophic reflexes the trophic nerve fibres those which control cellular nutrition carry abnormal nervous impulses which disturb the normal function of the cells of a part, lower their vitality and render them hypersensitive to noxious influences. Reflexes are the end-result of nervous impulses which arise from pathology in some distant part. Reflexes account for the constancy of local symptoms in many cases.

We all recognize the difference between a living and a dead body. We know the first is filled with vital resistance or vitality, while the second has none. Vital resistance or vital force, then, is that inherent yet indefinable life principle in all organism which differentiates, in different degrees, a living from a dead body. When the individual possesses full power to resist the ordinary insults arising in his environment, he may be said to have an average normal resistance. When an individual is in a state of reduced general vital resistance, it follows that he is in a state of general hypersensitivity, that is, more susceptible to ordinary insults than the average normal individual.

When he has the power to resist specific insults, such as certain micro-organisms, he may be said to have a specific vital resistance, even to immunity. When his specific vital resistance is reduce he is in a state of specific Hypersensitivity to noxious agents or influences. An example of specific hypersensitivity is a person who has inherited a tendency to tuberculosis and is, therefore, hypersensitive to the toxins of the tubercle bacillus.

The peak of vital force or vital resistance requires a resilient and finely adjusted mechanism designed and organized to maintain the defence of the organism against the army of invaders mobilized and ever ready to attack and break through the individuals weakened lines of defence. Some of these enemies are within, some without the body.

The first and most important requisite for vital resistance, either general or specific, is a strong hereditary defence against disease and old age. While heredity must be considered in the treatment of chronic illness, it is a factor over which the physician has no control. The results of inherited hypersensitivity may be combated on a symptomatic basis, best done with the properly selected homoeopathic remedy, one that arouses the reserve vital resistance and as far as possible desensitizes the individual.

The next requisite is proper environment. This includes living quarters, diet, occupation and other factors that enter into living a normal, satisfactory life. The mental and physical life of an individual determines to a large extent state of his vitality and health. The factor environment is somewhat more under the control of the physician and often may be corrected by frank discussion of its harmful influence on the health and life of the patient. Dietary deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, and hormone imbalance are recognized as important factors in lowering vital resistance and in creating hypersensitivity to noxious agents.

Broadly speaking, infection with micro-organisms is not a primary process but one secondary to reduced general or specific resistance of structure in which bacteria find nutriment and other conditions suitable for their growth.

However, specific hypersensitivity may occur as a result of contact with bacteria of extreme virulence, virulence having the power to break through the individuals normal average defence resistance, as in syphilis, and in cholera or yellow-fever epidemics, diseases in which the causative bacteria have repeatedly passed through many human culture media, going from person to person, acquiring added virulence with each inoculation.

In some cases the individual has not sufficient reserve vital force to successfully combat the invader, even with the aid of remedies to arouse it, and the patient dies.

Modern medicine almost universally accepts the dogma that most diseases are the direct result of bacteria. While this is true regarding some diseases due to bacteria of more than ordinary virulence, yet it is clear to homoeopathists that seed must be sown upon fertile soil to grow, that most cases of infection must be preceded by a lowered state of resistance, that a primary cause provides suitable conditions for the infection which is a secondary result of this cause. Were this not true, everyone coming in contact with pathogenic bacteria would develop an infectious process. Hahnemann calls this state “conditional.”.

Many hold that the causative factor in all chronic functional diseases is an active or latent focus of infection, the toxins from which produce all general and local symptoms. Nothing is farther from the truth. The writer can agree with this view regarding certain cases in which heredity or improper environment may reduce general vital resistance and result in general hypersensitivity.

But specific, structural hypersensitivity, manifest by symptoms at a local site, is logically due to some directional force, some force that directs the influence of the abnormal noxious agent to a local site, renders it hypersensitive and excites local reaction and local symptoms. I am aware that the toxins of streptococcus are said to have a special affinity for joint structures, but there must be some force that first weakens the structure and that precedes and directs, the attack of toxins on a left and not a right knee joint, for example, since toxins have access to all joints through the blood stream.

Experiences has taught me that this directional force arises from morbid anatomy in most cases, a lesion which acts as a stimulus to the vegetative nervous and creates hypersensitivity through these nerves supplying a local site of symptoms, in compliance with certain physiologic principles, rules and laws. It has also taught me that the majority of chronic functional cases are sensory, motor, secretory, sensory-trophic or trophic reflexes.

In trophic reflexes the trophic nerve fibres those which control cellular nutrition carry abnormal nervous impulses which disturb the normal function of the cells of a part, lower their vitality and render them hypersensitive to noxious influences. Reflexes are the end-result of nervous impulses which arise from pathology in some distant part. Reflexes account for the constancy of local symptoms in many cases.

We should keep in mind that reflexes play a most important role in chronic functional disturbances; that all cases of chronic illness are not caused by toxins; that an active or latent focus of infection occurs in a site previously prepared for it by abnormal trophic nervous impulses flowing to the part and disturbing cellular nutrition.

In other words, we should first remember that all tissues and organs are supplied by the involuntary vegetative nervous system, that the nervous control of all functions comes from this system and that reflex disturbances of function occur through the vegetative nerves as a result of a pathologic stimulus. Dr. F.M. Pottenger, in “Symptoms of Visceral Diseases,” describes tuberculous laryngitis as a trophic reflex the stimulus of which is a tuberculous process of the lung of the same side.

The larynx is hypersensitized to the toxins of the tubercle bacillus by trophic nerve impulses coursing to the part through the fibres of the parasympathetic nerves and lowering the resistance of the tissues. I might cite a case of inflammation of the left antrum of Highmore with intense pain, pus and blood discharge for three months. I injected a small, irritable left anterior pile, one in the corresponding vertical zone. Pain ceased before she left the table. Later reports said she had no more pain, pus or blood after that one treatment.

I simply destroyed the characteristic lesion that was sending sensory-tropic impulses up to the antrum and normal cellular nutrition was soon re-established. Having been treated on a toxic basis, the underlying trophic factor had been entirely ignored and that was the factor that made it possible for the pus germs to thrive.

The primary cause of general and specific hypersensitivity in many cases of chronic functional disturbance with lowered vital resistance is anal pathology. The anal region is almost exclusively supplied by the same nerves, the vegetative system, that supplies the rest of the body. Because of certain physiologic principles, rules and laws, anal lesions may exercise an influence over every tissue and organ in the body by creating excess nervous impulses which course over the vegetative nerves to the various parts.

An excess of nervous impulses in one or the other division of the vegetative system disturbs function. Disturbed function when long continued reduces vital resistance and results in hypersensitivity. The symptoms produced may be partly due to toxins superimposed on an anal reflex or they may be pure anal reflexes without any toxic factor. In the vast majority of cases the removal of anal stimuli results in restored normal resistance, restored normal sensitivity and freedom from symptoms. But this is another, a longer story.

Having in mind this view of vital resistance, vitality or vital force, as a background, let us inquire into the essential nature of disease.

But first, let us examine Hahnemanns proposition that “diseases are dynamic aberrations of our spiritlike life, manifested by sensations and actions.” Patently, he means that disease is a disturbance of vital force, that indefinable principle of life and defence of the living organism. He says this disturbance is manifested by symptoms but does not elucidate the fundamental nature of the disturbance, the “morbid affection.”.

Eugene Carmichael