Dr. Juliet Ghodsian, ND shares these 5 steps to keep your terrain clean and functional this winter. The end result is a happier and healthier you.

A French physiologist, Claude Bernard, once said “The Terrain is everything, the germ is nothing.”

An interesting thought, but what does that mean?

It means that simple exposure to a bacteria or virus does not mean you will get sick.

But isn’t that contrary to most of our beliefs about hygiene and health?

…Wash your hands! Don’t put your fingers in your mouth. Flu season is coming!

Let’s take a step back and explain the most important words in the quote:


The Terrain refers to the internal environment in your body: mucous membranes, digestion, detoxification and elimination organs, immune system cells, and energy production cells.


These can be bacteria, fungi or viruses.

We are covered with germs inside and out all the time! Why do some bugs make us sick, but not others? Why did you get sick but not your neighbour?

The answer is simple. The health of the Terrain of your body determines how responsive your immune system will be to infection, and how effective it is at beating it. Boosting your immune health to keep the bugs at bay this winter involves more steps than just “Take some extra vitamin C!”

Here are the top 5 things you can do to clean up your Terrain and super-charge your immune cells for the fall and winter season:

  1. Secure the Borders: Protect your Skin!  Keep hydrated and eat plenty of healthy omega 3 oils to preserve the integrity of your skin, mucous membranes, and the internal skin that lines the entire digestive tract. This is your # 1 defence against invaders.
  1. Take out the garbage: Detox and Eliminate.  The chemical exposures that your body has to process from air, food and water contamination are a real concern. They often surpass the liver’s ability to metabolize, and we end up with deficiencies and backlog of toxins. These toxins cause disruptions in energy, hormone and immune cell production leaving you more susceptible to infection. Visit your naturopathic doctor to discuss the most effective ways to keep your system clean this season.
  1. Stock the arsenal: Keep you diet clean and green.  Be sure to provide your body with plenty of clean, organic produce to make sure you have enough antioxidants and minerals available for immune cell use. Green smoothies and kale chips are great ways to get kids eating superfoods. Come in for an IV vitamin infusion of vitamin C and B complex to start you off on the right foot.
  1. Prepare for Battle: Stay Calm!  Studies have shown that stress causes increases in the hormone cortisol which in turn depress your immune response. Take a deep breath and book in for Bowen therapy or Craniosacral Therapy to balance your nerves and get your cortisol levels under control.
  1. Send in the troops: Immune support.  Naturopathic medicine has a treasure trove of herbal, homeopathic and nutritional substances that will prime your immune cells and prepare them to respond quickly and effectively to any invaders. Talk to your ND today and find the best remedies to fit your constitution and lifestyle.

This article by Dr. Juliet Ghodsian, a licensed naturopathic doctor at Sage Clinic in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood. www.drghodsian.com