by Charlie Smith
Dr. Thomas Rau’s biological-medicine approach builds up the body’s strength.
Swiss physician and alternative-medicine guru Thomas Rau isn’t afraid to utter the unspeakable.
“The main message is chronic diseases are curable,” the medical director of the Paracelsus Clinic says on the line from his office just outside of Zurich.
Rau, author of The Swiss Secret to Optimal Health: Dr. Rau’s Diet for Whole Body Healing, maintains that several chronic diseases—including multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s disease — can be successfully treated by strengthening intestinal membranes and microorganisms in the gut. He even claims to have had success treating cancer patients in this way.
“We should be proseptic, not antiseptic,” he says.
At the Paracelsus Clinic, which employs 92 staff and treats 300 patients per day, staff conduct comprehensive stool analyses, examine fatty-acid profiles, and conduct environmental-toxin tests on patients. According to Rau, the goal is to determine the degree to which the patient’s body has degenerated.
Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century French chemist, is credited with discovering how bacteria cause disease by invading the body. Antibiotics work on the premise that by killing bacteria, the patient will be cured.
Rau turns that notion on its head by maintaining that a deteriorating human body provides fertile opportunities for outside pathogens to flourish. But if the body is sufficiently upgraded—and, according to him, 80 percent of the immune system’s T cells are in the gut—then these outside agents will not pack nearly as much punch. So he practises “biological medicine” by focusing attention on building up the body’s defences.
“We work for the body rather than against the bacteria,” Rau says.
He mentions that testing has demonstrated that a large number of Swiss residents of the Rhine Valley carry the spirochete bacteria that cause Lyme disease in their bodies, but show no symptoms. “They were all positive for Lyme, but they were as healthy as can be,” he says.
Rau also claims that neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, are linked to an imbalance between the body’s deterioration and its capacity to rebuild itself. “ALS is, of course, not my favourite [disease to treat] because there is not a real cure,” he concedes.
The physician and author is also a staunch critic of antibiotics because he feels that these drugs destroy the intestinal microbes. He rejects the use of anti-inflammatory medications, and says the worst are probably the anticholesterol remedies.
“We always have to integrate the intestines in all the healing processes because when the intestines are good, the upbuilding forces get better,” he says.
Last month, the Straight highlighted the research of UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay, who pointed out that a person carries 10 times as many microbial cells as human cells. At the time, Finlay cautioned that researchers have not determined which microbes increase or alleviate the risk of developing autoimmune disorders. Researchers in his lab have demonstrated that transferring fecal material from healthy mice to rodents with asthma or infectious diarrhea has had an impact on these conditions.
Earlier this month, Baylor University College of Medicine assistant professor of molecular virology and microbiology Joseph Petrosino told the Straight that researchers there are investigating whether there’s a viral trigger, such as an enterovirus, for Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease.
In North America, it appears that there’s a growing interest in studying the role that intestinal microbes play in disease, but most mainstream medical practitioners are not linking these bugs in the gut to chronic conditions. And that means a significant number of people are still willing to travel across an ocean for treatment at the Paracelsus Clinic.
“About half our business is created by non-European patients,” Rau says.
The public lecture event was a huge success. It was also recorded and will soon be posted on this website. Check our Biomedicine homepage.