Bioregulatory medicine is wholistic (with emphasis on the “whole”), in that it views the body as a living system – and a matrix of interconnectedness – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When the human body is functioning properly, it is a magnificent, self-regulating bio-system of mind, body and spirit. The goal of bioregulatory medicine is to support – or restore – that self-regulating state of wellbeing and self-healing.
To achieve this goal, bioregulatory medicine is committed to fostering balance and harmony between the individual’s outer environment and his or her internal environment, or milieu.
There are many factors that go into individualized evaluations of a patient’s health, including an assessment of environmental toxins, ecological terrain, lifestyle patterns and habits, social and professional influences, and genetics.
To better understand the basics of bioregulatory medicine, it is necessary to first describe principles of body regulation toward a steady state, or homeostasis.
Homeostasis generally denotes a healthy condition and balance of all bodily processes.
The body has many autoregulating processes (e.g., thermoregulation) and when healthy, each is able to deal with external influences that disturb homeostasis and to counteract these external influences to restore the body to a steady state.
Simply speaking, bioregulatory medicine therapies are aimed at assisting the body’s many autoregulatory systems to create a multiple dynamic equilibrium.
A Practitioner-Patient Partnership
Bioregulatory medicine promotes disease prevention and early intervention of illness through non-toxic approaches, emphasizing a partnership between patient and practitioner. This patient-practitioner relationship is paramount during the complex healing process, and includes intensive patient participation through education and self-care, including lifestyle and dietary improvements, as well as a powerful psycho-spiritual focus, which incorporates mind-body dynamics and an exploration of how psychology affects biology.
Acknowledging the powerful psychoemotional component in health and disease, bioregulatory medicine incorporates mind-body dynamics and explores how psychology affects our biology. Although the understanding that emotions affect physical health dates as far back as the second-century physician Galen and the medieval physician and philosopher Moses Maimonides, modern medicine has largely continued to treat the mind and body as two separate entities. In the past 30 years, however, research into the link between health and emotions, behavior, social and economic status, and personality has moved both research and treatment from the fringe of biomedical science into the mainstream. An increasing number of U.S. medical schools and centers now have departments devoted to mind-body research and some also to mind-body treatment.
Mind-body practices, which include meditation, yoga, acupuncture, breathing exercises, relaxation training, qigong, and tai chi, involve “interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health” (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM], 2010, p. 9). The physiological and emotional chain of events that occur as a result of mind-body practices, including relaxation, reduced sympathetic arousal, self-regulated present moment awareness, body awareness, positive reappraisal, and compassion for self and others, can lead to improvements in physical and psychological health, and perceived quality of life.
Bioregulatory medicine employs the use of non-invasive diagnostic aids that view not only structural imbalances, but also functional, regulatory, energetic, and psycho-emotional conditions.
In 1953, the German physician S. Klein, MD, listed some of the most important concepts of Biological Regulatory Medicine in the magazine Hippokrates:
- The healing process is also the illness process. Medical conditions that develop occur with the body’s best intentions as it attempts to heal itself.
- The absolute unity of spirit, mind and body.
- The individuality of every person, both anatomically as well as functionally. As a result, an illness should not be treated according to a particular model or pattern, but rather emphasis should be placed on supporting the healing processes of the patient.
- Emphasis should be placed on proper nutrition, natural remedies and stimulating the excretion process via the intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs and skin.
- Diagnosis and therapy should be from the functional perspective and, therefore, capable of diagnosing and addressing those processes that lead to the development of the illness.
- Functional therapies carry information – such as homeopathic medications – or restore order – such as acupuncture. Any therapy must absolutely include enhancement and stimulation of excretion.
- Heat and cold, dryness and moisture, light and air, as well as proper nutrition, can all be used to heal the patient. A healthy diet with water therapy in the tradition of Hippocrates are important cornerstones of a natural therapy.
- Every patient is influenced by climate, soil and individual physical characteristics, and these factors should also be taken into consideration.
- The therapy should be natural. Natural physical processes, such as fever, should be treated but not combated or suppressed.
- The medical practitioner should emphasize preventative medicine as well as healing. Diagnosis and treatment are important, but educating patients is just as important.