Pleomorphism of Microorganisms and
Theories of Infectious Disease
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Pleomorphism is basically the concept that cells, and especially one-celled microorganisms, can change form under certain conditions to cells of another type.  For example an example of pleomorphism in human cells might be the morphing of skin cells to connective tissue cells, or of blood cells to bone tissue.  In the field of microbiology, the concept primarily implies that bacteria of one species might change to bacteria of another species under certain conditions.  For example, this theory might allow that under certain environmental conditions, a typhoid bacillus could morph into a staphylococcus bacteria.

In the alternative healing world, and on the fringes of conventional mainstream science, there are those who feel that pleomorphism of microorganisms is widespread, and that such pleomorphism is how nature performs various tasks of toxin cleanup and tissue removal in the human body.  In effect, this theory states that bacteria simply change to whatever form is most handily needed in the body, based upon cues from the body itself.  Indeed, in the many parallel theories of biological terrain assessment and adjustment, the underlying assumption is that "infection" by microorganism really indicates nothing more than imbalances in the inner biochemical terrain of the body, and that if the inner terrain of the body is allowed to normalize, then the "infectious organisms" will cease their inflammatory activity, as their presence is no longer needed, as determined by the interior milieu.

In these models, bacteria and other microorganism are not seen as dangerous, invasive or pathogenic, nor infectious, but rather as simply responding to cues from the body that cleanup is needed.  In other words, they are seen as performing simply necessary cleanup functions in response to cues from the local body tissues.  So, in these models, bacteria are not seen as pathogenic or aggressive, but rather, inner biological terrain, the interior milieu of the body, is seen as the chief determinant of the presence or absence of certain "infectious" processes. Therefore, in these particular pleomorphic models, the interior milieu, or inner terrain, is seen as having primacy in determining presence or absence of "diseases" due to microorganisms.  Thus, it would make sense that one would treat an infectious illness by simply adjusting the inner terrain of the body to allow it to become more healthful, thus eliminating the need for the presence of the "infectious" organisms.  Conversely, any attempt to treat an infectious illness with antibiotics (or hydrogen peroxide, ozone or colloidal silver, all of which are favorite armamentaria in the alternative healing world) or other "aggressive" means would be seen in most cases as short-sighted and merely cosmetic, as the practitioner would be attempting to treat a symptom of a deep imbalance, rather than addressing the deep imbalance. Further, these theories would suggest that most, if not all, antibiotics and other aggressive antimicrobial means would actually further imbalance and disrupt the inner terrain, thus eventually leading to further degeneration.

A number of theorists and practitioners in the raw foods world, among many other fields of natural healing as well, seem to also subscribe to theories which dictate the primacy of biological terrain.  Thus, in treating illnesses which seem to be of microbiological origin, they would favor simply correcting the inner terrain via dietary modification and other simple means.  Many people in the raw foods world, for example, believe that the primary reason for the many health benefits derived from a raw foods diet is simply improvement in inner biological terrain.  This improvement in inner terrain is seen as due to the fact that the person has ceased intake of toxic foods and rather increased intake of truly healthful and nurturing foods, thus allowing the body to naturally improve its inner terrain. 

I have often fielded private inquiries recently from list members seeking more information on pleomorphism, particularly where to find further info on this theory, and I realized this morning that I should probably post my recent replies to those folks on the list as well!  So here are some thoughts on where to find more information on pleomorphism!

Off the top of my head right now, here are a few references on general pleomorphism of bacteria:

Beauchamp and Pasteur
Beauchamp, a contemporary of Pasteur's, differed with Pasteur on a number of theoretical models.  Whereas Pasteur felt that bacteria were the "all" (primary and sufficient cause) in causing illness, Beauchamp felt that the inner terrain (biological terrain, or interior milieu) was far more important in determining whether illness manifested or not.  Incidentally, on this point, noted philosopher Douglas Humer reports in his excellent book on the subject that Pasteur capitulated on his deathbed, admitting that terrain ruled. 

They also differed, as mentioned above, on pleomorphism: Pasteur felt that it was impossible, and that bacteria existed in numerous and separate strains or species, while Beauchamp and his allies felt that bacteria are really one big family, and that a bacteria (e.g., salmonella) can revert back to a primitive prototype bacteria, which can then re-differentiate into a different type of bacteria altogether (perhaps an e. coli species or typhus). This is not so weird as it sounds: it is well-known in modern conventional scientific circles that cells in the human body, under the proper influence (hormonal, electrical fields) can revert back to primitive cells and then re-differentiate into a different type of specialized tissue cell.  Robert O. Becker, MD, did a lot of work on this in the 70s and 80s, and it is recounted in his books on electric fields and human health.

Royal Rife and His Colleagues in the Early 1900's
Dr. Royal R. Rife, the developer of the Rife microscope back in the 1930's and the inventor of the Rife Ray Beam Ray plasma healing device (back in the 1930's and 1940's) was very much a believer in pleomorphism and claimed to have seen ample evidence of such under his microscope. He was rather closely allied with some mainstream East Coast academic bacteriological researchers (Dr. Arthur Kendall, at Rockefeller Institute) at that time who were pushing pleo big time until the bio establishment backlashed against them and they literally went into hiding!

If you were to get hold of a copy of the book by investigative reporter Barry Lynes about Rife and his work (called "The Cancer Cure that Worked"), he has about two chapters loosely devoted to Rife's involvement with pleo theory.  Lyne's book is available almost anywhere, including many vendors on the Web, for about $10.

Next, if you were to do a search on "Royal Rife" and microscope, you would come across many Web articles on Rife, many of which touch on his pleo theories.  Funny thing, the biggest thing he took heat about from the bio establishment was his pleo theories, and not his weird microscope.  Beware if you do a search on Rife alone (no microscope), as there are thousands of web pages devoted to the Rife Ray Beam device, which will lead you a bit off-topic.  Incidentally, I happen to have 3 modern ones in my labs -- many folks claim that they reverse Lyme disease and cataracts, as well as many other things, in weeks; lots of folks use them for cancer, which scares me, since most of them are not making dietary changes as well.

Modern Bacteriology and Pleomorphism
Incidentally, since Kendall's time, and the terrible political attacks upon him for his pleo models, pleomorphism has become much more accepted in mainstream microbiology since 1960.  Numerous well-known and reputable scientists have confirmed the basics of pleomorphism, as well as documented specific cases of pleomorphism in a number of different species of bacteria.  The related issue of the primacy of bacterial determinism in illness versus primacy of biological terrain is more disputed, because of the tremendous ripple effect which the acceptance of biological terrain as causative would have on the pharmaceutical industry and food industry, as well as the reputation of many leading biochemists.

As an example of modern scientific acceptance of pleo, two French biologists (Sonea and Panisset) published a book in the early 1980's entitled "A New Bacteriology", which contended that bacterial pleo was now proven scientific knowledge, and they cited numerous articles from various fields to support this contention.

Web Resources
There are also quite a few web pages devoted to pleomorphism, if you were to search on that word.  However, if you do a web search on the word, you might also want to include "bacteria" or "microorganism" as another search term. Why?  Folks in the medical community, especially oncologists and pathologists, sometimes uses the word "pleomorphism" in a different sense: to indicate highly variable cell nuclei in cancerous or pre-cancerous human tissue cells.

Two of the best web pages I have found on pleo are:

Chris Bird
The latter link above contains a reprint of the late Christopher Bird's article in Nexus magazine in the early 1990s on THE MYSTERY OF PLEOMORPHIC MICROBIAL ORGANISMS

Herr Professor Doctor Enderlein
Lastly, there is also a German medical doctor, Herr Professor Doctor Gunther Enderlein, who was a microbiologist and researcher who studied live blood for more than 40 years.  He wrote over 300 articles and published a compilation of some of his work in 1925 in a book entitled "Bacteria Cyclogeny", now available in English.  Dr. Enderlein died in 1968.  A few of his articles were published in "Explore! for the Professional" journal over the past 10 years on pleomorphism and related topics. Indeed, a few were also on iridology, but his iridology articles tend to lose me!  I have his articles from "Explore! for the Professional" somewhere, but you can go to some web sites on Enderlein's work, at:

I wish to thank Dr Kirk Slagel, the Medical Education Director for Pleomorphic Products SANUM, for providing me with much-needed additional background information about Dr. Gunther Enderlein.

Alleged Human Macro-Scale Pleomorphism

You didn't think I was going to let this pass without at least a mention, did you?  It seems that there are some humans, many of them authors and lecturers who make lots of money by claiming this and other outlandish things, who contend that animals and humans can shapeshift at will (e.g., human to eagle and back, human to coyote to owl to fish to dog and back), and I guess, in all fairness, that this is an example of a type of deliberate individual pleomorphism.  One of the foremost authors in this field, some guy with a PhD in something, teaches a course at Esalen Institute (Big Sur) each year on deliberate shapeshifting, and claims that he has done it himself (human to animal and back) several times. 

There are also many folks who believe that a specialized deviant race of near-immortal humans, usually called "the Athanor", many of whom are shapeshifters, live among us undetected.  Then we could get into the mystical masters who claim that they have immortal bodies, and have been alive for hundreds or thousands of years, and can materialize or de-materialize their bodies at will.  But, I think that is straying too far afield.

Secondly, regarding shapeshifting, a true but trivial story. When I was in the corporate world as a director of a large team, I developed a casual friendship with a young man on another nearby team; we worked together on certain projects.  He was rather overweight, and he felt that this issue was interfering with his self-esteem, as he weighed over 360 lbs. and was about 6 feet tall.  I therefore lobbied his boss in an attempt to get the company to pay for him to attend the shapeshifting course at Esalen Institute, arguing that if he could shapeshift at will into a slim, trim, buff guy then it would help his self esteem and his work productivity.  He liked the idea and was willing to attend, but his rather mainstream immediate boss (my peer) would not authorize the expenditure, despite being given a photocopy of the catalog course description, which warranted that when the course was over, he would be able to shapeshift at will.  I also envisioned that a shapshifter might have other advantages as well in corporate environment.  Imagine!  You could turn into an owl or a hawk in the middle of a boring meeting, and take a shit on everyone!

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