πŸ”’ Claudius van Wyk: Holistic boosting of immunity, protecting against coronavirus

Dr Claudius van Wyk is recommending applying the holistic approach to building immunity against coronavirus – applying physical, psychological and social tools. The UK-based expert in psychoneuroimmunity, is full of praise for the bold steps SA president Cyril Ramaphosa has taken, an approach which is in stark contrast to the confusing messages from most countries elsewhere, including Great Britain. In this podcast, Van Wyk offers advice for the fearful – and invites members of the Biznews Community to attend a free webinar he’ll be hosting on Friday at 2:15 SA time (email him on [email protected] for registration details) – Alec Hogg

Well. The whole world is looking for solutions to the coronavirus and well sometimes you have to look in unusual places because it is a challenge that requires quite a bit of lateral thinking. Tony has been vague. Dr. Claudius Glenn Beck has helped us in the past. Look at things very differently. Claudius we’ve spoken from time to time about the whole theory of holism but actually on the corona virus itself I was fascinated to see that first of all you’re going to be holding a webinar at the end of the week on Friday and I’ll give all the details on that in a little while but actually that it’s based on your knowledge that you picked up while doing your PHD and particularly on something called psychoneuroimmunology so. And I unpack that it seems to me to be something to do with using the brain to immunise yourself.

Yes. However good to hear your voice again and good to share some thoughts with your listeners, psychoneuroimmunology is a deeply studied science that really began to emerge in the 80s. And of course it’s very much part of that holistic view of medicine. So to just unpack those words; psycho that’s the state of mind the mental and emotional state; neuro is how it’s working through the central nervous system via the endocrine system and its impact on the immune functioning. And so that study is very, very deep and very clearly defined and what it is essentially saying is that our immune system is picking up its cues from our mental and emotional state. That’s like a brief introduction.

It is a science that is getting more and more momentum around the world. I think of people like Bruce Lipton who’s now got his own series on the Gaia channel for instance. So it’s not just in the real science world. Bruce I think is a scientist himself. But it really is spreading and I guess people are looking at the world a little differently now.

I think you’re absolutely right. Your big shift that is taking place when it comes to medicine is the shift from what is known as the biomedical module to the bio psychosocial model. So the biomedical model essentially see that an expert in medicine or somebody that has got particular skills in them in health care provision, healthcare practitioners that they act on a person that has some kind of condition. So there’s an external intervention in a disease or a physiological challenge. The biomedical, the bio psychosocial model is different. It actually says that the biological process is influenced by our psychological processes and that those are influenced by our social processes. Now when you take a look at something like a pandemic as the World Health Organisation just defined the coronavirus crisis we are actually now looking at a bio psychosocial phenomenon and it requires that chronic or medical perspective requires that holistic view.

And we are talking to you from Devon, you live in the UK, from where we are in South Africa looking at it from afar seems to be doing things very differently to the rest of the world, elsewhere in the world they’re trying to slow down the virus. Your Prime Minister’s talking about having the herd infected, in other words once 60% of the population is infected the UK can go carry on or shrug it off. How does that sit with what you are discussing about the impact of the mind or the brain on the way we react to this and how we go into a territory with that question where typically who was around would rush in, where angels fear to tread.

But let’s unpack it because at the moment it is the critical debate in the United Kingdom and it is generating a huge amount of controversy, a huge amount of confusion and quite a lot of anger. So the idea of containment was the idea that we actually just need to seal off as many people as possible from getting the infection, where they’ve gotten to now is to say that this is probably no longer a practical option. We’ve got to do that to the best of our ability. We actually have to just make sure that we are looking after the most vulnerable with the best medical attention as possible and we must invite people to take as much responsibility for their own lives.

So it is the story this morning which has raised a lot of controversy. He says this is a liberal democracy where people are able to be responsible. They are reluctant to take draconian measures. The big concern and it is a real concern is what resources are available to do the kinds of of gestures that have happened elsewhere in Europe like sealing people off in their homes, like closing schools, like locking down whole towns and suburbs, closing down businesses. The concern is there’s a balance between containing the spread of the virus on the one hand and the huge economic and social disruption that activities will create on the other end and their approach is to try and find a median way and because that median way doesn’t seem to be radical and decisive, it leaves people confused. So what it really invites is that it needs to give people a clear message and that hasn’t been emerging in the United Kingdom. A lot of people took cues from Cyril Ramaphosa, very clear instructions as to how South Africa would cope. And they said that’s the way we should be doing it. So yes it’s a highly controversial subject at the moment but if we position that in the bio psycho social model what it does invite is an enhanced focus on how people can look after themselves physiologically, how they can look after themselves psychologically and how they can then engage in a different form of social interaction. And that’s going to be the topic of our webinar on Friday. And that’s something that we can unpack now Alec.

Yeah just dining with a site psychologically because it appears certainly from the way that the markets have reacted, investment markets are reacting around the world that there is panic, there’s fear, it’s completely subsumed the way that traders are looking at the situation and they’re knocking back share prices to levels not seen in well over a decade.

Yes. So you know President Ramaphosa made a very important statement when he gave his dramatic address on Sunday night where he said that the fear itself might be a greater danger than the virus, now in complexity theory and and you know that has been a part of my study of the holistic perspective. There is a phenomenon called path dependency that is basically a smart word for the herd effect, humanity tends to observe each other. We tend to take our cues from each other’s behaviour and then we get into this stampeding idea. And so the whole joke about people hoarding toilet rolls is part of that herd effect. Part of that negative feedback loop that just keeps on compounding everything. And of course in the marketplace you get those shrewd speculators that know how to play the game, they are going to be people that are going to be making a lot of money out of this and there are going to be the others that are going to be losing a huge amount of money. And so the Β approach to that that I’m going to be talking about on Friday was introduced by a gentleman medical sociologist who used the notion of salute to Genesis. So typically we have this Web pathogenesis geneticist, the source of pathogen that the trouble maker and pathogenic medicine then says what’s the source of the problem let’s attack that. And in this case of course they’re saying it’s the coronavirus. And so the desperate attempts to control it and to act and find a vaccine for it. So Ludo Genesis is then a change in focus that says when we need to look at the conditions that enable well-being and so it is popped right in the middle of that bio psychosocial approach that where and to off said well-being is enabled psychologically by three factors. The first one is comprehensive ability. Do people have sufficient understanding to make sense of what’s going on. And so that’s vital. And that is a core problem that we are facing in the United Kingdom today is that people can’t understand what’s going on because they feel they’re getting mixed messages. People need to have sufficient information to be able to make sense of what’s going on. Second one is manageability that means they need to know what they are able to do that is within their competence. And of course the whole story now is about washing your hands and keeping social distance, avoiding crowds. And there’s a whole range of activities that are being promoted in terms of managing the spread of the virus. And the final one is what we call meaningfulness. People need to have an idea of why it is important to be doing what you’re doing. They’ve got to be motivated so comprehensible manageability and meaningfulness those need to be the key messages that are being put out by the authorities to give people what is called a sense of coherence.

Oh yeah.

I’m able to keep my psychological equilibrium in the state of uncertainty. And so the strategy then would be how you can promote people and that’ll be the social part of the bio psychosocial medical approach how you can get people to develop a new positive narrative where the messages that they are sharing with each other are positive about positive engagement rather than fear mongering and that wants to be very carefully managed in dealing with a crisis of a global nature.

Alec if you were sitting in my shoes with a media company with a substantial platform how would you propagate that message.

So the first thing that I would do is to help people to realise the fundamental fact of this current crisis. And that is all over in China. Of the 80,000 people that were originally infected 67,000 of those have recovered so it is a minority of the people that have succumbed.

And the minority that actually are still suffering recover, the harder it is recovered with medical treatment, medical care.

Well what happens is if you have an underlying condition that is treatable then obviously you need the medical treatment for that. So this is a really important question that you are raising now. The problem in the United Kingdom, they say we cannot use our resources to control those people or to manage those people that are probably going to be able to manage the virus. We’re going to need our resources for the people that are vulnerable and the vulnerable people are those that have underlying medical conditions particularly inflammatory conditions because inflammation is a core troublemaker in this situation. So the people in China were managed for their manageable conditions but there is no vaccine for the virus. Their immune systems actually sorted that out. And this is the core message that we need to get out into the world that if you look after your immune system your immune system will be able to look after you in turn it is the only real defense mechanism that you’ve got until such a time as a vaccine has been identified.

So it is from a South African perspective. We have many millions of people who have HIV/AIDS. You’re on antiretrovirals. Does this not bring the whole coronavirus into a completely different level of concern.

What that then immediately amplifies is the seriousness with which the South African authorities have responded to this crisis. So it sounded drastic closing borders. It sounded drastic but given the fragility of the South African capacity to deliver medical aid, medical treatment and given the high incidence of people that already have compromised immune systems as you say with HIV/AIDS, with TB, with a high incidence of pneumonia that accompanies that with malaria you actually have a potential 10 to bed if this were to take hold of their hand. The Government’s apparently drastic but aggressive response is certainly fully understandable in the context of the potential threat that it represents for South Africans. The story that we therefore need to get out is how you can look after yourself and we can take a look at a few of those, how you can look after yourself psychologically and how as a community you pull together socially. Those are the key messages that we need to put out now. And of course from your perspective and we’re busy working on this right at the moment, we’re writing newsletters to South African businesses. Our business is just getting to the best of their ability, keep going with compromised workforces with so many compromised situations.

Back your message that you want to put out is how people can self manage with caution but also to continue to get on with life in a mindful way to just anyone who wants to pick up on all of that information can email [email protected] and that would be to get all the details on the free webinar that you’re offering on Friday. How long is it going to last for and and when does it start.

It starts at 12:15 UK time and so that will be 14:15 South African time and it’ll go on for 45 minutes. We’ll do a presentation of about 30 minutes to provide some of the mechanisms about the immune system hook and what people can do specifically to protect themselves. And then we’ll have some space for some dialogue but what we will be doing going forward is a regular series of webinars to talk people through and to guide people through this process. So it doesn’t end on Friday. Friday is just the introduction of a program that we will be established.

Dr. Claudis van Wyk who is based in Devon in the UK bringing us up to date on a fantastic webinar for those of you who’ve listened to Claudius on Newsradio in the past will know that he is a man who operates at a different intellectual level to most of us. As you can hear from this podcast he’s given it a lot of thought and that’s a free webinar this Friday. We’ll see if we can actually record it and then perhaps bring that out to the business community as well. But from me Alec Hogg until the next time. Stay safe.