Evolutionary medicine (Darwinian medicine)

The new discipline of evolutionary medicine informs the ChampionsEverywhere injury free running model developed by Tony Riddle. Although this field has fundamental differences compared to many “traditional fields”, evolutionary medicine is not in competition with traditional medicine but rather supplements and improves it. It should not be confused with Functional Medicine or Alternative Medicine to which it bears no relation.

History of evolutionary medicine

Evolutionary medicine is a new field of expertise within the broader areas of biology and medicine. Unlike traditional medicine it seeks to first understand the “ultimate” causes of injury and illness rather than relying solely on methods to fix the “proximate” (immediate or obvious causes) of the same conditions. Treating a cough rather than than the underlying infection which caused the cough reaction would be a classical example of applying a traditional medicinal approach over an evolutionary approach.

In Evolutionary Medicine it is understood that some symptoms that appear at first to be undesirable could simply be defense mechanisms which have evolved for a specific purpose. Often in a modern environment these mechanisms overreact or malfunction but in those cases Evolutionary Medicine often offer the necessary understanding of how to “reset the environment” rather than falling back to symptomatic relief such as pills and injections which often come with side-effects.

Evolutionary medicine as a practice

In practice, evolutionary medicine implies that you should aim to identify the underlying reasons why your body is responding the way it is to an infection, injury or other condition. Once this is understood you can decide whether normal medical intervention is necessary or whether the patient simply needs to be restored to a more natural way of life. It is our view that the latter option should always be preferred where there is no urgent risk to the patient.

We would like to see a culture were pills, injections, surgery and similar interventions are seen as methods of very last resort and only applied to non-life-threatening conditions once an attempt to restore proper nutritional habits, sleep patterns, environmental factors and activity levels have been attempted without success.

In this way, we see the future of healthcare and physical rehabilitation as focusing first and foremost on teaching people what constitutes proper natural food, using activity and exercise as medicine and removing people from as many of the stressors of a modern unnatural environment as is practical for the individual.

Read more

Why We Get Sick (Vintage) is in many way a seminal book on the topic of “Evolutionary medicine” and is written by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams. Another great resource, recommended by Tony Riddle is, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
by Robert Sapolsky. We also recommend The Scars of Evolution: What our bodies tell us about human originsby Elaine Morgan.