Stone Age Wisdom for Modern Life Coaching


Back in the days when humans still lived in a pristine relationship with nature, a woman my age wouldn’t have spent more than four decades eating genetically altered food, unknowingly consuming insecticide with her vegetables, and noshing on processed snacks packed with preservatives.  She wouldn’t have spent all those years parked on her voluminous rump, getting no physical exercise most of each day.

That’s because in those days, a woman my age would have been dead for twenty years.

Come on, face it: Statistically speaking, modern conveniences have given a lot more than they’ve taken in terms of healthy and longevity.  That’s why I’m relaxed about things most Whole Foods customers abhor.  I have various friends who are militant about their whole-food, live-food, sanctified-by-the-nutrition-gods food, and while these folks are as healthy as horses, they also tend to be murdered by people they keep criticizing for eating Twinkies.

Food Nazi and Twinkie Lover

Food Nazi and Twinkie Lover

That said, you all know I’m a big back-to-nature buff.  And I’m always looking for ways to make my clients’ lives work better.  So I was intrigued when my friend Betsy informed me about one way we’ve strayed from our biological best path.  We have abandoned our parasites.

Hookworms and Happiness

There’s surprisingly robust research that suggests we co-evolved with many parasites in a symbiotic way.  For example, being infested with hookworms apparently activates a chain reaction that can heal allergies, asthma, and various irritable bowel syndromes.  I’m not kidding.

That’s why one guy, whose story appears on several internet sites but whose name is wisely obscured, took his serious allergies and asthma to the African nation of Cameroon, which is apparently the Disneyland of parasites.  Then he took off his shoes and tromped around in piles of human feces, an idea he no doubt read in his guidebook, “Fun and Friendly Things To Do In the Third World.”

Use this to cure that:

hookworm and bowel

“I became infested almost immediately,” he writes. “It must have been either the first or second day I spent walking barefoot through the latrines. When one thinks of it this was an enormous piece of luck.”

Okay.  One is thinking of it, but one is having a hard time agreeing.

Anyway, this guy says his asthma went away (just as it went away from patients in legitimate studies at places like the University of Nottingham).

Below: test subjects from the University of Nottingham

merry men

sherrif nott
robin hod

Pooping for Profits

These days, our hookworm-infested gentleman makes money harvesting the larvae of his new pets, which he gets from his own…well, yes.  He sells the larvae to other people who have allergies but lack the wealthy jet-set’s ability to go lollygagging around latrines in Cameroon any time they darn well please.

On a similar note, doctors now use “medical maggots” to clean wounds, and leeches to keep blood from coagulating.  One website sells tapeworms to people who want to lose weight: swallow the worm, lose the weight, take a worm-killing pill, bada bing, bada boom, you have thighs like a gazelle.  Also anemia, post-traumatic stress, and a story that means no one will ever marry you, but hey!  It’s better to look good than to feel good, right?

In light of these findings, I’ve been wondering—any responsible life coach would—if there are other healthy primordial conditions or behaviors we modern humans have abandoned.  Could we have evolved to benefit from many parasites that make me want to hurl?  Could the tendency to hurl be cured by ticks?

It is possible.

So here’s a list of little-known ancient biological truths (or not) that I think might restore our natural health.  There is no evidence whatsoever to support any of them.  I just have a feeling.


Martha’s List of Possible Primordial Cures for Whatever Ails You

  • Babies should only be cleaned by dogs.
  • A mouse in your house means no sties in your eyes.
  • Bake with dung, it keeps you young!
  • Armpit odor prevents nightmares and sleep crime.
  • Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth virtually disappear if you pound them with a rock.
  • A moldy fridge makes a fertile mind.
  • Stabbing a yak cures back pain (for you, not for the yak).
  • Toe fungus makes you joyful.
  • Lice stop you from running mad.

These are just a few bits of ancient wisdom that occurred to me on the fly.  If you have any other back-to-nature practices I can incorporate into my life coaching, by all means share them!  It’s time to start licking our meat clean and re-connecting with all the disgusting parasites that use humans as hosts.  Which reminds me, it’s time for my political pundit shows.  I think they make me immune to swine flu.

16 replies
  1. Denise Canellos
    Denise Canellos says:

    Oh my gosh, I was just sitting here in a state of overwhelm, wondering “what would Martha do?” – and then my question was answered. Martha would laugh, and make others laugh too. Thank you Martha!

  2. Laura Creamer
    Laura Creamer says:

    We may not even have to travel the world to get our therapeutic dose of parasites; we could be getting plenty in the food we are eating here in the States. Oh-oh, am I paranoid?

  3. Hadley
    Hadley says:

    My yorkshire terrier has a superfast ability to stick his tongue so far up your nose we call it “licking your brain.” It disgusts my best friend Amy, (who was thrilled when I got her an electronic toothbrush sanitizer for her last birthday,) but I’m convinced it prevents both headcolds, and taking yourself too seriously.

  4. Anna K
    Anna K says:

    I have been infested by the snorting laughter parasite. It cures many ills.

    Here’s my contribution to our stockpile of wisdom:
    Strangers’ saliva makes you feel alive-ah

  5. Gina
    Gina says:

    OK — I’m all for the idea that we are a little too paranoid about germs and whatnot as a culture, but I have to say the idea of purposefully infesting yourself with hookworms is a little beyond the pale!!!

  6. Kelly Pratt
    Kelly Pratt says:

    I do know that we played in (and probably ate!) our fair share of dirt as kids and we were almost NEVER sick
    …but our next door neighbor kids were always covered head to toe with gloves, hats and masks like they were going somewhere infested with the plague and they were ALWAYS sniffling, coughing and complaining… i’m just sayin’

    (Anna – love the rhyme-ah)

  7. Leah Badertscher
    Leah Badertscher says:

    When you brought up this topic of mutually-beneficial-although-disgusting-relationships this weekend (hmmm, brings a whole new meaning to co-dependency!), I thought of a couple examples but forgot to share…when I was still doing some lawyering it was in IP management for university research. A few of our researchers were developing a way to harvest the eggs of a certain kind of worm that grows in pigs. The worm is detrimental to the pig but when humans digest it (a bunch worm eggs in capsule form), the worms attach in the large intestine and make all sorts of otherwise incurable and severe cases of IBS, ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease, etc. just vanish. This is really a big deal because some of the patients with these diseases were otherwise looking at inevitable cancer or having their equipment removed and living the rest of their lives with a bag attached to their hips. Pretty cool, huh?

  8. Melissa Howard
    Melissa Howard says:

    Have we forgotten that the more dust mites on the mattress the deeper the sleep? And I’m sure science will soon prove that living with dust bunnies has the same heart healthy benefits as petting a real bunny, dog or cat.

  9. Life Coaches
    Life Coaches says:

    I thought there was some pretty serious empirical data that farmers have less cancer than us city dwellers and part of the reason is all of the bacteria they are exposed to in their daily routines.

    I am not sure that cleaner is always better, it might just be a way to sell more cleaning products!!

    Thanks for starting this discussion…



  10. Janelle
    Janelle says:

    I don’t fancy tapeworms, even if they will cure me of all sorts of ills. But I have to say that we don’t keep the world’s cleanest kitchen at all times and yet we’ve never had a problem with food-born illness. Unlike restaurants, which frequently cause some bowel catastrophes. So, I say, don’t worry about disinfecting your kitchen, it’s way cleaner than the average restaurant.

  11. Rebecca MacDonald
    Rebecca MacDonald says:

    Martha, I love your writing and your sense of humor. Having grown up on a farm, where one of my first jobs was operating the “manure spreader” (who knew where that could lead?) I never fully appreciated the health benefits I might be aggregating. But as an adult, I can attest that I rarely get sick. Coincidence? I think not!

  12. Tonya
    Tonya says:

    I am a huge advocate of boosting the immune system via dog licks and cat fur. I rarely get sick and neither does my daughter. Coincidence? Maybe, but I like a slightly worn home with lots of animals. But, I must draw the line at armpit odor. No can do!

  13. Felice Hesters
    Felice Hesters says:

    First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Many thanks!

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