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by Ellen Landauer

Acquired Immunity

Acquired immunity is the best kind. It is too often scoffed at by those who have been brainwashed into thinking that sanitizing everything keeps us healthy.

I beg to differ; below are my personal observations and experience on this subject - and at bottom some scientific references.

Acquired immunity - children benefit by being around animals

Acquired Immunity:
Playing in the Dirt

Acquired immunity is best fostered by living as our forbears did; immersed in nature.

Years ago, I used to buy fresh goat milk from a farm up the road. Occasionally, I would meet guests who came to stay there for a 'farm vacation.' 

One day, when I walked into the milking parlor, just after milking time, the farmer introduced me to a young couple who were on vacation staying at the farm. I was a little shocked when I saw they were allowing their 1-year old boy to crawl about on the dirty floor. 

Bits of straw and puddles of milk remained even after the cement floor had been hosed down. In addition, obviously the goats had traipsed in and out of there from pasture and barn - and, to put it politely we know that pastures and barn floors aren't clean.

We all stepped outside while chatting. The little boy accompanied us and began crawling about among dirt and weeds. I noticed he had a sturdy, robust body and rosy cheeks. He appeared to be a very happy boy - laughing and making lots of eye contact with the grown-ups. 

In our conversation, the woman of the couple mentioned that she and her husband worked for Prevention magazine (this was during the time it was still owned by the original publisher). She said the reason they let their baby crawl around in the dirt was that it would ensure he developed a strong immune system. Her husband added that they never allowed vac cines to be given to their son. 

I was unfamiliar with such ideas - and thought what they were saying a little strange. NO 'protective' measures AND crawling about with bare knees and hands in the DIRT? 

However in years hence, deep research as well as personal experience and observation have borne out their convictions. I also looked back on my own life and saw acquired immunity from a new perspective.

Acquired Immunity:
Immersion in the 'Unsanitary' 

During my childhood and teen years, the extent of my exposure to 'unsanitary' conditions was prodigious. On camping trips, we used restrooms with minimal plumbing (no-flush toilets) that were used by many other people - complete with giant moths, flies, mosquitoes and other denizens adorning the walls. 

My parents and I enjoyed the rides at Palisades Park, were often immersed in crowds while visiting museums and restaurants in NYC, swam at crowded public pools and beaches, fed the animals at the zoo, took pony rides, etc. No hand washing between amusement park rides, feeding the zebras and riding ponies!

Acquired immunity on steroids - all with no concern about 'catching' some dread disease by touching animals and items that countless other people had touched! Doubtless I repeatedly touched my face or put my hands in my mouth during all these adventures. None of us ever 'caught' anything...!

Acquired Immunity
Promotes Vitality

As years passed, my interest in health grew, along with my powers of observation. 

An interesting trend came to light. I noticed that the unhealthiest kids commonly came from homes where the parents were most fastidious about cleanliness. 

One such example was a couple who were friends of my parents. They had two children, a daughter my age, and a son a few years older. I remember them being fussy and overprotective of the children. They were also obsessed with cleaning and sanitizing everything. Playing in the dirt was frowned upon. Book learning and intellectual pursuits were encouraged; anything earthy that might 'expose them to too many germs' was not allowed. Both of these kids were depressed, weak and sickly - with chronic health issues at a young age. 

I have seen many other similar examples along this theme. Overprotected teens who were  never encouraged to get up close and personal with nature - but instead played indoors and watched MTV - were all weak, lacking in motivation, contactfulness and vitality! Today, of course, we have addiction to I-phones, I-pads, texting and even more lack of contact with life.

Contrast that to the majority of kids in my neigborhood when I was in grade school. Many parents, including my own, put strict limits on time spent watching TV. Most kids back then played outdoors for hours every day. Games involving a lot of contact, grappling, chasing, rolling about on the ground went on for hours. Sharing ice cream cones and other treats was thought about who handled something before I did. Most of us kids were pretty robust and full of energy.

In later years, even in a more rural area, I noticed that the children of the more 'holistic' parents - children who were over-supervised, under-disciplined and fed lots of soy and other plant foods, were looking progressively sicker and weaker. 

However when I pulled up to the farm where I buy beef and eggs - acquired immunity reigned supreme! The young children of the family were bursting with vigor, sturdily built - happier and possessing more composure and contactfulness than the kids I saw in town. I remember standing in the farmer's driveway one evening watching the kids running about, mesmerized by their robust beauty and happy demeanor. The farm kids played in the dirt and among animals - all day - clearly to their benefit.

Acquired Immunity:
Swimming in It

In my 20's swimming became my exercise du jour. How is it that as an inveterate swimmer, I did not 'catch' any disease while swimming in pools, lakes and ponds of every description? 

Geese, frogs and fish were commonly my swimming companions in the lakes, along with a sprinkling of algae and weeds - and often - other people. Some of the lakes had homes on their shores - and you know that vestiges of human waste had to get into the water even with normal precautions. 

At one local lake I swam daily in summer, a beaver dam broke upstream and spewed its contents into the lake. When this happens, a flood of pathogens and wastes are released. Unknowingly, I was in that water every day before they shut it down due to bacterial overload. I still didn't 'catch' any illness!


Over many years - I never got sick from my swimming habit (except from chlorine and other chemicals in pools). 

During a few summers while in my 30's, I swam at the pool at Bear Mountain, in Harriman State Park, when Anthony Wayne pool (cleaner, less crowded) was closed. I got there at opening time and walked through the dank, slimy dressing rooms, just in time to have a swim before the Circle Line yacht came up from Manhattan. 

Every day, teens from the inner city would swarm into the pool and run about, flirting with each other and raising hell among more sedate swimmers and sunbathers. Commonly, I would still be swimming laps as hordes of teens piled into the water. While I was enjoying the sun lying on a towel afterward, kids would be running, pushing, yelling and jumping over me with water dripping off them. Did I 'catch' anything from them? NO!

Acquired Immunity:
Grandpa Was the Champ!

My Grandpa did me one better with regard to acquired immunity. 

He arrived in America during the 1800's. In his late childhood in Europe, he was a Teamster - literally - he drove and cared for teams of draft horses transporting goods. As a youth in America, he lived in Manhattan, New York. At that time, the city was dirty, there was no refrigeration, lots of horse-drawn transport, little to no sanitation as we know it. 

Throughout his teens, to cool off in the summer, Grandpa and his buddies would spend hours a day diving off the docks into the East River and swimming about. You can imagine what was floating in that water! Grandpa lived a very vital life to nearly 90. Only a few years before his death, he was vital enough to walk from his apartment a good number of miles through New York City, to see a ball game at Yankee Stadium...then walked all the way back home after sitting for hours on the hot bleachers.

How is it that Grandpa could swim in water containing raw sewage, among other things, and thrive for another 80 years? Why did he and his buddies not quickly die of some dread disease?

Acquired Immunity:
Still Here for the Taking

Being around farm animals fosters acquired immunity!

PHOTO ABOVE: Getting up close with farm animals is a great way to boost acquired immunity!

Wth regard to acquired immunity, I've seen it written that playing in the dirt as a child is irreplaceable. The view was that, once older, a person who has been sheltered too much can't get similar benefits.

However, there is room for doubt. Even if you could get half or even a third of those benefits, would you do it? I can tell you that for me, contact with nature in the raw is one of the essentials of life. It gives me something nothing else can.

Something so simple as gardening (assuming you avoid using toxic chemcals) is one way to foster aquired immunity. Having pets is another. Besides the benefits of loving contact and companionship, a dog or cat who spends time outdoors will bring you more opportunities to exercise your immune system. Yes, it's fine to let your dog give you a kiss!

NOTE: While you are experimenting with getting closer to your roots, it is good to do this in the least toxic environment you can find. Rolling about on the lawn of your neighbors when you know the ChemLawn truck is there every couple of weeks is obviously not a great idea.

Today, there are more toxins in the environment. An excellent nutrient supplementation and detox program is a must for all of us to fight back. Heavy metal chelation and full-spectrum Amino Acids plus Vitamin/Mineral protocols are wonderful for detox.

To achieve acquired immunity a little caution is advised. These days, it is a given that there are at least a few toxins everywhere.

Do the best you can - and do get out there and enjoy some up close and personal time with nature.


Ellen Landauer is an expert with over 40 years in-depth study and experience of the safe and effective use of nutritional supplements, botanical extracts and detoxification methods.

She is Certified as an Advanced Practitioner of Structural Integration body therapy developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf - also known as Rolfing. This hands-on therapy is the deepest, most comprehensive body alignment therapy. 

Ellen Landauer is also a  PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

To learn more about Ellen Landauer, see her detailed bio HERE


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