A brief introduction to Endobiogeny

"Systems theory looks at the world in terms of the interrelatedness and interdependence of all phenomenon, and in this framework an integrated whole whose properties cannot be reduced to those of its parts is called a system." Fritjof Capra, The turning point: science, society and the rising culture, p. 43


Endobiogeny is a theory terrain that assesses how the internal (endo-) life (bio-) of the body is generated and sustained (-geny). It is a systems theory of biology that considers the endocrine system to be the true manager of the body. The endobiogenic concept was conceived by Christian Duraffourd, MD, and its teaching developed by Dr. Duraffourd and Jean-Claude Lapraz, MD.

The modern biomedical approach has produced a highly detailed understanding of physiology, and offers impressive interventions for life-threatening and degenerative disorders. Endobiogeny neither rejects nor is outside this system because it is based on modern physiology. Where it differs from the standard biomedical approach is in its understanding of the body as a system, which owing to the interrelated and interdependent nature of its physiology, requires an integrated approach to history, evaluation and treatment.

Role of the Endocrine system

The body is an organized system. Endobiogeny considers the endocrine system to be the true manager of the body because it is the only system that is ubiquitous, self-managing and able to manage other systems simultaneously. From fetogenesis, the endocrine system is the first and primary system that manages childhood, puberty, pregnancy, parturition, genital pause, death, and adaptation against every stressor. Thus, the endocrine system is the primary object of study with respect to the structure and function of the body. As the initiator of adaptation, the autonomic nervous system plays an important role too.

The functionality of the body is evaluated through two key concepts: relativity of action. Functionality is not determined by quantitative serum levels of regulating factors but by their relative activity, one to another. These concepts help explain the mechanisms of installation and persistence of illnesses currently categorized as "functional" or "idiopathic."

Practicing Endobiogenic Medicine

Endobiogenic History

The endiobiogenic history concerns itself with the totality of a patient’s life, not solely symptomatic evaluation of their chief complaint. The intake may include details about childhood illness, traumatic events, as well as a detailed review of symptoms. The evolution of symptoms reveals important information about the patient’s constitution, adaptive capacity and biologic individuality (i.e. genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic changes, etc.). Generating a timeline of events helps one determine the patient’s adaptive capacities and provides clues to the neuroendocrine factors most responsible for their current state.

Endobiogenic Physical Exam

The endobiogenic exam reveals a great deal of information through its evaluation of the phenotypic expression of neuroendocrine activity and the state of the emunctories (the organs that drain, excrete and secrete). For example, the length of eyelashes, fat on the zygomatic arch, pain on deep palpation of the ascending colon, etc. all reveals particular neuroendocrine relationships.

Biology of Functions

The biology of functions is a biological modeling program that evaluates the functional capabilities of the neuroendocrine system. It provides a numerical enumeration of these relationships at multiple levels of activity in and of itself and relative to the activity of other sub-systems. It helps the practitioner understand the etiology of dysfunction, and facilitates a rational treatment plan that addresses systemic imbalances. The biology of functions allows for a dynamic and objective longitudinal evaluation of a patient’s progress. Rather than solely relying on a patient’s subjective evaluation of symptoms, the practitioner can track numerically the evolution of devolution of specific physiologic relationships related to symptoms.

Rational Treatment Plan

Many treatment plans are symptomatic in nature and do not address the underlying etiology of imbalance. Exclusively symptomatic treatments are to a degree dehumanizing because it treats a manifestation of a physiologic imbalance (i.e. a symptom) and not the person in their entirety. Symptomatic treatment is valuable but is not a substitute for a treatment of the terrain.

The endobiogenic approach is humanistic because it treats the individual in their entirety as a system, as a whole person. The endobiogenic treatment is "rational" because it is based on a precise assessment of the neuroendocrine factors most responsible for the ontology, etiology and mechanisms of initiation, installation and maintenance of particular physiologic relationships, rather than a protocol or broad-spectrum approach to "cover the bases" or "see what sticks."

The foundation of the endobiogenic treatment is clinical phytotherapy, which is the use of medicinal plants. In our experience, in the outpatient setting, clinical phytotherapy best satisfies the Hippocratic principle of primum no nocere (first, do no harm). Modern pharmacology is based on the suppression or stimulation of a single receptor by a single molecule. While this allows for a powerful action, this action escapes normal physiologic feedback mechanisms, increasing the risk of side effects and harm.

Medicinal plants work with the body rather than against it by modulating thresholds, sensitizing feed forward, feedback and feed through loops, and by improving the capacity of organs to make, excrete or responds to regulating factors. The polychemical nature of the plants allows for the entire system to be treated rather than a single receptor, action, or organ. The "rational" nature of the endobiogenic approach to clinical phytotherapy is in the judicious combination of medicinal plants that treat the system as a coherent unit of activity rather than based on particular symptomatic effects like a drug would be used.

The use of pharmaceutical agents and surgery are generally reserved for degenerated or decompensated cases, where there is a compelling role for forceful control or alteration of physiology. The role of structural adjustments, acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, diet, and lifestyle are valuable treatment approaches and are used in regularly in endobiogeny.


Endobiogeny is a theory of terrain that views the endocrine system as the true manager of the body. It is not a form of "integrative medicine" that layers disparate modalities over the biomedical model when there is no standard of care, or, because "alternative modalities" are "gentle" or "natural."

Endobiogeny is an integrated approach to medicine: a comprehensive theory of life that integrates the various aspects of human physiology. From a thoughtful history, careful physical, and detailed evaluation by the biology of functions, a rational treatment program can be derived that treats the patient and not merely symptoms. Endobiogeny is a method of understanding the human condition that can benefit the practice of healthcare professionals from various healing traditions.