What is an allergy or intolerance?
True “allergy” is where an allergen causes an immune reaction. The severity of attack can be life threatening eg. anaphylactic shock, caused by nuts, bee sting, eggs or antibiotics, or disabling but not critical, eg. Coeliac Disease.
“Intolerances” do not involve the body’s immune system. Symptoms often occur several hours after contact with the trigger. So, after eating, you may get bloating, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), low energy, a headache, respiratory problems or mouth ulcers.
Some allergies are masked – they do not cause symptoms until they are eliminated from your diet, when you might get cravings and withdrawal symptoms – or on reintroduction there can be a violent reaction eg. nausea or migraine.
- Bee sting allergy
- Dermatitis (eczema type areas of itchy, red, flaky skin)
- Hay fever
- Hives or skin reaction
- Rhinitis (runny nose)
- Sinus problems
- Swelling of mouth and lips
- Urticaria (nettle rash)
- Anaphylactic shock
- Aching muscles
- Food cravings for the foods that cause the intolerance are common
- Hyperactivity (especially in children)
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Palpitations (after the “wrong” food)
- Excess sweating, not related to exercise
- Water retention - swelling: eyelids, ankles, abdomen, mouth
- Weight gain, or weight loss
What causes allergies or intolerances?
- Historic eg. food poisoning
- Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food. Lactose intolerance is a common example
- Candida and leaky gut
- Chemical sensitivities to food colourings and preservatives eg. tartrazine: orange food colouring
- Heavy exposure to metals, pesticides or toxic chemicals perhaps through your job (eg. hair dressers, agricultural workers, decorators)
- Historic eg. food poisoning
- Poor diet and lifestyle
- Malnourished (we need vitamins and minerals to enable metabolic reactions in the body to enable us to process toxins)
- Psychological/emotional connection: correlation with an upsetting event
- Steroids: can depress the body’s immune system and cause a weakness towards allergy/intolerance
- Toxicity within the body maybe because of pathogens
Triggers of true allergy
Histamine rich foods:
- Alcohol especially red wine
- Berries, especially strawberries
- Cheese – very ripe
- Fish (especially mackerel, tuna, tinned)
- Herbs: especially fresh
- Sunflower seeds
- Animal dander
- House dust
- Bee stings
Common triggers of intolerance:
It is not uncommon for offending foods to change. Anything that we “over consume” can cause a problem – whether that be coffee or something as innocent as lettuce! So if we change our diet to repeatedly eat something else – the “over consumed” replacement may become the problem, when it wasn’t before.
It is common for the foods we really crave to be the ones causing the problem – sugar, wheat, tea/coffee, etc. See "common triggers of intolerance".
Conventional treatment for allergies and intolerances
To find out your allergies you may have the following hospital tests:
- Blood test (RAST) for IgE antibodies
- Skin prick test: to inject the allergen under the skin and monitor for a wheal response
- Skin-patch test: which holds the allergen against the skin by a plaster and assesses the reaction
If you are to be treated by your GP, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids are the drugs that reduce the effect of the over-active immune and inflammatory response.
How to find out your sensitivities?
Finding out senstivities is more challenging - there are no blood tests, or other tests to identify them. Generally you'll be advised to avoid possible problem foods and notice if there's a difference to your symptoms.
How do I treat allergies and intolerances?
To identify triggers (foods, chemicals, airborne, environmental). You will be given a list of what has been tested, highlighting those to avoid.
(I can test the foods with immune markers: IgE, IgG, IgA, histamine and C reactive protein, hence detecting if the offending allergen is an intolerance or true allergy. Muscle weakness to these testers indicates allergy. However, it is likely due to the severity of your symptoms you'll already know if they're true allergy.)
Test for pathogens or toxicity, which could be compromising the body, and impairing normal functioning. If pathogens are found, these will be cleared with Frequency Therapy. If toxicity is found this will be addressed - commonly with anti oxidants.
To clear the allergies, and rebalance the immune system and the emotions.
- To improve specific symptoms
- To reduce or eliminate the effect of the allergen (not always possible)
- To address any on-going stress
- To address any emotional issues you connect with your symptoms (Louise Hay suggests allergies may raise the questions, "who are you allergic to? Or, are you denying your own power?"
Effectiveness of treatment:
For asthma, skin conditions, bloating, digestive problems, headaches, and other symptoms this treatment can be striking. However, it does require discipline to keep to a food avoidance diet until symptoms subside, (from a month or longer). Overtime, foods can be reintroduced, sometimes it’s possible to overcome all intolerances, but sometimes the offending triggers are more stubborn to resolve, these can include lactose and gluten.
It is increasingly common for children to suffer allergies or intolerances, and difficult conditions can be eliminated by correctly identifying offending triggers.
Treating children for any condition is generally relatively quick. Symptoms have generally been present less long, and are relatively uncomplicated, not having evolved through different stages.
Each case is slightly different, so to discuss your symptoms further call 020 7370 4693 or email.
Patients treated for allergies or intolerances
Susan 22 years: Airborne allergies
Susan, had come to London to do a Summer’s internship. She was working hard by day, and trying to enjoy London by night. Before long she was struggling with a blocked nose - which affected her voice, wheeziness, itchy and watery eyes, low energy and just feeling down and overwhelmed by it all.
Initially, I wanted to identify any foods and airborne triggers which were stressing her body, by muscle testing with kinesiology. Once these were identified Susan tried as much as possible to avoid them. There were no pathogens present (kinesthetically), so I treated with acupuncture, to clear "Wind" to calm the symptoms, clear stress and nourish the Lung and the Kidney energy, to aid recovery.
When I saw her a week later, she felt transformed there was still a bit of stuffiness and itchy eyes, induced when in the country at the weekend, but her symptoms had largely subsided. She came weekly for about 6 sessions, during which she was feeling totally normal again, and without symptoms.
I suggested she should come again in the Autumn for a treatment to nourish the Lungs, going into Autumn (a common time of lung problems), and also to give her a boost prior to returning to uni. Often treating through the Autumn can resolve hay fever symptoms.
Catherine, 44: Swollen belly and IBS
Catherine, had been suffering from acute “swelly belly” and IBS symptoms, every time she ate certain foods – but she didn’t know what foods would create the problem.
We muscle tested for problem foods, and found sugar, yeast (not wheat – so pasta was ok, but bread was not!), chocolate, coffee, tea and cow’s cheese were all offenders. Catherine agreed she would try to avoid these foods for the next period – it was worth it for her.
We then muscle tested for pathogens, and found candida. I used frequency therapy to clear this.
I then used acupuncture to clear Damp-Heat, affecting the digestion, and nourished the Stomach and Spleen to aid more efficient digestion. Additionally I moved energy generally – Catherine had been through a fairly stressful time at work, which was when the symptoms got really bad. Moving the Liver energy melts away the stress, which helps the body return to health.
When I saw Catherine the following week the bloating had been better, the digestive pain improved and the bowels more regular. It was work in progress, and took on-going treatment to completely resolve her complaints.
Catherine still continues to come fortnightly or monthly – as her schedule allows, to manage the stress of her job and to keep the symptoms at bay. The “swelly belly” is a thing of the past.
Lifestyle advice for allergies and intolerances
Try to balance your diet without too much repetition. Anything we over consume can become an intolerance - common for wheat and sugar.
Try eliminating anything from your diet that you sense is upsetting you - common triggers: sugar, wheat, yeast, dairy, coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate, eggs, tomatoes and oranges.
A good sign that something is affecting you is that your pulse speeds up within one hour of consumption.
Allergy may happen from childhood, where solids were introduced too early into our diet.
Stress reducing tips:
In my experience, stress is a big contributor to allergies. Without stress many patients are fine, with stress their symptoms arise.
- Get good rest, at least 8 hours a night, the more before midnight the better
- Take a walk in nature: the countryside or a park
- Try yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi
- Engage your creativity: painting, playing an instrument, taking pictures, creative writing (start with a journal)
- Avoid over obsessing about emails, texts and the internet
- Anything to provide balance to counteract a busy life
Ask yourself, what do I do to relax? I hope you have an answer! If so, make time for it. If not - play and find out.