Allergies: How can we manage them?
Allergies: How can we manage them?
If you haven't already looked at the opening posts in this series which look at the problem of defining and identifying allergies then you can catch up on them here.
The conventional approach to allergy treatment (as opposed to epi-pen emergency treatment for anaphylaxis) is simply avoid or drug. What's the problem with this, its a solution isn't it? Yes it is but its partial.
Lets look at both of those approaches individually.
If we stick just to avoiding the allergen (and if we are taking an integral approach to this) then we can end up with a number of issues. Firstly you are always caught in the trap of needing to cnstantly monitor your environment and what you come into contact with. It can be very limiting in terms of flaexibility for eating out or visiting friends as many locations are incredibly unaware of the hidden ingredients.
This can end up making our lives increasingly restrictive because it comes with a second problem. If we don't address the causative nature of what creates our sensitivities and reactions, which is not just atomistic allergen, then we end up developing a progressive need to avoid more and more, reducing our experiential world further and further as the weakened system need to be more excluded from that which weakens it. This is because the weakened, reactive part is not healed and likely we will end up eating more of something else due to our restrictions, thus creating a challeneg on tolerance for something else. Surely it would be better to find the ways to evolve and develop the person so they don't have to spend thier whole life avoiding things they react to (Other complications of this approach will be explored further when we look at emotional allergy in the next post).
So lets look at some of the ways we can manage allergy and what other options there are for dealing with it, starting with the conventional view.
In the conventional view there are really only two options, avoidance and drug therapy. The NHS Website lists a number of ways to take precautions and avoid potential allergens which is useful in terms of limiting exposure as does Allergy UK. And while these are essential and useful adjuncts to allergy management they are not very practical long term solutions as they don't solve the issue. This leaves you in a state where random and unexpected exposure to allergens may trigger reactions. Granted that when you have successfully avoided an reactive substance for a long period of time it may not affect you as dramatically with small exposure (indicating it was a low tolerance item not an allergy) but true allergy will react whenever you come into contact with it unless you have been lucky enough to self correct, which can happen over a period of about 7 years, but not in all cases.
The seocnd option is drug therapy. These come in several categories: antihistamines, which block the release of histamine; decongestants that clear stuffy sinuses; Leukotriene receptor antagonists, which block compounds that cause inflammation of airways; steroid treatments which generally are suppressing the immune symptoms. The body does a natural version of this and actually hides a lot of allergy response from our awareness. But synthetic steroids actually suppress the immune system and cause a host of side effects including male serility which if possible are best avoided. They again don't solve the problem, just stop the body from telling you that it has a problem. Lastly there is immunotherapy which is a drug based development of helping the immune system develop specific antigen tolerance for certain allergen. This works under the smae principle as homeopathy but is done using a synthetic drug based approach. It does come with some side effects and reactions which are very similar to the problem you are trying to avoid and there is indication that it causes (like steroid treatment) a supression of the immune system over all, making you prone to other conditions.
The non-conventional methods of working with allergy are generally looking at building tolerance in individuals to enable them to cope better with life in general which will in turn make it easier for the body to cope with substances that it struggles to metabolise. (remember that Tolerance is a metabolic issue, allergy is recognition so any amount causes the issue). Within that bracket you can consider Acupuncture, aromatherapy massage, reflexology and to a degree Bowen Technique (which has an incredible record with asthma, breathing difficulties and hayfever).
Methods which can work more preventatively involve Homeopathy which works like a much more gentle and safer version of the immuno therapy in my opinion. Herbal medicine which can be given very productively to encouage the reduction of histamine throught he use of herbs such as Rhodiola, Winter Cherry, Lavender, Lime Flower (Tilia europea), Thyme, Gentain, German Chamomile, Baikal Skullcap and Pit Shirish. But as with all of these non-conventional approaches you are strongly advised to seek a qualified professional in this field with experience of working with allergy.
Another successful mthod is the use of diet and nutrition to help by avoiding histamine producing foods and eating more histamine reducing foods. Those foods that increase histamine levels in the body (and therefore make you more reactive) include: Fish, dairy produce, nectarines, cranberries, cherries, apricots, oranges, dates, currants, loganberries, peaches, plums, papayas, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, prunes, spinach, eggplant and tomatoes. Fermented products including soy based products also have higher levels of natural histamine. Histamine triggering foods also include bananas, chocolate, eggs, fish, milk, papayas, pineapple, shellfish and strawberries. Histamine reducing foods include groups of foods that are high in Zinc, catechin rich teas, quercetin rich foods such as onions, capers, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, cranberries and raspberries. Other foods that have been shown to help reduce histamine or allergy reaction (if they are not something you have sesitivity to already) include salmon, green tea, red wine (in moderation) ginger, sunflower seeds, ginger, Chia seeds and foods ritch in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits (from organic sources) and pineapple.
The last non-conventional method and one I have extensive experience of successfully using is kinesiology. Kinesiology on the basis of how I learnt and apply it has techniques to help to 'teach' energetic recognition to the body so that it will recognise previous allergens when re-encountered (although low tolerance reactions can still be present) whcih I have seen work on clients who have had anaphylactic reactions previously to a substance. Using the Integral Patterning approach that allows recognition of how all quadrants can affect the energy of the body, we can also look at how to develop tolerance using a range of techniques including changes to your environment, nutrition and diet, energy exercises and changes in beliefs and emotional stress triggers; all of which, when changed can free up and change our energy to allow us to better manage all those aspects which tax our energy and appear as low tolerance. As a way to experience how kinesiology can support allergy and low tolerance, you can use this simple technique to help with any sudden onset allergic or substance reaction. It has been found to help reduce the severity and duration of about 80% of reactions, sometimes to the point of stopping the reaction all together.
In the next post in this series we will look at how emotional allergy develops and what aspects of our lives this can effect.
Please share your experiences of using any of these methods or any other metods that you have found make a significant difference to your experience of allergy and low tolerance reactions.
other references used in this post: