What are Allergies?
What are Allergies?
So why is the definition of allergy so variable?
It simply depends on what model of the world we are working with. This can be split quite simply into a conventional medical model and a post-conventional model which also supports the existence of subtle energies in the body. These two world views tend to dominate the definitions in this area, but which is right. Well they both are, partially. They express world views which are complete and adequate within themselves but are actually only a partial view of this occasion. If we use an integral perspective we can take the commonalities and useful aspects of both of these views and arrive at a more complete, more adequate view that will at some point still become the partial view that will be included in the next model to arise.
Lets start with the conventioanl medical view as its base definitions will be built on for the post-conventional view.
Here is the definition taken from Wikipedia:
An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is formally called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions are distinctive because of excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This reaction results in an inflammatory response which can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.
And from the NHS Website:
Allergy is the word used to describe an adverse (bad) reaction that the body has to a particular food or substance in the environment. This is a reaction produced by the body's immune system when it encounters a normally harmless substance.
And from the Allergy UK website:
An allergy is the response of the body's immune system to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, food, or house dust mite. The body has an automatic reaction to what it sees as a threat, and while in most people these substances pose no problem, in those with allergies the immune system identifies them as a threat and produces an inappropriate response to them. Allergies are classified into IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated allergies.
Then lastly drawing from the definition I work with that was initially developed by Health Kinesiology:
Substance Reactions are an altered energy response (disturbance) at the BioEnergetic level.
The last two definitions contain some important additonal information that is not present in the standard definitions. Firstly that there can be non-IgE mediated allergy responses and second that it is a disturbance of BioEnergy.
So what does this mean?
After working with allergy since 2001 when my kinesiology training began I can confidently assert that the body can react to anything. It doesn't matter if its branded as 'healthy', 'natural', 'chemical'; anything can trigger a response in the body and that may take as much as 72hrs to appear.
We are looking at the body's inability to metabolise a substance due to a lack of recognition and therefore failure to correctly categroise it for correct metabolism. In a simplistic way this can lead to the body excreting substances it should be using or storing, leading to the appearance of deficientcy in certain nutrients. Storing substances it should be excreting, leading to weight gain, inflammation and tissue toxicity. Or it will treat the substance like an invading pathogen, even when it might be considered 'harmless', giving rise to immune responses such as sneezing, rash (inflammation), digestive changes, right up to anaphylaxis.
In fact what I have found is that almost any symptom in the body can be created by or exacerbated by substances we are allergic to.
There is a long debate between various brances of clinical ecology (the medical study of allergy) about the the causes of allergy. On one side they say that there must be an Ig (immunoglobin) reaction present, the other says that there may or may not be Ig reactions. Part of the problem with medical testing is they rely heavily on the presence of IgE to confirm a diagnosis of allergy. But the pioneering clinical ecologist Dr Theron Randolf, in his publication of over 1000 medical papers, showed that not only was IgE not a good indicator (there being 4 other Ig molecules that could trigger), but that you could record allergic response and see absolutely No Ig activity what so ever.
Randolf conducted many studies where he was introducing substances into a sealed environment with the participant having no idea of what they were encountering. From repeating this thousands of times he developed a scale ranging from +4 to -4 that showed different hyper and hypo reactions to substances. This strongly supports the kinesiology view that there is a BioEnergy disturbance at tissue level creating a change in cell behavior.
What is more the IgE reaction which is mainly for parasitic worms and certain protozoa infections is the most powerful stimulator for immune reactions and does seem present in most strong and extreme alergic reactions. But most medical allergy response ignores the IgA which is found mainly in mucos membranes (lungs/digestion). IgD which triggers B cell activity and is not very well understood. IgG which is the most abundant antibody secreted by B cells and binds mainly to pathogens but is linked with certain types of hypersensitivity. Lastly IgM which is the largest antibody an the first to appear in response to an allergen.
So given the wide spectrum of possibilities it seems a shame that most 'confirmed' allergy is only in response to IgE which is mainly in the blood. So unless the point of reaction is in the blood, not the skin, or lungs or digestive tract; there may not be an IgE response to measure. But as Randolph showed there can still be a measurable physiological response.
I have always found the kinesiology definition to be effective and it helps to explain many of the anomolies in allergy theory and has lead through to some very effective work which has included significant improvements even in anaphylactic level reactions.
But what about tolerance? What is the difference?
The NHS website classifies tolerance as:
Intolerance – this is where a substance (such as lactose) causes unpleasant symptoms (such as diarrhoea) for a variety of reasons, but does not involve the immune system. People with an intolerance to certain foods can typically eat a small amount without having any problems. In contrast, people with a food allergy will have a bad reaction even if they come into contact with a tiny amount of the food to which they are allergic.
Within Health Kinesiology, they have always looked at tolerance as a metabolic issue. That is, as suggested above, that the body is able to recognise the substance, so no allergy, but its ability to metabolise it is limited. This generally means that if a person has a small amount of the substance on an irregular basis, then it will generally cause no reaction. But if they have too much, have it too often, or have it when they are stressed, run down or ill; times when the body's capacity to manage is reduced due to the greater demands already placed on it. Then there will be a reaction. Which outwardly can be the same as an allergic reaction, but the reason it has triggered is different. This is due to the body's limited ability to express that it has a problem. Once the system has been overloaded by the excess of the substance, its like a circuit breaker blowing.
This goes further to explain why sometimes a pattern of reaction can be hard to identify. But this is easier if we take into account other aspects oif your life that might be challenging you more. It also makes more sense that when you are well on all levels that you can cope with more and when not, then you cope with less.
Further posts in this series will look at how we can identify and manage allergies and what the cause, symptom and management of emotional allergy is.
In the mean time if you would like more information about the services I offer for this then click here.
I would love to here any comments you have about the post and about your experience of allergy, so please feel free to jooin the discussion.
This is not intended as a who's right and wrong, just looking at the partialness of the various views so we can compile the most compete and adequate model possible at this moment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this