Treating my allergies naturallySaturday, November 05, 2016
Cat and dog fleas, diesel fumes, feathers, plant pollens, house dust mites, dog hair, cat hair, lily pollen, and cut grass.
These are my food and environmental allergies.
How do I know this? Because I recently went to see a Natural Allergy Therapist, who performed a muscle test to ascertain these allergies.
I had no idea what to expect when I arrived, but I'd reached a point where I'd try anything to combat my reoccurring sinusitis.
I knew that I had a dairy intolerance or allergy that either caused or exacerbated my sinusitis, but I also felt there was something else as well. Sugar beet came as a surprise, and could explain the skin issues I've been having. I'd linked the cause to my diet but hadn't considered the possibility that it could be due to an allergy. Alcohol makes sense now that it's been confirmed... it wasn't just a hangover after all.
Please excuse my simplified explanation here, but this is how I understood what I was told in my consultation, so if you know better, please feel free to correct me.
Natural allergy testing is based on ancient Chinese medicine, using meridians - energy channels in the body - which uses similar principles as acupuncture, which has worked well for me in the past (I took this as a good sign).
The muscle test shows a negative or positive reaction to substances when they're placed on one of your energy channels, in my case on my belly.
The therapist asked me to gently resist her trying to gently pull my arm away from my body. If I was allergic to a substance I wouldn't be able to resist.
I admit, I was dubious, but it worked. It was an odd sensation but I truly had no control over my arm when I was exposed to an allergen.
I was tested for over 330 allergens. These were grouped in small boxes and to start off with a box was placed on my stomach, if it contained an allergen it was put to one side to be investigated further.
Once I had my pile of allergen boxes, I was tested again with each of the little bottles, each containing different possible allergens, within the box. This is how I came to learn of the lists of allergies I have above.
The next step was to decide what to treat first, each treatment cost £10, on top of a £75 consultation fee. I decided that lactose, cheese and alcohol where my main concerns. I'd given up dairy on the advice of my GP and that's difficult enough, I couldn't imagine giving up alcohol altogether as well!
Food allergies are easier to treat as you can eliminate them from your diet completely while being treated - or desensitised. Obviously, it's harder to get away from environmental allergens entirely, so I left those for another day.
Most treatments work first time, with serious allergies sometimes needing a second go. Treatments work at desensitising the body to the allergen, in the same way that a vaccination works by injecting you with a small amount of a virus so you can build up a resistance. The remedies are phials of liquid that you drop under your tongue once or twice a day for a week or more.
My therapist gave me a detailed plan of when to take what, and for how long. Over the next five weeks I'll be - hopefully - desensitising my body to some of my allergens. Then I'll go back for a follow up appointment to be tested again. Some of the allergies I'm not currently treating might sort themselves out as I tackle these three. Others that remain can then be treated if I want to.
When the desensitisation is complete I can slowly reintroduce these substances into my diet. Not a whole wheel of brie all at once (it's been known), just a tiny morsel here and there to begin with.
I really hope it works, I want to be rid of sinusitis but also living without dairy has been hard - and not just because I have a deep love of cheese but because it makes eating out so flippin' difficult. Some of the joy of food has been taken away from me and I've never been one to shy away from enjoying my food - it's one of life's pleasures.
So fingers crossed for a positive outcome. I know that sinusitis isn't the worst illness a person can have, I'm lucky that it's an irritant in my life rather than a life changing illness, but when you spend almost every day with a feeling of varying pressure in your head, sometimes accompanied with painful aches behind one or both eyes, a pain that can creep into your lower jaw, and a sensitivity to light, it can get you down. It can wear you down. And I've had enough.
So I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic, and I'm keeping everything crossed.