For the MS Newsletter

Written for the MS Newsletter
By Louise Marchionne Dip AT(Dist) MRAT
Allergies are now sadly becoming all too familiar to us. An allergy is a condition in
which the body’s immune system regards an everyday, ordinary substance as an
invader – an ‘allergen’ or ‘antigen’. It responds to it by producing antibodies in an
attempt to remove it from the body. The production of antibodies by the immune
system also triggers the release of histamine. This release is what causes the
inflammation associated with allergic responses, e.g. wheezing, skin rashes, sneezing
and hay fever. It is possible for these symptoms to develop into more serious
conditions such as eczema and asthma.
In an extreme reaction, when inflammation is severe, a dramatic drop in blood
pressure may occur, leading to a loss of consciousness known as anaphylaxis.
This is obviously serious and can be life-threatening.
There are many causes for allergies: genetics, poor weaning, food poisoning, stress,
excessive toxins, illness, poor nourishment, and over-exposure to certain substances.
It is also possible to acquire intolerances or sensitivities to certain substances or foods
which, while they may not provoke such classic allergic responses described above,
nevertheless make us feel unwell because the body is reacting to this substance as a
toxin. When this occurs, our immune systems become overloaded, and we may begin
to experience symptoms which indicate that we are not functioning at an optimum
level. This is the body’s way of protecting vital function.
The decision to train in Allergy Therapy came about as a direct response to personal
experiences of food intolerances and illnesses.
As an Allergy Therapist, I have found that a range of troublesome conditions – IBS
symptoms, food cravings, indigestion, acne, wheezing, skin rashes, fluctuating
weight, insomnia, fatigue, catarrh, thrush, athlete’s foot, aching joints, shaking legs,
visual disturbances, mood swings and PMT – may be improved or lessened in their
severity by using this type of therapy.
Allergy Therapy helps us to understand cause and effect, that is, to make the
connection between what we are eating and its impact on our immune systems and
general wellbeing. This connection between diet and wellbeing dates back as far as
Hippocrates and Lucretius, who in the first century coined the phrase,
‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison.’ It is a phrase that demonstrates an
understanding of individual nutritional needs and dietary responses, and since this
time several others have made simple and yet ground-breaking discoveries regarding
allergic responses, often testing their theories on themselves.
It was a Dr Coca who first noted that after eating certain foods, his pulse would
increase, and this observation prompted him to write a book called The Pulse Test. In
the 1930s, Dr Albert Rowe devised the elimination diet as a way of determining what
foods were causing allergic reactions in his patients.
However, it was in 1936 that Dr. Herbert Rinkel, after much research and his own
personal experiences, presented his theory of ‘masked’ or hidden food allergies.
He speculated that there were two types of food ‘allergy’.
The first type, which causes an obvious and prompt immune response, had already
been recognised. The second type relates to food sensitivity.
With this latter type of allergy, foods can provoke a less obvious response. Patients
can and do feel a little unwell every day, and slowly but surely acquire symptoms that
they learn to accept as part of their ‘lot’.
Some common symptoms of food intolerances are digestive disorders, headaches,
aching joints, sleep disturbances, mood swings and excessive tiredness. Patients often
crave the foods that make them feel unwell and do not make the connection between
what they eat and their symptoms. In fact, these patients often go through a
withdrawal period if these foods are eliminated from their diets. Ironically they can
therefore feel better after they have had their ‘fix’. However, this feeling of wellbeing
is only short-lived.
The slow but sure accumulation of symptoms and decrease in a sense of wellbeing
had been defined and named in 1926 by Hans Selye, who called it the
‘General Adaptation Syndrome’ or ‘GAS’. He studied the effects of long- and shortterm stress on the body. This theory is based on the notion that the body learns to
cope with all the stresses it has to deal with, both internal and external. Unless
addressed and halted, the body ‘adapts’ to functioning under par but at an eventual
and huge cost: the slow but sure depletion of the immune system. When this does
finally occur, the body will go into a rapid state of decline (illness).
The human body has an amazing natural ability to heal and defend itself; however,
sometimes it needs a little extra help and small changes can make a big difference.
Allergy Therapy works with the notion that by removing ‘offending’ foods or
substances that may be a cause of stress to our body and adjusting our diet, and by the
use of some supplements, we may eventually become more able to regain optimum
health. Some examples of common food allergens are sugar, nuts, wheat, cow’s dairy,
oranges, tomatoes, eggs, oats and yeast.
Allergy Therapy, then, is holistic(1) and takes a naturopathic(2) approach. If we correct
what is going on internally, then the symptoms that we have grown accustomed to and
have learned to live with on a daily basis may lessen in their severity, or may even
disappear as we regain our optimum health. In an age where we have more choice
available to us than ever before, it may be surprising to learn that we are generally
eating a less nourishing diet. One that so often includes foods that are not in season
and are, quite simply, confusing to our systems because they are not offering us the
nutrients we need from the environment and the climate in which we live. Perhaps,
then, we are unwittingly over-exposing an out-of-balance body to a monotonous and
potentially harmful diet.
It was Theron Randolph who shortly after the Second World War discovered that
people who suffered from food allergies often experienced fewer reactions to organic
produce than to non-organic, a fact that would now surprise very few. Indeed, most
of us are now aware of the health benefits of organic foods, not only because
pesticides and other chemicals are removed from the process of food production but
also because organically produced foods can support traditional farming methods.
Such methods support the level of nutrients that are rapidly disappearing from our
soils as a result of intensive farming methods.
If the soils struggle to nourish the crops, how can the foods produced by the crops
nourish us?
Allergy Therapy therefore supports the ethos of eating organic, local and seasonal
produce. In a sense, then, the health issue can be seen to have a global dimension. If
we are all encouraged to look after ourselves, as well as each other, then perhaps we
will feel more inclined to look after our environment.
In its process, this therapy offers a tailor-made diet. It recognises that we are all as
individual as our thumb prints; that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It
therefore aims to support those strengths and tries to minimise the weaknesses. The
type of Allergy Therapy I practise tests people using kinesiology. This is based on the
Chinese Meridian Theory. It is a muscle test, which has the advantage of being quick,
painless and non-invasive. It has also proven to be a very effective therapy with
children, as it has that ‘magical’ element which seems to capture a child’s
imagination. Even with children who may be too young to test, a friend or family
member can be used as a ‘surrogate body’ for the testing, and this has proven to work
very well. This is also true for any person who may seem too frail to be tested.
It is a therapy that can take you on a fascinating journey; you will no doubt experience
many peaks and troughs during treatment. For most, however, the therapy proves to
be beneficial in myriad ways.
If you would like any further information about this therapy, then please visit the
(1) Holistic – addresses the belief that all of the body’s systems and functions
need to be working in harmony with one another in order to maintain a sense
of wellbeing.
(2) Naturopathic – refers to therapy which aims to (restore and) support the
body’s healing power from within using treatments such as nutrition, dietary
supplements, medicinal plants, counselling, exercise, homeopathy and
treatments from Traditional Chinese Medicine.