allergy testing

ALLERGY AND INTOLERANCE TESTING AND TREATMENT

What are allergies and intolerances?

An allergy is an abnormal reactivity to a substance. Some reactions can be severe, immediate and obvious, and sometimes even life threatening. Such reactions, involving a certain type of your immune system’s antibodies, are best detected using a blood test, available on the NHS. The trigger substance for such a reaction is usually easily identifiable even without a test. The antibodies causing this reaction will usually remain present in your blood for life. There are however several other kinds of reaction, with a number of different causes. Some involve a different type of antibody, and these arise from the overexposure of your immune system to a certain substance, for example because of an unbalanced diet, impaired digestion, or damaged gut-lining, or the occupational use of certain chemicals. Other reactions, such as abdominal bloating and discomfort, may occur because your digestive system is not producing the required secretions to digest certain foods properly, perhaps because your diet is lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. An imbalance in the organisms that inhabit the gut may also cause problems. Some foods share specific types of chemicals with other foods, and then reactions may not always seem to occur in relation to the same food, because the reaction in fact occurs only once a certain amount of these chemicals have accumulated in the body. All of these kinds of reactions can be referred to as sensitivities or intolerances, and may be incredibly varied in their effects; some effects may be felt very quickly after eating or contacting the substance, others may take 48 hours or longer to appear. Food sensitivities are often ‘masked’, in that there is no obvious connection between eating the offending food and the appearance or aggravation of symptoms, until an exclusion diet is completed.

Testing for Food Sensitivities, Allergies and Intolerances

There are various methods that can be used to identify such sensitivities and intolerances, none of which can claim complete reliability. Methods include blood tests, intradermal ‘pin-prick’ tests, elimination diets, kinesiology, as well as electro-dermal screening and bioresonance. Computerised electro-dermal screening (CEDS) and bioresonance enable testing for reactivity to by far the widest and most comprehensive range of substances, and have many other advantages over other methods in terms of time, expense, ease, and comfort; moreover, they are able to assist in identifying the causes of these problems, such as candidiasis, poor enzyme production, impaired liver detoxification, nutritional deficiencies, etc. Testing typically involves the use of bioresonance equipment, which is very similar in nature to CEDS devices. Screening is facilitated by the use of bands circling the head, wrists and ankles, while you remain clothed and seated. Your reactions to selected electronic frequencies, each associated with a certain substance, are then measured and analysed. You feel no discomfort. The results are analysed and assessed in the context of an accurate and extensive case history and additional means, such as kinesiological procedures (muscle testing), may be used to corroborate results. Allergens and other sensitivity triggers, whether these be foods or environmental factors (like pollens and animal hairs), can be identified in this manner, and a suitable exclusion diet, where relevant, will be tailored to the individual’s needs, without a full elimination diet and slow item-by-item reintroduction of foods being required. Nutritional factors will also be assessed and tested for. Everyone has their own individual requirements of vital nutrients to maintain healthy functioning of tissues, organs and systems. Deficiency can result in impaired digestion and food sensitivities. Impaired digestion and reactions to foods also result in required nutrients not being absorbed properly from your diet, compounding your problems further. Such considerations are taken into account when dietary modifications are suggested, and nutritional supplements may be recommended where appropriate.

How can allergy and intolerance testing and treatment help me?

Knowing what is triggering or aggravating your symptoms can give you the power to transform your life. Identifying your sensitivities is often just the first stage of the process however; even those who already know what they react to can greatly enhance their quality of life by undergoing treatment to reduce or even eliminate their sensitivities, thus increasing the range of their diet, for instance, or decreasing their reaction to pollens or pet hairs. Babies and children can be tested. Some conditions that may be influenced by food sensitivity include:

  • mental and emotional states (eg depression, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability)
  • behavioural and learning problems (eg hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder (ADD))
  • autism and other autistic spectrum disorders
  • chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and myalgic encephalitis (ME)
  • celiac disease
  • digestive problems eg heartburn, ulcers, colic, constipation, candidiasis, bloating, etc, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • migraines and other headaches
  • skin conditions (eg eczema, dermatitis, urticaria, hives, rashes, etc)
  • respiratory tract disorders (eg asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, hayfever)
  • musculo-skeletal complaints (eg rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia)
  • otitis media (glue ear)
  • immune system problems (eg certain autoimmune disorders, allergies, recurrent infections)
  • weight problems (eg tendency to put on weight, or keep it on, or difficulty gaining weight)
  • eating disorders (sometimes food sensitivity reactions can mimic bulimia)

What happens during treatment?

The aim in working with clients is to achieve rapid relief from symptoms, while addressing their underlying causes. Whilst mere identification of food triggers, for example, can result in a restricted diet that relieves symptoms, unless the real issues are addressed this diet will either have to be followed permanently, or worse, as happens in some cases, further sensitivities develop, resulting in ever more restrictive diets. If you have lived without sensitivities for a significant portion of your life then there is every reason to suppose, in most cases, that you can return to being able to tolerate foods that are now problematic. Our approach is ‘results orientated’; since the causes of most problems are multi-factorial, the solutions also often need to be. Hence when you come to be tested you will be thoroughly questioned as to the nature of your problems, and how they started; other features of health will also be noted. This information helps with the analysis and subsequent treatment of your condition. Advice given is recorded in a folder, which you leave with, covering various issues such as dietary modifications (eg foods to avoid, reduce, rotate, substitute or eat more of) and recommended supplements. Herbal tinctures may be used to detoxify, tone organs, stimulate digestive secretions, or eliminate candida, and homeopathic remedies to address stress, which often plays a large role in disturbing digestive function. Specific desensitisation drops may be prescribed in the case of problems triggered by pollens and other environmental triggers. The first time you come you will need to have avoided food and drink (except for water) for two hours before the appointment… though you are advised to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Although some people choose to come for a single visit, and benefit greatly from this, many cases benefit from one or two further consultations, or ongoing supervision, (typically at 4-12 week intervals, lasting 30-45 minutes).

Allergy Therapist:

SINEAD ROONEY BSc LCPH MARH