For students and practitioners of complementary and alternative therapy everywhere.
Allergy Questions & Answers by Jane Thurnell-Read
Over the years I have used kinesiology to allergy test thousands of clients. During that time clients have asked me many different questions, but here are some of the more common ones with my answers:
You say I am allergic to X, but I’ve tried not eating it/wearing it, and it didn’t make any difference, so could you be wrong?
Of course, I could have made a mistake in my testing, but a more likely answer is that when you removed X you replaced it with something else you are allergic to. For example, one client stopped drinking milk and drank orange juice instead, but he was also allergic to oranges, so his eczema didn’t get any better.
How soon after eating something I’m allergic to will I experience a reaction?
There’s no definitive answer to this. I’ve known some clients have diarrhoea long before an allergen could have reached the intestine, and other people where it has taken over a day before a reaction has happened.
How can I be allergic to perfume, when I don’t wear any?
Even if you don’t wear perfumes yourself, other people do. Also many household and personal care products are perfumed. Even ones without any apparent perfume may contain some fragrance to disguise the unpleasant smell of an active ingredient.
I’ve bought a non-allergenic product, so that can’t be a problem, can it?
Sadly there are no safe foods or products. There are some that are less likely to be a problem than others but I’ve had an asthmatic who was allergic to non-biological washing powder but fine on the biological ones, a child who became hyperactive on eating carrots, including organic ones, a migraine sufferer who reacted to decaffeinated coffee but not to regular coffee, and a child with eczema who was allergic to cotton, but fine with synthetic materials.
What’s the difference between allergy and intolerance?
If a person has an allergy, they will react to even the smallest amount of a substance, but intolerance is related to the quantity of the item the person encounters - you only has a reaction when you exceed your tolerance level. We probably all have tolerance levels for everything, but if your tolerance level for, say, oranges is 20 a day, you probably won’t ever have a problem with them. Tolerance levels aren’t fixed. They go up and down according to how stressed you are. The more stressed you are the lower your tolerance for everything.
Sometimes I can eat X OK, and sometimes it gives me a reaction. Why’s that?
There are several possibilities. It could be that you’re not really allergic to X but you are to a pesticide that’s often used on it – you’d only react when it had been sprayed with that pesticide. Similarly some people react to food moulds, and there may be mould on the food long before it’s visible to the naked eye. Often though this sort of thing is a question of tolerance. For example, if your tolerance were for a small orange, you’d only have a reaction when you had a big orange, or when you had a small orange plus some marmalade in quick succession. Sugar is interesting. There are two types of sugar – cane and beet. Manufacturers will often not specify on the package which sugar they are using, because they want to use whichever is cheaper at the time. So for example, if you were allergic to cane sugar, you’d only react when the manufacturer used cane sugar in the product.
The doctor’s test doesn’t agree with your testing. Who’s right?
Well, of course, we could both be wrong, or both partly right. I often find I don’t agree with hospital allergy testing. In fact I joke that if I agree I think I must be wrong, so I want to re-test. At the end of the day the real test is whether you get better when I fix the things I think you are reacting to.
You say I’m allergic to X, but I always feel better when I eat it, so that can’t be right, can it?
One of the strange things about allergies is that people often become addicted to the thing they are allergic to. Not having it means you suffer from withdrawal symptoms, so that when eat it again you feel better. You associate the good feelings with the food – you’re just like a drug addict really!
You say I’m allergic to X. Will I have to avoid it for ever?
Fortunately almost certainly not. I use health kinesiology and that has procedures for fixing allergies permanently. [Some other therapies can also do this]
I know you are going to help me, but in the meantime is there anything I can do when I’m having an allergic reaction?
Some people benefit from taking nutritional supplements. Vitamin C, for example, might help. Flower remedies, such as Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy is often good too. The best thing I know is to tap acupuncture meridians. This only works temporarily, but it really can give dramatic relief to most people. Let me teach you this temporary allergy treatment and then you can do it yourself when you need to.
Why have I developed allergies?
It’s difficult to say exactly, and in fact I’m not that interested in why you developed allergies; I’m interested in fixing them. But there are several possibilities. Allergies run in some families – my family was like that; my father was allergic to sunlight and I was allergic to wheat; one of my sons was severely allergic to cigarette smoke and moulds, and the other reacted to wheat and some food colourings. Stress can play its part too. Sometimes particular traumatic events can explain a particular allergy. One of my clients was allergic to wool and tea. She told me that when she was a small child she had pulled a cup of hot tea on to herself. At the time she was wearing a wool sweater, and the tea soaked into the sweater and burnt her very badly. It’s also been suggested that if you’re kept away from dirt and animals as a baby, you’re more likely to develop allergies. Infections and vaccinations have also been linked to the start of allergies.
You say I’m allergic to wheat, but I don’t eat much bread, so that can’t be right, can it?
Wheat is in all sorts of things as well as bread – pasta, pizzas, biscuits/cookies, cakes, and it’s used by manufacturers as a thickener.
I think I’m allergic to wheat, because every time I eat bread I feel bad, so why are you saying I’m not?
There’s more in bread than just wheat. Lots of people are allergic to the bakers yeast in bread. Also it is possible to react to the bran in bred physically, so for example, if you’ve got a tendency to irritable bowel syndrome, the bran can scrub the delicate membranes and inflame them even more.
I get side effects to my medication, can you help with that?
In my experience a lot of side effects are actually allergic reactions, so I may be able to help.
Are allergies on the increase?
I think the answer to this has to be ‘yes’. When I was young, allergy in children was very rare. I had eczema but I didn’t know any one else who had it, nor did I know a single child with asthma. I think doctors are more willing to diagnose some diseases such as asthma now, but even so everything points to allergies being on the increase.
If you've enjoyed these questions and answers, you'll probably enjoy reading Jane's book Allergy A To Z.