Thursday, January 30, 2014

All About Allergies

I think most people associate "allergies" with things like sneezing, hay fever or breaking out in hives. While these are common manifestations, allergies actually encompass a much bigger picture.

I found this basic definition online for allergies: "an immune response or reaction to substances that are usually not harmful."

While this is true, in reality the body can have a negative response (or allergy) to any substance. And symptoms are not limited to sneezing or itching. 

For example, a close friend of mine is "allergic" to certain weather patterns. How he feels day to day depends on high or low pressure systems, rain, clouds, etc. Certain weather causes depression and worsens his chronic fatigue. 

Another friend of mine is so "allergic" to electricity that she doesn't even own a computer, DVD player, cell phone, etc. Being around excess electricity causes her skin to burn (it feels like it's on fire). 

Both of my friends have lived with these allergies for years. Yes, these are unusual examples, but I hope they help you understand allergies in a broader sense. 

If you know my story, you've heard how for a while I was literally allergic to everything - foods, fabrics, paper, plastics, jewelry, minerals, vitamins, rocks and even water! My symptoms stretched across the spectrum from headaches and brain fog, to fibromyalgia and arthritis, to difficulty breathing and panic attacks. 

As the definition above states, an allergy is an immune response or reaction. I've come to understand that it's also a brain response. For some reason the brain identifies a substance as "harmful" and then reacts accordingly, so you will avoid that substance in the future. 

With harmless things like carrots or oak trees, there is no actual danger. Yet your brain/body has perceived a danger on some level. For this kind of allergy, I highly recommend Dr. Smith's CBT treatment, which basically tells the brain that the specific item is indeed safe and a reaction is no longer necessary. Using this method I have cleared my brain/body of numerous allergies, praise God! 

With harmful substances, like mold, toxic perfumes or fabric softener, the reaction is actually meant to be a good thing. Your brain is trying to protect you from being exposed to toxins, which are a genuine threat to your health. For this, I recommend avoidance as much as possible as well as using the DNRS brain retraining program. With these brain exercises I've worked at retraining my brain. This helps the brain not cause an allergic reaction to toxic things anymore, since I am able to protect myself consciously, by avoiding things I know are toxic. I'm careful to live as toxin-free as possible, so that when I do encounter a toxic substance, I can remind my brain that I'm strong enough to get through it - without a reaction.

In my opinion, allergies are a warning sign from the body that all is not well. If your immune system is labeling harmless things as dangerous, then it's clearly not functioning as it should. And if toxic exposures cause reactions, then you're probably overloaded with toxins, beyond what your body can handle. 

So let's get practical. 

1) Have you ever considered you might be allergic to something uncommon? Such as silver or diamonds? Paper or plastic? Calcium or vitamin B?

2) What physical symptoms have you had for months (or years) that you try to ignore? Could they be from an allergy to something you never thought of before? 

3) If you know you have allergies, then examine the current state of your immune system--is it crying out for help? Also examine the amount of toxins in your everyday life--do you need to detoxify your home and/or your body? 

4) What can you do with this information to take a step forward with your health today?

Many well-qualified people have written huge books on allergies. I'm trying to share just a little of what I know about them. I pray it's helpful. 

I'll probably write another post next week with more thoughts on allergies. Do you have any questions about allergies that you'd like me to address?

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