Treating Allergies With Environmental Medicine

Like conventional allergists, environmental-medicine doctors place a premium on environmental control. Doctors preach having at least your bedroom as an oasis. You want a place where you can get a good night’s sleep because that will often be enough to give you good health through the day when you are exposed to those things you react to. You have to reduce the total load.

Like conventional allergists, environmental-medicine doctors also use drugs and immunotherapy. However, for them, the balance is heavily tipped on the side of immunotherapy. However, for the, the balance is heavily tipped on the side of immunotherapy.

Still, drugs are sometimes a necessary evil, especially when the pollen is so thick that you can barely see out of your car windshield. On those kinds of days, anyone who is pollen-sensitive is going to have symptoms. That is why you need oral medications or inhalers.

Immunotherapy
Environmental medicine’s approach to allergy shots is similar to that of conventional medicine. By taking a little “hair of the dog that bit you,” you gradually retrain your immune system to tolerate substances that set it off. If you are lucky, the effect is permanent and you are essentially “cured.”

The difference is that environmental-medicine doctors are able to use higher starting concentrations of the offending substance, which have been shown to bring more immediate and long-lasting symptom relief. Unlike conventional allergists, they also use allergy shots to treat food and chemical sensitivities.

Although conventional doctors do not claim that these higher concentrations are necessarily harmful, they believe that allergy shots are primarily useful for inhalant allergies – such as pollen and mold – and can be dangerous when used to treat food allergies.

Here are a couple of environmental medicine’s forms of immunotherapy.

Enzyme-potentiated desensitization
This form of immunotherapy is used to desensitize patients to an entire category of allergens. For example, the aeroallergens category would include pollen, mold, and animal dander. Tiny injections of these allergens are given several weeks apart. Since doses are much weaker than other allergy shots, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase is added to increase, or “potentiate,” the effect.

Optimal-dose immunotherapy
The “optimal” does is just short of the dose that produces symptoms. By starting with higher concentrations, environmental-medicine doctors have shown that patients can complete a course of immunotherapy in as little as 2 years.

Additional Allergy Treatments

In addition to immunotherapy, the following treatments may also be used by environmental-medicine doctors.

Dietary changes
Great emphasis is placed on finding and eliminating foods in the diet that cross-react with other allergens, especially pollens. One example is eggs, which sometimes cause a double reaction in patients who are allergic to oak tree pollen. Practitioners often counsel their patients to cut back on or eliminate sugar, refined wheat, and dairy products, and they encourage eating a varied, organic diet.

Exercise
Most of us simply don’t move enough. Probably 50 percent of all the symptoms are caused by insufficient physical movement. Most sufferers will achieve about half of the relief that is available to them simply by adding an hour of appropriate physical movement into their daily routine – even walking whenever possible.

Sauna therapy
Also known as heat depuration therapy, sauna therapy is often used to treat multiple chemical sensitivity, based on the knowledge that sweating releases toxins stored in fat. When supervised by a doctor, patients in the sauna are generally given vitamin, mineral, and fluid replacements.

Stress reduction
Since emotional upheaval can make allergies worse, environmental-medicine doctors often recommend supplemental mind and body therapies such as psychotherapy and massage. Getting rid of stress helps the whole system. If they follow a stress program that lowers the level of cumulative stresses, patients often get better, even without any additional lifestyle changes.

Supplements
The number of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements that can be used for allergy is almost limitless. But some supplements come up over and over again in the medical literature. Among them are vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium.