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Hypnosis for Allergies
What does an allergy mean?
Allergy at a glance
How do allergies develop?
Who is at risk and why
Common Allergic Conditions
Where are allergens? Everywhere!
How can Hypnotherapy help your allergies?
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What does an allergy mean?
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. It is misguided because these foreign substances are usually harmless and remain so to non-allergic people. Allergy-producing substances are called “allergens.” Examples of allergens include pollens, dust mite, molds, or foods. To understand the language of allergy it is important to remember that allergens are substances that are foreign to the body and can cause an allergic reaction in certain people.
When an allergen comes in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in persons who are allergic to it. When you inappropriately react to allergens that are normally harmless to other people, you are having an allergic reaction. Therefore, people who are prone to allergies are said to be allergic.
Austrian pediatrician Clemens Pirquet (1874-1929) first used the term allergy. He referred to both immunity that was beneficial and to the harmful hypersensitivity as “allergy.” The word allergy is derived from the Greek words “allos,” meaning different or changed and “ergos,” meaning work or action. Allergy roughly refers to an “altered reaction.” The word allergy was first used in 1905 to describe the adverse reactions of children who were given repeated shots of horse serum to fight infection. The following year, the term allergy was proposed to explain this unexpected “changed reactivity.”
Allergies Facts At a Glance
The most common foods that cause allergic reactions are cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system of defense against foreign invaders, particularly the agents of infection. The substances that trigger allergy are called allergen. Examples include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders, and certain foods. The most common allergic conditions include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
How do allergies develop?
To help answer this question, let’s look at a common household example.
A few months after the new cat arrives in the house, dad begins to have itchy eyes and episodes of sneezing. One of the three children develops coughing and wheezing, especially when the cat comes into her bedroom. The mom and the other two children experience no reaction whatsoever to the presence of the cat. How can we explain this?
The immune system recognizes and reacts to the foreign substances, which are called antigens. Antigens are substances that are capable of causing the production of antibodies. Antigens may or may not lead to an allergic reaction. Allergens are certain antigens that cause an allergic reaction and the production of protective proteins - antibodies.
The aim of the immune system is to mobilize its forces at the site of invasion and destroy the enemy. One of the ways it does this is to create protective proteins called antibodies that are specifically targeted against particular foreign substances. These antibodies, or immunoglobulins - (IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD), are protective and help destroy a foreign particle by attaching to its surface, thereby making it easier for other immune cells to destroy it. The allergic person however, develops a specific type of antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, in response to certain normally harmless foreign substances, such as cat dander. To summarize, immunoglobulins are a group of protein molecules that act as antibodies. There are 5 different types; IgA, IgM, IgG, IgD, and IgE. IgE is the allergy antibody.
In 1967, the husband and wife team of Kimishige and Teriko Ishizaka detected a previously unrecognized type of immunoglobulin in allergic people. They called it gamma E globulin or IgE.
In the pet cat example, the dad and the youngest daughter developed IgE antibodies in large amounts that were targeted against the cat allergen, the cat dander. The dad and daughter are now sensitized or prone to develop allergic reactions on subsequent and repeated exposures to cat allergen. Typically, there is a period of “sensitization” ranging from months to years prior to an allergic reaction. Although it might occasionally appear that an allergic reaction has occurred on the first exposure to the allergen, there must have been a prior contact in order for the immune system to be poised to react in this way.
IgE is an antibody that all of us have in small amounts. Allergic persons, however, produce IgE in large quantities. Normally, this antibody is important in protecting us from parasites, but not from cat dander or other allergens. During the sensitization period, cat dander IgE is being overproduced and coats certain potentially explosive cells that contain chemicals. These cells are capable of causing an allergic reaction on subsequent exposures to the dander. This is because the reaction of the cat dander with the dander IgE irritates the cells and leads to the release of various chemicals, including histamine. These chemicals, in turn, cause inflammation and the typical allergic symptoms. This is how the immune system becomes misguided and primed to cause an allergic reaction when stimulated by an allergen.
Who is at risk and why
Allergies can develop at any age, possibly even in the womb. They commonly occur in children but may give rise to symptoms for the first time in adulthood. Asthma may persist in adults while nasal allergies tend to decline in old age.
Why, you may ask, are some people “sensitive” to certain allergens while most are not? Why do allergic persons produce more IgE than those who are non-allergic? The major distinguishing factor appears to be heredity. For some time, it has been known that allergic conditions tend to cluster in families. Your own risk of developing allergies is related to your parents’ allergy history. If neither parent is allergic, the chance that you will have allergies is about 15%. If one parent is allergic, your risk increases to 30% and if both are allergic, your risk is greater than 60%.
Although you may inherit the tendency to develop allergies, you may never actually have symptoms. You also do not necessarily inherit the same allergies or the same diseases as your parents. It is unclear what determines which substances will trigger a reaction in an allergic person. Additionally, which diseases might develop or how severe the symptoms might be is unknown.
Another major piece of the allergy puzzle is the environment. It is clear that you must have a genetic tendency and be exposed to an allergen in order to develop an allergy. Additionally, the more intense and repetitive the exposure to an allergen and the earlier in life it occurs, the more likely it is that an allergy will develop.
There are other important influences that may conspire to cause allergic conditions. Some of these include smoking, pollution, infection, and hormones.
Common Allergic Conditions
The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Although the various allergic diseases may appear different, they all result from a misguided immune response to foreign substances in sensitive people. The following brief descriptions will serve as an overview of common allergic disorders.
Hay fever (Allergic Rhinitis) is the most common of the allergic diseases and refers to seasonal nasal symptoms that are due to pollens. Year round or perennial allergic rhinitis is usually due to indoor allergens, such as dust mites or molds.
Symptoms result from the inflammation of the tissues that line the inside of the nose after allergens are inhaled. Adjacent areas, such as the ears, sinuses, and throat can also be involved. The most common symptoms include:
Asthma is a breathing problem that results from the inflammation and spasm of the lung’s air passages (bronchial tubes). The inflammation causes a narrowing of the air passages, which limits the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Asthma is most often, but not always, related to allergies. Common symptoms include:
Allergic Eyes is inflammation of the tissue layers that cover the surface of the eyeball and the undersurface of the eyelid.
The inflammation occurs a result of an allergic reaction and may produce the following symptoms:
Allergic Eczema is an allergic rash that is usually not caused by skin contact with an allergen. This condition is commonly associated with allergic rhinitis or asthma and features the following symptoms:
Hives are skin reactions that appear as itchy swellings and can occur on any part of the body. Hives can be caused by an allergic reaction, such as to a food or medication, but they also may occur in non-allergic people.
Typical hive symptoms are:
Allergic Shock is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can affect a number of organs at the same time. This response typically occurs when the allergen is eaten (for example, foods) or injected (for example, a bee sting). Some or all of the following symptoms may occur:
There are of course, other types of allergies that we deal with and that we
help through hypnosis, and if you have not found your type on the list here,
please still feel free to call us for help.
Where are allergens? Everywhere
We have seen that allergens are special types of antigens that cause allergic reactions. The symptoms and diseases that result depend largely on the route of entry and level of exposure to the allergens. The chemical structure of allergens affects the route of exposure. Airborne pollens, for example, will have little effect on the skin. They are easily inhaled and will thus cause more nasal and lung symptoms and limited skin symptoms. When allergens are swallowed or injected they may travel to other parts of the body and provoke symptoms that are remote from their point of entry. For example, allergens in foods may prompt the release of mediators in the skin and cause hives.
We will assume that allergens are defined as: the source of the allergy producing substance (e.g. Cat), the substance itself (cat dander), or the specific proteins that provoke the immune response (e.g. Feld1). Feld1, from the Felis domesticus (the domesticated cat), is the most important chemical allergen in cat dander.
Allergens may be inhaled, ingested (eaten or swallowed), applied to the skin, or injected into the body either as a medication or inadvertently by an insect sting.
In The Air We Breathe
Breathing can be hazardous if you are allergic. Aside from oxygen, the air contains a wide variety of particles; some toxic, some infectious, and some “innocuous,” including allergens. The usual diseases that result from airborne allergens are hay fever, asthma, and conjunctivitis. The following allergens are usually harmless, but can trigger allergic reactions when inhaled by sensitized individuals.
In What We Ingest
When foods or medications are ingested, allergens may gain access to the blood stream and become attached to specific IgE on cells in remote sites such as the skin or nasal membranes. The ability of allergens to travel explains how symptoms can occur in areas other than the gastrointestinal tract. Food allergy - reactions may begin with tongue or throat swelling and may be followed by tingling, nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps. Nasal breathing difficulties or skin reactions may also be seen. The two main allergen groups that are ingested are:
Touching Our Skin
Allergic contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that is caused by a local allergic reaction. The majority of these localized skin reactions do not involve IgE, but are caused by cells of inflammation. The rash produced is similar to that of a poison ivy rash. It should be noted that when some allergens (e.g., latex) come into contact with the skin, they are absorbed by the skin and can also potentially cause reactions throughout the body, not just the skin. For most people, however, the skin is a formidable barrier that can be only locally affected.
Examples of allergic contact dermatitis include:
Allergic contact dermatitis does not involve IgE antibody, but involves cells of the immune system which are programmed to react when triggered by a sensitizing allergen. Touching or rubbing a substance to which you were previously sensitized can trigger a skin rash.
Injected Into Our Body
The most severe reactions can occur when allergens are injected into the body and gain direct access to the blood stream. This access carries the risk of a generalized reaction, such as anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
The following are commonly injected allergens that can cause severe allergic reactions:
How can Hypnotherapy help your allergies?
In modern hypnotherapy helping allergies we utilize the procedure of desensitization, where one is asked to rely on their imagination and creativity. The procedure, first used by Laura Ann Shurts and introduced to the National Guild of Hypnotists in 1988, demonstrates the gradual step by step process of desensitization from allergies, feelings associated with them and leads to new ways of behavior in presence of allergens. No medication, diet or exercise is needed, just the complete and utter will to get rid of allergies forever. Hypnosis had helped thousands of people so far. This technique is one of the most successful in the process of ridding of allergies today.
The procedure is lead by the facilitator/hypnotherapist, and involves the person willing to get rid of allergies, to recall and associate with the major feelings, which are triggered usually by having the allergy attack. The association with the feelings triggered by the allergy attack is associated in your subconscious with a particular stimulus. Through hypnosis you are able to mentally separate from this trigger. The therapist utilizes direct suggestion, to activate the processes of the brain, connected to the imagination.
What if you don't believe you are imaginative? Will the technique help anyway?
Yes, it will be successful. The hypnotherapist is trained to determine the
most effective suggestions to utilize, depending on the way you process
information. Your subconscious becomes fully aware of the process, during this trance session of disassociation and desensitization from the
allergy. While the conscious mind is resting, the subconscious mind is actively
working along with the therapist's suggestions. This diffuses the reaction
and aligns the conscious mind to a new pattern of thinking and behaving.
Retraining the brain's reactions to allergens, after awakening. Think of a
computer getting a software update.
"I've tried everything and this is the only thing that worked to alleviate my debilitating allergies." Jim, 45, hypnosis for allergies client
By Mark Schwimmer, CH, Mytho-Self (TM), NLP
The beautiful visual appeal of spring, with swollen tree buds popping forth to display colorful blossoms. A dazzling display of nature’s awakening from the long cold sleep of winter, all giving way to sensuous aromatic flowers of all types. The grasses, hidden under a blanket of snow, or stuck to the frozen ground, come to life as well, adding up to a veritable rebirth of color, and fragrance.
Thirty-five million Americans don’t see it that way. These people are allergy sufferers. Of somewhere upwards of fifty million allergy sufferers, thirty-five million are susceptible to reactions of varying severity to the weeds, trees, grasses and flowers which adorn our gardens, and abound in our parks. They sneeze, and wheeze. They have teary, itchy eyes, runny noses, and pounding headaches, from April until the last rose fades away some time in October. The daily news broadcasts never fail to remind them of elevated pollen counts, and program them for another day of allergy hell.
Millions of dollars are spent on remedies which offer temporary relief. Many go to their physicians to partake of painful injections to quell these debilitating allergic responses. Some, who don’t want the drowsy side affects of drug therapies, suffer quietly into their tissues, and hope for days when the pollen count is working in their favor.
In many cases there may be psychosomatic factors which cause or at least exacerbate some allergic conditions. Certainly allergies will be worsened by high stress levels which affect the body's ability to cope with allergens. Allergens are the irritants present in the environment which trigger the symptoms. In a time when the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals is questioned everyday, thousands of people are turning to hypnotherapy to treat their allergies with great success.
In modern hypnotherapy, for allergy sufferers, a procedure of desensitization is one of several methods being utilized. The client is asked to rely on their imagination and creativity. The procedure, first used and introduced to the National Guild of Hypnotists in 1988, demonstrates the gradual step by step process of desensitization from allergies. First, feelings are associated with the symptoms, then; the client is lead to new ways of behavior in the presence of the triggering allergens. No medication, diet or exercise is needed, just the desire, and belief that allergies are unnatural overreactions to the environment. This technique is one of many successfully used today, eliminating allergy symptoms for thousands of former sufferers.
The procedure is lead by the facilitator/hypnotist, and involves the desiring client, to recall and associate with major feelings, triggered by the presence of the allergy attack. The association with the feelings of the allergy attack is linked in subconscious with a particular stimulus. Through hypnosis the client is able to mentally separate from this trigger. The therapist utilizes direct suggestion, to activate the processes of the brain, connected to the imagination.
Whether or not you believe you have a good imagination, the technique is successful. The trained hypnotist determines the most effective suggestions to utilize, depending on the way the client processes information. The client’s subconscious learns to disassociate and become desensitized to the allergen. While the conscious mind is resting, the subconscious mind is actively working along with the therapist's suggestions. This defuses the reaction and aligns the conscious mind to a new pattern of thinking and behaving. Just like your computer, your brain updates the new behavior in relation to the presence of the allergens, and the symptoms are greatly reduced and in most cases, gone.
Pollen related allergies, are at the forefront of attention at this time of year. However, people suffer from all sorts of debilitating conditions relating to their allergies. At The New York Awareness Center, on the Upper Westside, successful treatment for all manner of allergy, and asthma conditions is available. In some cases where severe, life-threatening reactions to foods or environmental conditions are present, we work with physicians to insure the safety of the client. Mark Schwimmer, National Guild of Hypnotists Certified Consulting Hypnotist, tells of a client who had been hospitalized on numerous occasions due to reactions that caused dizziness, fainting, and severe swelling of his feet and ankles. “Together,” Mr. Schwimmer, said, “we worked to uncover a part of his awareness that was able to make necessary therapeutic adjustments which quickly eliminated his symptoms. He was able to overcome those limitations, in a few sessions, which were preventing him from living a productive life. It’s incredibly rewarding to assist a client who has all but given up the hope of leading a productive life, because the severe effects of allergy symptoms were untreatable through other methods.”