It is estimated that around one in four of the UK population suffers from an allergy at some time in their lives, and research suggest that numbers are increasing. Each year the number of affected people increases by an estimated 5%, with as many as half of all those affected being children.
The reason for the growth in the effects of allergies is not fully understood, but may relate to our increased exposure to chemicals and pollutants (including cigarette smoke), changes in diet, increased attention to hygiene and an increase in the use of antibiotics. These last two factors reduce our exposure to beneficial bacteria that help to prime our immunity against allergic responses.
The organisation Allergy UK defines an allergy as a response within the body, to a substance, which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a predisposed person, which in turn can cause inconvenience, or a great deal of misery.
It is possible to be allergic to a substance without knowing about it, or experiencing any noticeable reaction effects. It becomes a problem when the reaction becomes pronounced. An allergic reaction is essentially an over-reaction of the body's immune system to a normally harmless substance.
Allergic reactions are caused by substances in the environment known as allergens, which contain naturally occurring protein substances. An allergic reaction occurs when the body's immune system gets ready to fight against these allergens and triggers the release of histamine. It is the released histamine which causes the symptoms associated with an allergy such as sneezing and shortness of breath. In a severe reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, it can cause dilation of the blood vessels leading to a decrease in blood pressure.
Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. A mild reaction may be followed by a severe reaction at a later date. A mild allergy may include nasal congestion and blockage, itching and sneezing, skin rash, and watery discharge from the nose and eyes. More severe reactions may occur very rapidly and result in difficulty breathing and low blood pressure. This type of reaction should be treated as an emergency and immediate medical attention should be obtained.
Types of allergen may vary and almost anything can be an allergen for someone.
Some common, and some less common, substances that people can be allergic to are listed below;
One of the best ways to stay allergy-free is to simply avoid the allergens which cause the allergic reaction. So if, for example, you have a peanut allergy, it makes sense to avoid peanuts or foods which contain them. However, this assumes you can identify the causative allergen(s) and in many cases such avoidance is impractical.
It is thought that in many cases there may be psychosomatic factors which may 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. In these cases hypnotherapy can be used to treat the allergy with great success, an example is this hypnosis download on hayfever relief.
The immune system can be heavily influenced by our unconscious mind, and it is thought that many allergic reactions may have a fundamentally psychological trigger. It may be possible for example for someone to unconsciously trigger an immune response as a way of escaping from a stressful situation. This process is involuntary in the conscious sense and can be seen as a fundamental survival mechanism. Hypnotherapy can be utilised to identify and remove this conditioned response behaviour.
Hypnotherapist Dave Elman believed that many allergic reactions are the result of past traumatic experiences and repressed emotion. Elman believed that where a patient suddenly begins to have a strong allergic reaction which previously did not occur, the allergy has probably always been present, and that only the reaction to it has changed, and that the severe reaction is precipitated by an emotional problem.
"Since the allergies have always been present and probably always will be, all that can be done in the light of present knowledge is to correct their effect. To my knowledge, no way has been found to cure an allergy; when we remove the reaction, we haven't caused allergen-sensitivity to disappear."
(Dave Elman - Hypnotherapy, 1964, Westwood Publishing Co.)
Of course we now know much more about the medical causes for conditions such as hay fever and asthma, however it still holds true that the effects of these conditions may be severely affected by emotional trauma or stress. It is not possible to 'cure' an allergy with Hypnosis, but it can be used to help manage the reactions to an allergy. Hypnotherapy can be used to work on stress or emotional factors which may be exacerbating the allergic reaction (eg. When the immune system is weakened as a result of stress) and thereby have an indirect effect on the intensity of an allergic reaction.
Not all allergies can be assisted by hypnosis, and when considering treatment in relation to an allergy then your doctor should always be consulted before commencing any course of hypnotherapy. After obtaining a medical diagnosis it may be worthwhile consulting a professional therapist to see whether hypnotherapy could help.
There are other dietary and alternative approaches to the treatment of allergies. There are a range of antihistamine drugs which are readily available over the counter, including non-sedative types. Eating more fish can be beneficial by increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Fruit and vegetables providing high levels of antioxidants (especially vitamins C and E) can be beneficial. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids found in citrus fruits have a natural antihistamine action. Supplements containing these elements may be taken.
Hypnosis recordings which can be downloaded right now and listened to via your computer or mp3 player. Available for many issues. Titles include 'Healing Power'.
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