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Full Version: You make me feel like a natural-ly health woman! (Alternative medicine thread)
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I have to say, I get very angry at the generalising about antidepressants. I took effexor for years. It worked very, very well for me. Coming off it was hard, but that's because it reactivated my depression, not because I had any kind of "withdrawal." (I came off it because I was pregnant and the doctor advised changing to prozac. When I started that again I was fine within a couple of days, but the in between was a hellish few days. It felt exactly like my old depression.)

Not to say people never have problems, but a lot of people stop suddenly, don't listen to medical advice, then blame the drug because they have "withdrawal"--which would most likely have been avoided if medical advice had been followed.

I just get really angry with how eager people seem to be to believe bad stuff about antidepressants,and to spread scare stories. What about the horrible effects of untreated depression? Not everyone needs meds, but some of us do, and if you do, then you do, and there's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.
the problem i have with this whole scenario anoushh is that her doctor told her to just stay on it when she said she wanted off and asked him how. he's basically forced her to have to suffer through withdrawal or whatever other negative side effects she may experience doing this unsupported and unadvised by a physician. not because she didn't ask, but because he refuses to help her. that bites. i'm sure it would be easier with his help but he won't and she's stuck on the drugs or going through the hell of getting off of them on her own. betcher butt he isn't the only doc with that attidude either. maybe if she tells hers she wants to get pregnant he'll actually help her out.
it may have worked for you, and i'm glad it did, but it sounds like it worked 'cause your doctor isn't a big fat jerk.
anoushh, effexor worked great for me but it did do wierd things like change my vision. and if I even skipped a day of it, it was pure hell with the withdrawal symptoms. I'll admit that I went off of Paxil cold turkey and had bad withdrawal for about a week but Effexor has been 100x that for me just skipping a dose. the reason doctors say I can't get off of it is b/c they don't make dosages where you can gradually wean yourself off of it. I think Effexor is a good drug for people w/ depression and anxiety. But Wyeth Pharmaceuticals should have gone a tad further and anticipated the withdrawal symptoms of the drug or at least warned people about it.
I think it's abhorrent that your doctor isn't giving you any options, cloverbee. For whatever reason you want to get off of it, there's no reason you should have to suffer through withdrawl. I did it with Zoloft and it was awful. I think I was on a relatively small dosage, and for about two days, I was just physically uncomfortable, with hot and cold sweats, I couldn't focus on anything, I couldn't sit was bad and I'll never go off a drug like that again (my prescription ran out, I was suffering the sexual side effects of it and felt like I could manage without it, so I just went cold turkey- bad, bad, bad, bad.)

Like anoushh said, you cannot generalize the effects of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds. For some people, the chance of side effects are worth the risk if it helps the feeling of depression. You should be under doctor supervision, be properly informed about the potential side effects and be conscious of the way the meds are affecting your body- if you feel like it's not working, or you're experiencing side effects that you can't tolerate then you should stop in a gradual, guided way.

Is your doctor a psychiatrist, cloverbee, or a general practioner? Is it possible for you to get a second opinion somewhere else? It's worrisome that whoever you are seeing isn't respecting your requests to get off the medication in a healthy way and hasn't informed you of how the medicine works.
I really like being on effexor. It makes me feel soooo much better than when I was depressed. And I love the dreams I get being on it. Has anyone else noticed that? That your dreams are sooo vivid? That can make for some VERY good dreams if you know what I'm saying ;).

But as clover said before, one day not taking the pill is hell. I don't even think my depression (at it's worst) was as bad as that. And my doctor never ever told me anything like that. I had to find it out myself the hard way. So I do agree that some dr's are idiots, esp those who disagree with someone trying to come off the meds and try a more natural method. But if I had even thought that any natural supplement would help me just as well, I would have probably taken that instead. good luck, clover!
clover, I went off Effexor using a similar approach. I took maybe three weeks total to get off about 150 mg/day and, personally, I didn't have too many issues with withdrawal symptoms.

Just take it slowly, as you're doing, and pay attention to what your body and brain are telling you. Doctors are not always right about what is best for you; they don't know you as well as you do. Just be aware of yourself.
hey, not to be a party pooper, but just wanted to suggest that the conversation about anti-depressants be taken over to the depression thread cause this one has kinda gotten hijacked!

of course if anyone does have any suggestion of alternative med type aids to coming off antidepressants, then great! but the discussion of whether or not they are good etc. doesn't really belong here...

(i really hope this doesn't sound bitchy, it's not meant to!)
well, i wouldn't neccessarily visit the depression thread, not being particularly prone to it myself, so i've really appreciated reading what everyone has said here. there is depression in my family and i'm interested in understanding it, and i think that valuable advice can be gleaned by people who don't have the perspective of being depressed themselves as well, so... as much as i can see the point of keeping things where they go i've enjoyed the cross over this time.
If I read a comment like "effexor is horrible stuff" I feel entitled to comment. Untreated depression is not only horrible, but potentially fatal. Lots of medications have side effects, but they are a worthwhile trade off for what you get as a result. I think we are very rigid about mental health drugs in a way we arent' with others.

And it's nonsense that it doesn't come in different doseages. It comes in 75 and 37.5mg capsules. I was on 225mg a day and I did one week at 150 mg and one week at 75, then one week at 75 every other day. No drug comes in every single possible dose, so as much as I think drug companies are scum, even if we do need their products sometimes, the manufacturer has not been irresponsible in the doseages they market.

If your doctor is telling you to stay on it, maybe he/she is concerned about how you'll be off it. I know if I went to my doctor and said I was coming off antidepressants, she'd read me the riot act. And with my history, she'd be right to do it, in terms of her obligations as a medical person.

Also, I don't blame doctors for not spending huge amounts of time and energy saying "you might have these horrible side effects." People often go away then being sure they will, when it's only a small percentage that do. Read the depression thread on this forum and you'll see it expressed again and again and again that people expect to have side effects, just because they heard it's possible in some rare cases. They put themselves off taking a drug that could be very helpful because of a "maybe." Sometimes that's the right choice, but would you do that with non-psych drugs? Not nearly as much, I'd guess.

Still, I think she'd tell me what to do safely, even though she'd make it clear she disapproved strongly, for my own safety. You do, of course, have a right to stop taking any medication, and it's not for your doctor to say you "can't."

I don't think anything in terms of alternative health is going to make a difference here, though. Do it slowly, and make sure you eat right and exercise. I think messing with your system in other ways at the same time as going off antidepressants could be potentially dangerous.

You are right. they do have different doses but not in the increments that I would be able to handle as I am extra sensitive to the withdrawal symptoms I guess. I understand that the side effects that some drugs carry pale in comparison to the effects of depression and I respect that some people are willing to make those sacrifices in order to help themselves feel better. I was lucky enough not to have depression but I did have dabilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Effexor has been a wonder drug for me and I guess a lot of people and I may not be able to live w/out it.
well, I have taken this convo over to the depression thread as not to further hijack this one so....on that note...........ciao
i was probably the one who said effexor was horrible stuff. i was taking it for off-label uses, it didn't help in the long run, and withdrawal was hell. that's my personal experience, and it seems that brain chemistries and reactions to pharmaceuticals can be highly individual.

if it, or any other drug, helps you, then by all means, take it. but if a drug is giving you side effects more than it's helping, or not really helping at all, it's certainly worth going off it and seeing if something else, pharmaceutical or otherwise, can help.

Just take it slowly, as you're doing, and pay attention to what your body and brain are telling you. Doctors are not always right about what is best for you; they don't know you as well as you do. Just be aware of yourself.

that seems like a good way to look at it. doctors, in my experience, often don't seem to understand the extreme level of sensitivity some of us have to drugs. i usually have to go off a strong drug twice as gradually as the most conservative doctor recommendation, though of course i'll still seek medical advice before taking that sort of thing on.

i think it may have been my comments that anoushh was responding to initially, so i thought i'd respond on this thread.

does anyone have an idea about the comparative prices of organic meats? i'd much rather support sustainable farming (read anything by michael pollen, he's got lots to say about that), but i also don't have much money. i don't eat all that much meat, and try to eat lots of stuff that isn't laden with preservatives and artificial flavors (love trader joe's for that stuff), but it might be nice to see about better meat choices as well...
Organic meats are a tough order to really get an idea of how your meat was raised...well, you'd pretty much have to raise it yourself, and watch it. There's organic meats, and they have to meet FDA standards, and that's all well and fine and good, but how do the cows, chickens, pigs actually live? Many of the "organic" farmers do not treat their livestock any better than corporate mega farms, and there are some growing organic mega farms, and they seem to be organic in feed only. 10 chickens crammed into a 3' cage is not what I hope for from organic meats. That said, I do the best I can, always buying meats that are as organic as I can find, and I ask where the meat came from, and this time of year, I can get true free-range chicken and eggs at the farmers market - for which I pay a dear price, but its worth it, since I'm directly supporting the farmers I believe in.

As for price...I haven't bought non-organic in a long time, but I think chicken breasts are something like $2.50lb here, and organic its $ there's significant mark up. But I pretty much only buy boneless skinless thighs, as they have a lot more flavor, are moist, and take to marinating very well - those are $2.99lb at my natural foods market. I don't eat beef, so I can't really speak to that.
I know we're moving on, but I wanted to mention that there are animal studies that suggest that Prozac might have life-long effects on the unborn child. Since we now know that it stimulates nerve growth, it makes sense that it would have an effect on the developing child.

It's certainly better than the mother being a danger to herself while pregnant, but it isn't risk-free as doctors used to tell women.
*jumps in*

my 10 pence as far as meat goes... imo it's better to have non-organic meat from a little local farm that you know care about thier animals that from an unknown "organic farm" - if just because the animals' quality of life is guaranteed. And generally smaller farms don't really use a lot of chemicals/hormones as they can't afford them; they use the bare minimum to keep their animals in good health (the same goes for thier feed - they don't put a lot of chemicals on thier silage crop because that stuff is expensive shit). If you have a little local butcher, they can usually tell you what you're getting in the local meat.

Sustainable farming isn't quite the same as organic farming - a sustainable farm doesn't have to be organic, but relatively close to it (going organic can do more damage to a farm than you'd think). But I'm more concerned with supporting small local farmers.
The majority of my extended family are independent cattle ranchers in the western US, so I'm pretty familiar with the growing practices of 'conventional' (as opposed to organic or natural) beef producers. Also, I worked as a buyer for a large natural foods retailer for nearly a decade and have had a lot of contact with organic, biodynamic, and otherwise sustainable or natural livestock growers.

I just have to say that the statement, "generally smaller farms don't really use a lot of chemicals/hormones as they can't afford them" is NOT applicable in most of the US (I dunno about the UK's farming/livestock practices).

Small farmers and ranchers (in the US) often operate on a shoestring and are forced to seek out financing via bank loans, government subsidy programs, or contracts with giant agribusiness co. like ADM. And oftentimes, they are required to buy all the chemicals, submit a spray plan, a vaccination plan, etc. in order to get any money for operating costs (or their farm's mortgage).

Aside from Hutterites, Amish, and a few old school hippies, it's extremely rare to find a non-organic cattle rancher in the US who doesn't use antibiotics and vaccines on their animals.

And while I know that the corporate overtaking of organics has led to the development of non-sustainable but nominally "organic" farming practices, for most independent small farms and ranches, going organic is very good for the land and/or the herd.
p.s. Of the 'big-name' national (US) organic brands for meat and dairy products, Organic Valley is, IMO, one of the best. They are a huge co-operative of farmers and ranchers, and they have a good reputation in the natural foods business. Horizon, OTOH, has a rep as being dodgey and not complying w/ organic standards.

More info:
Does anyone here drink Kombucha? I swear to god, it is magic. Soooo good and goos for you. Plus you get this great energy rush, way better than anything caffine can give you. I have one almost everyday. The other day I had the worst headache, but I had to drive to SF to see DJ Tiesto with my brother for his grad. I had one on the way down, and about twenty min. into the drive I felt Amazing. Which is a miracle seeing as I have about 2-3 headaches a week, and when I get them, they don't go away unless I sleep them off. Good thing too because we were out till 4. Whew. I was wondering, is Kombucha only a Northern Cal. thing? Or do you have it on the east coast? I had a harder time finding it when I went to LA, but most health food stores did have it. Only problem is it's bloody expensive at $3 a bottle. A friend of mine makes her own, and she might give me a mushroom, but it sounds like a lot of work. Does anyone have any experience making their own?
Ok, lotsa questions, but I just got really excited :-)

there is a bunch of info on it on wikipedia if you want to learn more...

(fyi, looks like it is no good for people with yeast or intestinal problems...)
re: kombucha, it's been around for a while and it's definitely not just a northern cali thing. i think it's russian originally. maybe it's harder to find it pre-made, but it's definitely not new. my mom was really into it in the nineties, and we lived in the northeast US. she brewed her own. she just kept it in a thermos and kept adding water. i dunno, maybe she did more, i don't remember, but it didn't seem too difficult, certainly not for her to do, and she was teaching full time, doing workshops two or three nights a week, and taking care of me.
p.s. off the cleanse. did o.j. and then soup, and whole grain cereal with soymilk. i ate cheese today but regret it--feel gross. i did make some hella good veggie soup though from basically nothing. kind of awesome.
komucha tea is called "tea" because that's what's in it. Tea. black tea and sugar that the "mother" eats and whatever it lets off is the fizzy ferment that you drink. sounds gross, i know, but it's actually quite delicious.
but, ah, that "lift" it gives you? that's because it's BLACK TEA AND SUGAR. heh.
Actually, from what I read, it's supposed to be very good for yeast and intestional problems. It contains Gluconic and butyric acids which both help to fight yeast and lactic acid for the digestive system. As far as the sugar, it is processed by the mushroom, changing it's chemical composition. Not sure about the black tea though. The "lift" is much different than a caffine high, so I don't quite think it's that. Doesn't have that groggy come-down feeling. Hey, it's got to be a better habit than coffee. As far as it's origins, I always thought it was Chinese, but it's actual history is somewhat hard to trace, as it seems many cultures indulge. I just meant, is it as popular elsewhere as it is there? (I just happen to have a lot of hippie friends, so maybe that's it. :-)) I do know alot of health nuts who swear by it, and it always makes me feel great. Kinda like when I eat sushi: satisfied, but not weighed down by nasty stuff.
another link for more info
sorry about the double post!
i don't know how it could possibly be good for yeast, a) mushrooms=fungus, b) it contains candida (yeast), and c) it is fermented (more yeast).

plus, there are warnings that it is risky for people with certain intestinal problems, because of the chances of opportunistic bacteria in it overgrowing and making you very sick!

...just for the record!
it's not actually a mushroom. they just call it a mushroom. it's a bacterial culture, not actually a fungus. but yes with the yeast.

i think it's cool, kind of like a sourdough bread recipe. use a little bit from the first batch to start the second. :-)

i never drank it, but my mom was a big fan.
As far as I understand (and I've been battling with yeast, UTIs and BV for at least 5 years) the kind of yeast that you eat is not the same as the yeast that grows in your body. Not all yeast is Candida, as it is a very specific kind. In addition, it is so broken down by your body that the chemical composition has changed signifcantly. Sugar makes much more of an impact than yeast does as well. Plus I'm not sure how eating a mushroom could be automatically bad for you. They have been consumed for health reasons for thousands of years. The kind of fungus that a mushroom is is not always the same as the kind that came cause health problems. As for the fermenting, it can be caused by adding yeast (as with some kinds of alcohol) but not always. In this case, it is the mushroom breaking down the sugar that causes the fermentation.
I totall agree with you that people who have certain types of problems (like intestinal) should avoid certain things, but that doesn't make them harmful to people with perfectly health bodies.
OK, right, so did just look it up again, and it is a colony of bacteria and yeast (yes I was wrong :-)), however, a friendly variety. Yes, there are many types of harmful bacterias and other such things. However, there are just as many, naturally occuring in our bodies, that are essential to health and well being.
you can't use a little bit of the last batch to start another. the tea part yes, but the actual kombutcha is a solid(ish) mass. and you certainly don't EAT the thing *shudder* it's like an alien life form or soemthing. it's hard to describe if you haven't ever seen or handled one. my neighbour has about eight thousand of them in all of his cupboards (because they just keep dividing!!) and keeps trying to get me to take another one but really, they are a LOT of work. i killed the last one with earl grey tea, or was it mint? anyhow, the volatile oils in the tea did her in. she turned black and spotty as she slowly died. i suffered from guilt when i put her in the trash, it was like having killed my pet.
and as for the sugar getting used up, by the time that happens the tea is really bitter, too bitter for me anyhow. i know a lot of people drink it before that when it's still quite fizzy and a bit sweetish. it really is delicious.
i would hesitate to use it if one has a compromised intestinal system. same with rejuvelac, research shows that there is good bacteria and bad as well. not enough that a health system can't handle it without problems but enough to be harmful for someone who's body is already struggling to maintain good health.
kombutcha sounds scary. I have enough of a hard time remembering to water my herb plants, I'm not sure I'm ready for a high-maintenance fungal life form. ;)
i'm sure it's great for people with 'normal' intestinal flora, but just wanted to make note about the yeast thing because i'm pretty sure anyone with really extreme yeast sensitivities (such as myself) would not be able to safely drink this.

in the systems of people who can't fight off yeast when it's consumed, any amount of any kind of yeast sets things off. so much so that not only yeast has to be avoided, but also any fermented foods (including vinegar, alcohol, soya sauce, chocolate, etc...), and in some really extreme cases other fungi (like on cheese, mushrooms...)

and although sugar is what feeds the yeast, if there is basically no yeast in your system, the sugar doesn't do anything. like if i am strictly on my no-yeast diet and eat tons of sugar, nothing happens, but if i eat more than a tablespoon of ketchup (contains vinegar) in a week--bam! yeast.

i suffered like crazy for years from nearly constant yeast infections. took all kinds of meds for it including diflucan, which is really nasty. and nothing worked until finally, i saw an allergist who told me to go on this yeast-free diet, and it's the only thing that works for me. when i stick to it, i am totally yeast-free. when i cheat, i can feel it!
anybody here have any experience with the hell that is a gall bladder gone bad? I am suffering, and cannot afford to have the surgery right now. I'm also interested in anything I can do, if possible, to avoid having to have it removed. I know it filters out fat and well, I've made some dietary changes, begun an exercise program and started to lose a little weight. I am sure that is why it is acting up, as careful as I've been with my diet. I've also been doing the unfiltered organic apple juice, which really does seem to help if I do it every day. The problem is I ran out and didn't buy more. I am heading out to by some as soon as the store opens, cause this is misery. Any suggestions out there for me?
lively--i have heard of watermelon juice and apparently some sort of herb whose name means "bears ears". i do not know the correct name of the herb, my friend was taking it and got really excited that that was the meaning. i can do some research and try to find out for ya. no personal experience with it tho, just hearsay.
teflon and scotchgard toxicity article, just thought people here might be interested if you hadn't already heard.
thanks mouse, I will see what I can find on google :-)
OHMIGOD. someone save me from my hayfever. my eyes are itching and burning, my throat is itchy and sore, i'm phlegmy, i'm sneezing, and my nose is stuffy and running, and post nasal drip? more like post nasal waterfall.

the claritin just isn't cutting it anymore, and i have to get two cavities filled this week (today and tomorrow cause they're on two different sides), and i can hardly breathe through my nose.

please, someone help!? what can i do???
you can try Quercetin. It is a natural bioflavanoid that has been proven to help hay fever. OR, you can start on Flonase or another prescription for nasal steroids BUT they can take up to a month to work. There is no quick shot unless you use some OTC drugs which can and will probably make you drowsy. I am suffering w/ you so you are not alone. I am on Flonase and Zyrtec year round. Hope that helps!
Midge, go the health food store near you and look for Biochemical Tissue Salts. It sounds like the salt that would be most helpful for your allergy symptoms right now is Natrum Muriaticum in a 6x or 12x potency. You can take these salts 4 times a day, 4 pills at a time, allow them to dissolve under the tongue (they taste sweet and dissolve instantly). You can also take a 4 pill dose any time you feel your symptoms "acting up", so you can address them immediately.

They'll help alleviate the symptoms and also help to make you stop being so allergic all together.

And they rarely cost over $15. The biochemical tissue salts are just inorganic (meaning we can't get them from our food) minerals that work both on the energy level as well as on the biochemical level. They work instantly, are extremely bioavailable, and work on the cellular level. They are not like supplements or herbs--they are more like homeopathic remedies.

Hope this helps.
Can't some foods aggravate allergies (is that what hayfever is?)? I think if you're allergic to pollen and especially ragweed, you're supposed to stay away from chammomile, sunflower seeds, and melons.

I have a friend who has had success with eating a spoonful of local honey every day in the spring, so that's something to keep in mind for next year.

I haven't had many problems with seasonal allergies beyond the occasional sneeze since I stopped consuming cow's milk.
Just a few thoughts on allergies:

1. Allergies, particularly allergies which recur seasonally, have little to do with actual allergens and much to do with your own compromised immune "defense" reactions. You are reacting to your environment not because various material stimuli is present so much as your whole body's ability to heal itself and function properly has been depleted. Inflammatory responses, allergic reactions--these are signs of extreme depletion.

2. Because of this, "eliminating" stimuli or allergens only suppresses or delays your symptoms. Your body's trying to tell you it is defenseless--it will do so at every opportunity because that is how it acts to restore its health. If you stop eating specific foods, it will be only a matter of time before other foods create problems. If you try to avoid plants or pollens, you will find others will bring on your symptoms as well. Limiting your exposure to what you think triggers the inflammatory response only provides temporary relief, which is great, but it doesn't cure the sensitivity and the immune system overreaction.

3. Because this is an alt. med. thread, you have to consider the holistic approach to any kind of treatment. When I see patients who suffer from allergic sensitivities, I don't ask "What are you allergic to?". I ask "Who are you allergic to?". Something has got to wear you down enough to make you this weak and sensitive--and it is always some kind of relationship (personal, professional, familial, whatever) which makes you susceptible to this kind of illness. Do some of your own research on yourself: there has to be a correlation to the time of year the seasonal allergy occurs (for those who suffer from allergic asthma, for example, that time of year is usually weeks 34 to 39...anywhere in the world); what happened to you during that time, in the past, to make you susceptible?

It's not the allergen that's significant, it's what makes you susceptible to it that is.
wow chachaheels, I always thought my immune system was TOO efficient and it responded to TOO many things and that's why I had allergies. I am a very healthy person (IMO) and I have the worst allergies of anybody I know. I have been suffering since childhood w/ allergies.
Okay busties, I went out and bought a juicer. so now where do I find recipes for juices? I also invested in a food processor so no more hand chopping my veggies!! I'm on a whole new diet w/ more fruits and veggies and less sugar and processed foods (lean cuisines). and I just thought I would share a great recipe with all of my bustie friends: You can thank me later ;)
Here it is:
1 lb brussel sprouts (shredded)
1 tbs. soy sauce (light)
1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder
1 tbs. olive oil
pour olive oil in pan and heat it up. add brussels and stir fry for 2 minutes, add other ingredients and stir fry for two more minutes. how cool and easy is that?????????????!!!!!!!!!
clover, my understanding of allergies is that it's an over-reaction to a stimulus. Your body has a basic defense level against foreign substances - such as pollen - but in an allergic reaction, the defence system is over-triggered, leading to an excessive release of histamines etc. Allergies are made worse when you're tired, ill, worn down etc because the defence system is already active & on the alert. It can help to eliminate certain triggers as much as possible because it lowers the body's natural level of mast cells & antibodies, but, as chachaheels said, eliminating a trigger entirely doesn't always help, because the body becomes used to a constant low-level exposure.

Oh, "thirst" by nigel slater is a good juice book.
A lot of people believe that good health = absence of any kind of disease, but the truth is good health is demonstrated by the body's resilience when faced with challenges to its vitality. Our bodies are built to create and maintain homeostasis--when efficient immune systems actually encounter allergens or microbial "threats" such as viruses, bacteria, germs, genes, etc, they simply do not succumb to those morbific influences. They contend with them effectively, and health and homeostasis is maintained every time.

We all deal with allergens, viruses, microbes, disease threats every single day (in fact, all of us are managing diseases such as cancer every day, and our bodies effectively take care of the "threat" by eliminating these organisms through our systems). Only when we become compromised in our abilities to maintain homeostasis in our bodies do we become sick: and then, if we can't deal with whatever is making us susceptible, we stay sick. The healthiest people are those who are able to figure out what makes them susceptible to the ubiquitous presence of all illnesses, because their bodies "learn" how to effectively react to the illness and restore homeostasis.

People who never get a cold, skip childhood diseases, never develop reactions after vaccines, and never suffer and recover from the minor epidemics we all face (like the flu) never develop the resiliency their bodies need to actually produce symptoms which are created when the body tries to heal itself--something it does remarkably well, if it's given the proper support and attention. People with severe allergies often fall into the seemingly "healthy as a horse--never even had a cold!" category. Allergies, as mornington says below, are a sign of the body over-reacting to a simple, everyday, ever-present protein...something it should manage easily and simply, without producing massive inflammatory and histamine reactions. That over-reaction is a sign of extremely depleted defenses.
yeah, i'd rather stay away from prescription meds, that's why i posted here! luckily, it started raining today, so i am feeling a LOT better! i've had some people recommend stinging nettle to me though, so i might try that if/when it gets bad again.

hellotampon--yes, definately there are seasonal cross-reactions to certain pollens, with fruits and veggies, i try and watch out for that if all of a sudden foods are bugging me that usually don't. and i've heard that about the honey, i think i'll keep trying to eat more of it on a regular basis through the spring, cause normally i eat a lot more in the winter (in tea).

chachaheels--while i totally appreciate your input, i've been confronted by people who have similar belief systems towards allergies and ibs as you do, to put it nicely... well, lets say i really disagree with all that. what mornington said about over-reacting and histamines and all, well i'm pretty practical, and to me it is obvious that is what is happening. i mean, i definately think that stress can make ibs worse, but past events causing allergies...well, i'm not convinced in the slightest. besides, i have a great 'immune system', i rarely get colds (knock on wood) even when my boyfriend gets sick, i manage to stay healthy most of the time. so i am pretty convinced that the immune system isn't what is run-down. and i know you said that people with allergies are often healthy, but that seems really contradictory when you are also saying people allergies have depleted defenses.

i feel like your stance is that if people like me with allergies and chronic illnesses would just work through their psychological problems, they'd be cured. but i don't see links between my relationships and my allergies, and no, i'm not in denial, i've gone to therapy, i'm self-aware... but what i can see is links between my allergies and the pollen levels in the air! i guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm more scientifically minded...i hope that didn't sound too harsh, it's hard to explain over typing...
I'm w/ you midge. I get sick, maybe, every three or four years IF THAT. my roommate gets sick and I drink after him and STILL don't get sick. But get me next to a blooming tree and I'm out for the day. I think that my body produces such a reaction to the pollen b/c my immune system is on top of things, not that it's depleted. if it were depleted, there would be no defense against the pollen, hence no reaction.
interesting theory clover, it does make sense... seriously though, i can kiss my boyfriend when he's sick, even though i try to avoid it during the early more contagious stage, but still nothing... although if i feel like i'm starting to get a sore throat, i'll suck some zinc/echinacea, and wake up fine the next day.
"you can heal your body" by louise hay.

i'm with the chachee (i mean that in The Best Possible way, btw) lady on this one girls.
okay, let's arm-wrestle!!
Actually, I said people "seem" healthy: seeming to be healthy is not the same thing as actually being healthy. If you've got allergies of any kind, you are not in a state of health; your health is very much compromised. That's what I wrote in my post below. Even though the whole idea of an "immune system" is still, technically, very much just a theory in medicine, it has a bit of validity if you want to observe the way the body acts on a purely material level. I don't want to sound harsh either, Midge, but I don't see the "science" in your thinking: just a misunderstanding in what health really is.

Only when people begin to become healthy again do allergies stop being a problem (yes allergies can be cured, without shots or anti-histamines, and even without changing diets). When you have allergies, you are susceptible to everything: and your body is incapable of healing any threat it comes across. That is why so many people who have allergies "never get colds"--their bodies are depleted of the energy to heal themselves, so that they can't even create something as simple as a cold to help them do this. That is, by the way, what colds are designed to do: eliminate the wastes created by a healthy lymphatic system, wastes created by a healthy immune system (such as that accumulation of mucus we all know of as "stuffy nose, coughing, and sneezing"). Colds force you to rest, they force you to eliminate the built up wastes your body's created in healing itself on a daily, ongoing basis. To help colds along, you drink plenty of fluids and sleep as much as possible--the most regenerative form of healing takes place during sleep. Colds are the mechanism by which the body does one of its own "full spectrum internal cleanses", and it is an extremely efficient mechanism for this purpose.

When you can't even do this for a long enough period of time, the body is forced to react to anything, even the smallest threat, like an allergen it should have no reaction to, as if it were poisoned--with massive inflammatory responses, lots of sneezing producing no relief, diarrhea (for many, many people who suffer from allergies), and other drastic measures. No wonder people who suffer from hay-fever have so little energy! It's like their bodies have to put a whole "fight or flight" reaction into place when it should be able to exist in the world with no susceptibility to various proteins or allergens around them. Many kinds of allergies, like the allergic asthma I mentioned below, aren't even related to particular pollens or proteins--the active time for these allergies all over the world is during that cluster of weeks from week 34 to week 39 or so. People in the arctic are reacting allergically in the same way people in Australia are reacting, even though the seasons and vegetation are completely different. Why, on such a worldwide basis, is the pollen/allergen/protein issue irrelevant? The only thing these allergic people have in common is susceptibility.

As for what you perceive my stance to be on people who are sick, well, I don't know why you feel that taking a holistic approach to illness means saying "you are psychologically responsible" for your disease. That's not the point of holistic healing--you don't have to take it that way. When I ask my patients "who" they are allergic to as opposed to "what" they are allergic to, they begin to examine their lives and their actions and reactions, and invariably they see a direct link between situations in their lives that cause them immense stress and really frustrate them spiritually, emotionally, and physically. When they can identify that relationship to their work or to their family or to their friends, they can begin to understand what "wears them down", what makes them susceptible to illness. As for me, it's enough that they just identify that (I use homeopathy to treat people, so I just go by what that stated problem is, and that helps me choose the right remedy...the remedy then allows patients to change that interaction for themselves in a way which benefits them). I don't delve into psychology, or blame, or whatever you think--it's not necessary in the least to what I do, and it's a waste of time for me and my patients if it comes into our work together. People who seek out holistic therapy of any kind have to be ready to really understand themselves and their lives so that they can work towards becoming healthy.

If you really just want a pill or a dietary regime to follow to make your symptoms go away without doing the necessary work of knowing yourself, you can stick with conventional medicine and prescription drugs...but even there, without doing that crucial work, they won't do much for you either.

ummm... i know you don't know me in real life, but i have done a lot of work on "knowing myself", thankyouverymuch.

allergies do work seasonally, just like the way my hayfever went away as soon as it started raining.

and a cold is not a cleanse, a cold is a virus, it's an infection that passes from one person to another, and the symptoms are that of the body fighting off the virus. that's why you get tired, because your system is battling the virus, and you need more fluids because you get dehydrated making all that phlegm. i don't even know how this is a debate!

anyway, as much fun as this is, i'm going to be away for the next eight days, sans-internet, so you all will have to continue on without me in the meantime!

have a good week!
chacha, I love you for your thoughtful posts, and I'm with you. I'd been sick with allergies for the first 25 years of my life, and got shots and pills from age 3 to 24, and finally, the sickness got so bad I really bottomed out - migraines everyday, puffiness, allergies, asthma...misery. My MIL referred me to an amazing naturopath and medical intuitive, and first we started with basics - restoring my body's natural bank of nutrients with supplements, homeopathics, and acupuncture, while reducing the stress on my systems by eating foods that were more appropriate. I took a TON of stuff out of my diet upped the water intake, and lived pretty strictly there for awhile, but the understanding wasn't that I was never to eat a slice of wheat bread again, it was on giving my body an initial break from all its work trying to eat foods that were much more taxing on my lymph system.

So I did that, and WOW, was it an immediate, grand success, with me going off all the allergy meds within a week, and just letting my body rest and get to know itself again. Over weeks and months, the puffiness receded, weight melted off my body, and the most amazing thing was how *clear* my mind was, and how much more creative energy I had. Once that baseline was set, the really hard work began.

I did two years of emotional release work, acutpuncture and cranial sacral therapy with various healers, and that was what really began to create true wellness and wholeness in my body and spirit. It wasn't fun, and took constant minding, but I am so grateful that I did the work, and put myself back in charge of my health.

So that's just my experience. And now, minding my meditation, and keeping a balanced life and the stress level managed, and just *letting*things*go*....I can have those foods in moderation that were such triggers for me for so long. Dairy is still more problematic than anything, so I strictly stay away from that, but otherwise, I can have a piece of cake, or make a pizza with a whole wheat/spelt crust and just use soy cheese, or have that piece of good chocolate, and I'm pretty much ok. Its now about maintenance, and making sure I stay balanced.
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