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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Natural Alternatives for the Treatment of Allergies

Jun 25, 2016 10:32PM ● By Teri Calandra

Allergies and sensitivities are on the rise—and for many are such an issue that they affect daily living. There are different theories as to how and why, as well as many ways to address the problem.


Modern Allergy Treatments

Western medicine views an allergen as a hypersensitivity to something that results in an array of reactions that include life-threatening anaphylaxis, cough, wheezing, chest tightness, nasal congestion, asthma, sinusitis, skin disorders and eye irritation. For those experiencing these symptoms, the first diagnostic procedures are scratch testing (skin test), allergen avoidance or blood work to rule out pollen, animal dander, dust, foods, molds, medications and chemicals as allergic items.

       Once the patient determines what they are allergic to, the options for treatment are typically limited to future avoidance, symptom-specific medication or specific allergy shots. For years, these were the only options, and many people found success with them. Others were forced to travel a different path.


Causes of Allergies

Some researchers believe that allergens are hereditary or have to do with quality of our food—such as genetic modification (GMO), our body’s ability to process the additives and chemicals we encounter daily or even the quality of our gut.

       The digestive system is responsible for 70 percent of our immune system. Dysbiosis is the condition that results when the natural florae of the gut are thrown out of balance, often by antibiotics. These drugs are extremely effective when indicated, but may be misused or overused, causing many people to suffer from leaky gut or other gastrointestinal issues. If the digestive tract is not functioning properly, it can cause a weakening of the immune system, making us not only more likely to get sick, but also to have allergies and sensitivities.

       Another cause of allergies may be a reaction to additives that are used to preserve our food, as well as chemicals used on everyday and household items as preservatives, flame retardants and aesthetic enhancers. Over time, some people’s bodies may lose the ability to break down these additives and chemicals, causing a reaction. Researchers have discovered that the genetic mutation known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) prevents the proper breakdown of folic acid, B vitamins and other chemicals.

       According to, more than half the population has some form of this gene mutation. The reason it is so important is because the immunotherapy shots and immunizations that we receive have a number of agents in them that someone with MTHFR may be unable to process properly. This can lead to a decrease in function of the immune system and even more sensitivities.


Alternative Approaches to Treatment

Chinese medicine has held for thousands of years that allergies are caused by deficiencies of three organ systems, and that by addressing those deficiencies, we are able to strengthen the immune system enough so that allergens, especially outdoor allergens, are no longer an issue. Allergies caused by heredity are seen as underlying deficiencies and addressed accordingly through acupuncture, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes.

       Another form of treatment, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), defines an allergen as anything that causes an adverse reaction in an individual which does not cause an adverse reaction in a healthy individual. In this case, the body can view anything as a threat, including itself. NAET is a non-invasive, drug-free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities. The method uses a blend of acupressure, acupuncture, Applied Kinesiology and other modalities to “reboot” the body so it no longer reacts to a substance as a sensitivity. Allergens of all types and different intensities can be addressed using this method, which is quantifiable through blood work.

       Most authorities seem to agree that allergens have a direct correlation to the strength of our immune system. Someone with decreased immunity is more likely to have allergens than another person with a strong immune system, and most allergy treatment options take this into consideration.


Teri Calandra, LAc., LMT, RMT, is the owner of Calandra Acupuncture, with locations in Chicago’s South Loop and Arlington Heights. She specializes in acupuncture, NAET, Access Consciousness, reiki and Bengston Energy Healing. For more information, call 312-515-9492 or visit See ad in the Community Resource Guide and the calendar for upcoming July mini-lectures.