Holistic vs. Allopathic Treatment of Allergies
Which is Best for You
Allopathic: “Allopathic medicine and allopathy are terms coined in the early 19th century by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, as a synonym for mainstream medicine.” (Source, Wikipedia Allopathic Define)
Holistic: “is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole.” As defined above, the holistic view is that treatment is widely accepted in medicine. A different definition, claiming that disease is a result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance, is used in alternative medicine. (Source, Wikipedia Holistic Health Define)
Have you ever had an allergic reaction and weren’t quite sure what from? Are you curious to know about the source and cause of your allergies? Are you interested in detecting or treating your allergies but don’t know where to begin? Depending on the severity of the allergy, both a Naturopathic and Allopathic doctor may want to do one or more of the following tests to detect what underlying reasons are behind your allergic reaction.
Talk to The Patient
Lifestyle, diet and environment are often overall health indicators which help the doctor understand the cause of your allergies. Be sure to explore various factors in your life that may be causing irritation with your MD to determine if underlying conditions might exist.
Skin Scratch Test
A controlled drop of allergen is placed under the surface of the skin with a needle. If a bump or ‘wheal and flare’ response occurs, depending on the severity of the response, this would detect the allergic reaction. This type of test is limited and only detects immediate hypersensitivity reactions rather than complex or chronic allergies.
Blood Tests, or Blood-Draw
You might be asked to take blood and have it assessed in a lab for results which can, for example, test up to 400 different food allergies or sensitivities. For these types of tests you will require a referral first.
Change In Diet
This can help to remove the suspected allergy-causing food from your diet and then slowly reintroducing it to confirm that this is the true cause.
Although some of the common ways to detect allergies are similar for both the Naturopathic doctor and your MD, it is the treatment method that can differ greatly. Just as allergies can range from simple to severe, the answer to the cure can vary from simple to complex.
A Naturopathic doctor may suggest a combination of one or more of the following:
- Herbal teas and tincture, Ayurvedic prescriptions
- Change in diet and lifestyle, dietary supplements
- Homeopathy, holistic nutrition
- Chinese medicine, acupuncture
- Dance and movement
- Meditation and mindfulness, energy healing
- Help to create a long term management care plan and avoidance of allergy-causing agents once the allergy is detected
A General Practitioner (GP) doctor may suggest a combination of one or more of the following:
- Pharmaceuticals and medications, ranging from simple antihistamines to asthma inhalers.
- Avoidance of the allergy-causing agent
- Referral to an allergy specialist or immunologist
- Help to create a long term management care plan
The bottom line when seeking testing and treatment: Be an informed patient! Do your research and find complementary forms of testing and treatment. There are many different methods to explore, or choose from. Why not try to combine both natural and allopathic testing and treatment? In the end, only you can determine what feels right for YOU.
Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy stems around whole foods. For more information please visit her website marniwasserman.com