Allergies, Asthma & Eczema Newsletter
Allergies, Asthma and Eczema are inversely related to one another.
When the body is under stress and the nervous system is overstimulated it becomes sympathetic dominant. The nervous system like the yin yang symbol and is a balance of the sympathetic (your states of energy mental and physical ) and the parasympathetic (your states of digestion, rest and repair). When you are sympathetic dominant or parasympathetic deficient your body’s production of digestive enzymes is reduced. This increases irritation to the digestive lining potentially creating “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and hence increasing the number of allergens or sensitivities. This potentially aggravates or causes asthma.
If the body is overloaded with partially digested food particles it tries to detoxify through the liver and does so well until the liver becomes sluggish. At this point the body tries to detox through any of its organs of elimination , including the skin creating eczema. To learn more about allergies, asthma and eczema …
Why be concerned?
The Health Conditions Allergies, Asthma and Eczema are continually on the rise (WHO, 2007).
With the snow melting and spring around the corner, will you or someone you know be sneezing as you smell the flowers? The WHO ranks allergies as the 6th leading health concern, with a 30% increase in the last 5 years alone. 12% of all Canadian Children have asthma (WHO, 2007) and 25% of people with allergic rhinitis have allergies (WHO, 2006).
12% of all Canadian Children have asthma (WHO, 2007) and 25% of people with allergic rhinitis have allergies (WHO, 2006). Asthma causes the bronchioles which carry air in the lungs to weaken. In this state the body is much more susceptible to respiratory viruses that cause the common cold. More than 80% of asthma aggravations can also be linked to these same viruses (J of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2003, Feb., 111(2):215-225). One of the goals in management is thus to prevent the common cold in these individuals even more so. Echinacea may reduce the incidence of catching a cold by 58% and Echinacea when used in conjunction with Vitamin C reduces cold incidence by 86% (lancet, 2007).
Studies show that there were 62,000 pediatric visits in the US for atopic dermatitis in 1997. That number rose to 1.7 million pediatric visits in 2003 (J of Pediatrics, Sept 2004). Atopic dermatitis is one of the many types of eczema
Why is this happening?
With our modern lifestyle we, are exposed to an environment full of chemicals, and an internally chemically overloaded body. For Allergies, are on the rise because increased carbon dioxide release in response to global warming increases plants exposure it and thus increased pollen release and concentration in the air.
What are the Connections Related To This Trend?
Allergies, Asthma and Eczema are inversely related to one another. If for example you suppress eczema with long term corticosteroid use the potential for allergies and asthma increases.
What happens when you put 30 people in a Volkswagen beetle bug? I would imagine you would have a few arms and legs sticking out!
The body functions in much the same way in that it is a vessel with a fine tuned mechanical system that works optimally when cared for well. A fine automobile is considered an investment and your body is one of the most important investments one can make. Research indicates that 58.6 billion will be spent on purchasing cars over the next half-year (Sainsbury’s Bank Car Buying Index, 2007) and the average family spends about 7000 annually for an automobile. Yet we live in an environment where the health care dollars are spent but not visible to us on a daily basis due to provincial health care plans.
A new paradigm is investing in your health and like a car, having your health understood as it inter- relates one system to another. Our goal is to share the link that exists between The Health Wellness Spectrum (HWS) ©, Health Connections, Health Conditions (Asthma, Allergies and Eczema) and Naturopathic Medicine Options.
The Health Wellness Spectrum© is that understanding of the Health Connections that exist between various organ systems and the symptoms that are the end result of a pattern of diminished function. Disease does not occur overnight it is a slow and steady process. This system is designed to let you know where you are in this process. The HWS© is an innovative program designed to analyse a broad spectrum of health and wellness factors to target the source of your symptoms. Once identified the program then guides you on your Personal Path to Wellness. You’re HWS©score enables you to measure your progress and ultimately achieve Optimum Health.
In order thus to treat any one of the above conditions, we must understand their root cause and the Health Connections in the path that resulted in their outcome. The pathway from beginning to end result is as follows:
There are 7 phases (a condition specific breakdown of the HWS©) for the Allergy, Asthma, Eczema pathway.
The first phase relates to the Nervous System. The nervous system is comprised of our mental and physical activity levels. The nervous system is divided into two categories the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is where we grow, heal, digest and sleep. The sympathetic nervous system is where we concentrate, learn new ideas and thoughts, worry, and are physical. In Optimal Wellness there is a balance between these two systems i.e. the yin and the yang. When one spends excess time in the sympathetic nervous system this delicate eco system shifts and we have less time to heal, grow, sleep and digest. This leads to the next phase.
The second phase relates to the Adrenal Gland. This gland sits directly above your kidneys and releases epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, estrogen and DHEA which breaks down into estrogen and testosterone. This is the first gland to be stimulated by a stress reaction or caffeine. Under normal conditions of stress this organ releases the previous hormones and the body is ready for fight or flight and can complete the urgent tasks at hand. During this phase the body utilizes more nutrients such as zinc, essential fatty acids and B Vitamins. The body then goes back into a state of balance with more rest and back to phase 1. The difficulty arises when the body remains in this state for long periods of time. At this heightened state excess of these hormones remain high for a great duration of time. Epinephrine and Norepinephrine may cause feelings of nervousness or anxiety and the heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Cortisol normally rises about a half hour after waking and promotes mental clarity and energy for the day, then declines as the day goes on allowing you to wind down for sleep. In this phase of prolonged increase cortisol levels the body does not wind down readily making it difficult to fall asleep, wake after a few hrs or often and awake early. Because the body is still fatigued the cortisol levels in the morning then take longer to rise and thus it takes you longer to wake up. You then may feel you need to have 2 cups of coffee or more to get the clarity and energy for your day.
This leads into phase three where the digestive system is impacted. The digestive system needs to be in the parasympathetic state long enough to release all the digestive enzymes necessary to break down your foods. In this phase a person is still in sympathetic state for too long and the lack of enzymes and tension leads to bloating, gas, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation. Recognize any of this? The digestive system is made with a fine mucosal and ciliary border in which further digestive enzymes sit, the more one consumes irritants i.e. food intolerants, drugs and chemicals the more this lining is worn away. This thinning leads to Leaky Bowl Syndrome where you have by-products of digestion that are not fully digested. The body recognizes these are foreign and sets up an immune reaction.
Phase four is Immunity. Up to 70% of Immunity can be related to the bowels. Thus if someone is catching frequent colds and flus or shows other immune weakened conditions, the bowels must be healed also. The mast cells in the immune system then release histamine to produce traditional allergy symptoms which can also relate to asthma and eczema.
Phase five is related to the liver. Any by products including those from the Leaky Bowel Syndrome that need to be cleared from our body are brought to the liver. The liver has two phases of process. Phase 1 is cytochrome p450 and is regulated by B vitamins while Phase 2 is regulated by amino acids (which are broken down from proteins). When the body is not digesting as well as it should or when an individual is not consuming as much of the right nutrients it needs i.e. B vitamins (i.e. dark green leafy vegetables and grains ) or proteins (i.e. meat, beans, legumes, and fish) OR the liver is overloaded we get free radical formation. Free radicals can lead to chronic degenerative disease.
The sixth phase is all your organs of elimination that the liver sends to be cleared from your body. These organs are the lungs, skin, kidney and bowels. When there is a fault in this mechanism of elimination the end result can be Allergies, Asthma, Eczema, Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or phase seven.
The seventh phase Allergies, Asthma, Eczema, Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
What are the different types of eczema?
- Atopic eczema
- Irritant contact dermatitis: This is a type of eczema caused by frequent contact with everyday substances, such as detergents and chemicals, which are irritating to the skin. It most commonly occurs on the hands of adults and can be prevented by avoiding the irritants and keeping the skin moisturised.
- Infantile seborrheic eczema: A common condition affecting babies under one year old, the exact cause of which is unknown. Also referred to as cradle cap, it usually starts on the scalp or the nappy area and quickly spreads. Although this type of eczema looks unpleasant, it is not sore or itchy and does not cause the baby to feel uncomfortable or unwell. Normally this type of eczema will clear in just a few months, though the use of moisturising creams and bath oils can help to speed this along.
- Adult seborrheic eczema: Characteristically affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40. It is usually seen on the scalp as mild dandruff, but can spread to the face, ears and chest. The skin becomes red, inflamed and starts to The condition is believed to be caused by a yeast growth. If the condition becomes infected, treatment with an anti-fungal cream may be necessary.
- Varicose eczema: Varicose eczema affects the lower legs of those in their middle to late years, being caused by poor circulation. Commonly the skin around the ankles is affected, becoming speckled, itchy and inflamed. Treatment is with emollients and steroid creams. If left untreated, the skin can break down, resulting in an ulcer.
- Discoid eczema: Is usually found in adults and appears suddenly as a few coin shaped areas of red skin, normally on the trunk or lower legs. They become itchy and can weep fluid. Usually discoid eczema is traditionally treated with emollients (and steroid creams if necessary).
Eczema thus may have many different causes. In understanding health connections eczema is related to the nervous system (hyperstimuation of the adrenal gland) and the digestive system). Thus in treatment one must support and treat these systems as well as the skin.
Most often there are underlying food sensitivities or allergies and an irritated digestive system. The uniqueness to each individual with eczema is managed with Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic Medicine looks for and then treats the root cause.
Thus one can see that in treating any one of these conditions layers of support are needed.
For treatment consider Medical Infrared Sauna Treatment
A customized Revivelife Approach would be to:
- Fill in your Health Wellness Spectrum( HWS)© Questionnaire- Adult or Kids Wellness
- Have your Metabolic Urine Tested
- Assess your score on the HWS
- Have a New Patient Visit
- Test for Food and Environmental Intolerances
- Individual Optimal Nutritional Plan
- Individualized Optimal Lifestyle Plan
- Individualized Homeopathic Plan
- Individualized Botanical Medical Plan
- Individualized Physical Therapeutic Plan
Note each person’s plan may have all or a combination of several of the above.
What are a few Naturopathic Remedy options to easily consider?
Thus in order to treat fully these conditions we need to support all phases. The recommended direction is:
- Test for Food Intolerances and Remove from the Diet
- Detox- to cleanse the liver and or bowels
- Acupuncture– In a comparative study on treatment of type I allergic diseases, acupuncture therapy was shown to have extensive action to reduce allergic asthma, runny nose and chronic hives (Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993 Dec, 13(4):243-8.)
- Allium Cepa – Research shows a significant reduction in symptoms of allergies with the use of one of the Naturopathic methods- Homeopathic treatment (lancet, 1986-881-6).
- Ortigens-Another research study showed homeopathic remedies made from the causative agent or ortigens can improve nasal flow in allergy patients (British medical J, Taylor). Thymus homoeopathically has also been shown to calm the immune response.
- Phytosterols (plant based sterols and sterolins) /Moducare –have been shown in research to decrease the over activity of the immune system. They decrease the specific immune factor (Interleukin 4) that ultimately causes the allergic response and the release of histamine.
- Bromelain– One of the theories about how it works is that it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. In one study researchers at the University of Connecticut found that bromelain reduced airway inflammation in animals with allergic airway disease.
- Nettle- has been shown to be effective against hay fever.
- Echinacea– Asthma causes the bronchioles which carry air in the lungs to weaken. In this state the body is much more susceptible to respiratory viruses that cause the common cold. More than 80% of asthma Aggravations can also be linked to these same viruses (J of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2003, Feb., 111(2):215-225). One of the goals in management is thus to prevent the common cold in these individuals even more so. Echinacea may reduce the incidence of catching a cold by 58% and Echinacea when used in conjunction with Vitamin C reduces cold incidence by 86% (lancet, 2007).
- Vitamin C– powerful natural antihistamine activity. Helps control the release of histamine from mast cells.
- Quercitin– natural antihistamine activity (Garcia V, Arts IC, Sterne JA, Thompson RL, Shaheen SO. Dietary intake of flavonoids and asthma in adults. Eur Respir J. 2005 Sep;26(3):449-52.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus– thought to reduce the potential for allergies.
- Betaine HCl– assists in the digestion of food and reduces the potential for food allergies.
- Omega Fatty Acids-Reduce arachidonic rich foods (egg yolks, shellfish and meat) which are related to inflammation. A German study examined data from 524 children and found that asthma was more prevalent in children with high levels of arachidonic acid. Increase intake of beneficial fats such as EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) from fish oil, and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from borage or evening primrose oil to further reduce arachidonic acid.(Mickleborough TD, Lindley MR, Ionescu AA, Fly AD. Protective effect of fish oil supplementation on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in asthma. Chest. 2006 Jan;129(1):39-49.)
- Increase Fruits and Vegetables– A study examining food diaries of 68,535 women found that women who had a greater intake of tomatoes, carrots and leafy vegetables had a lower prevalence of asthma. High consumption of apples may protect against asthma. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables in childhood decreased the risk of asthma. (Nja F, Nystad W, Lodrup Carlsen KC, Hetlevik O, Carlsen KH. Effects of early intake of fruit or vegetables in relation to later asthma and allergic sensitization in school-age children. Acta Paediatr. 2005 Feb;94(2):147-54. )
Holistic Nutritional Wellness:
It is important to identify and approach food intolerances and possible digestive imbalances such as malabsorption and low stomach acid. Food intolerances have the potential to weaken the immune system, thus making it more susceptible to the action of other allergens causing an asthma attack. The same can be said for a compromised digestive system, mal-digestion and malabsorption weaken the immune system by not providing the necessary nutrients for the building of the immune system. In order to identify your food intolerances, you can have a food intolerance test done or use an elimination diet to see if certain foods aggravate the asthmatic condition. Common culprits include alfalfa, corn, peanuts, soy, eggs, beets, carrots, colas, cold beverages (which may cause bronchial spasm), dairy products, fish, red meat, pork, processed foods, salt spinach, chicken and turkey, white flour and white sugar It is important to eat a diet consisting primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, ensuring the diet is high in alkaline foods and low in saturated fats and animal products as they prohibit an inflammatory response. The diet should be relatively high in protein and contain little to no sugar. Make sure to include garlic and onions in your diet. These foods contain quercetin and mustard oils, which have been shown to inhibit an enzyme that aids in releasing inflammatory chemicals. Essential fatty acids, either flax seed oil or fish oils are very important as they will help to build the immune system and help to control the inflammatory process. Try to eat lightly as a large meal can cause shortness of breath, by making the stomach put pressure on the diaphragm. It is also important to avoid orange juice and milk and dairy products as they are mucus forming (Prescription for Nutritional Healing and Pathology And Nutrition)
Breathing well and without effort is something we all take for granted. Those who suffer from respiratory problems or allergies know first-hand how much their quality of life is impacted. Getting enough oxygen is crucial in sustaining life and quality functioning of our entire body (especially our brain), and is key factor in maintaining good health & healing. It also affects the quality and enjoyment of life; let’s face it, not being able to breathe well leads to quite a bit of stress and anxiety!
“Too many Canadians are suffering from the burden of asthma – a disease that, quite literally, can take your breath away.” (Nora Sobolov, President and CEO of The Lung Association) Asthma is a common condition which affects the small air passages (bronchi) of the lungs. These passages become swollen and inflamed, and this leads to the production of mucus (fluid). During an asthma attack, these small airways become narrow. This reduces the flow of air in and out of the lungs. This may lead to wheezing, coughing and difficulty with breathing. Asthma is also associated with other conditions such as Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, Hay fever and Allergies. Asthma is triggered by different things by different people. Some common triggers are: colds, changes in the weather, cigarette smoke, dust and dust mites, pollen, food allergies, animals, and so on… Massage therapy treatments work on the muscles involved in breathing: the diaphragm, external intercostals, scalenes, serratus posterior superior, pectoralis major and minor, levator costarum, subclavius as well as internal intercostals, abdominals, quadratus lumborum. Postural muscles also play a role including: upper trapezius, levator scapulae, serratus anterior, rhomboids and the cervical muscles.
Once the muscles of respiration and supporting postural muscles are worked on the patient should notice immediate and prolonged results in their quality of breathing. More oxygen means their body tissues are more nourished and relaxed! Massage can help reduce stress and deal with muscular problems linked to difficulty in breathing. Respiratory sufferers who have received massage therapy treatments have shown fewer attacks and improved peak air flow for better breathing. Anxiety, depression and stress hormone levels decrease which allows for more control over attacks.
As a massage therapist, I am aware of potential allergic reactions of my patients. I use Professional Myother Lotion which is both water-based and hypoallergenic. I also use only vinyl gloves in case of any latex allergies. Our treatment rooms are odour free and I am hesitant to use any Aromatherapy which may set someone off. Most health professionals are aware that perfumes are not healthy in the workplace or when treating patients. Please respect others by not wearing colognes or perfume.
Another area of concern regarding reactions is the use of cleaning agents. Diluted products with minimal odour will help everyone using the area and minimize any potential risks of reaction. There are many other types of allergies and reactions. Please ask if you have any questions regarding contact dermatitis, food allergies, anaphylaxis or other issues of concern.
Looking forward to working with you and assisting in improved breathing as nature starts to bloom!
Massage can assist sinus sufferers by working facial muscles and helping to clear sinus pathways. I recommend a steam facial. Place a towel over your head and breathe some hot steam from a metal bowl. Take breaks as needed and afterwards you will find your face completely relaxed as well as improved breathing.