This article is not intended as medical advice.
Consult a physician before making any changes to yours or your children’s diet or medications.
Almost everyone has heard of the “placebo” effect. This is when a person believes that something such as a medication, a natural supplement or a subliminal tape, will have a beneficial health effect when used.
What most people do not know about is the “nocebo” effect. In a nutshell, this effect is the opposite of the placebo effect.
For example: Imagine a person who has been demonstrably allergic to roses since she was a child. She would have violent asthma fits accompanied by other severe, allergic reactions.
Now imagine that her doctor exposes her to a rose for the purposes of studying her reactions. And, she has the predictable reactions.
Now imagine that the rose the doctor exposed her to was a paper rose.
And imagine that after 15 years of having a proven allergy, this woman was freed from it without medication. If you want to read the whole amazing story, please visit http://www.depression-hypnosis.com/treatment.htm. It’s under the heading titled “How Is Hypnosis Involved With Depression?”
Now, this very interesting and true story brings me to another interesting (and true) report about a recent study (1) that was conducted by Dr Taraneh Dean, who worked in conjunction with the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight.
In this landmark study, the researchers surveyed a total of 1532 children. 757 were aged eleven and 775 of the children were aged15.
The kids and their parents filled out a questionnaire asking them about the children’s adverse reactions to food. Specifically, they were asked about the foods they avoided and what allergic symptoms they had when exposed to those foods.
In summary, researchers found that just under 16% of 11-year-olds and almost 19% of 15-year-olds steered clear of particular foods.
However, only about 12% in both groups claimed an adverse reaction to one or more foods.
Then, the children were then given food challenge tests and skin tests to observe their reactions to the foods they felt they were allergic to.
Interestingly, after testing, it turns out that only 2.3% in each group actually had a food allergy or intolerance.
Lead investigator Dr. Taraneh Dean said, “We were surprised that such a high proportion of people in this age group perceived they had a problem. What this study suggests is that there is a public perception of an increase in FHS [food hypersensitivity syndrome], which is not borne out by objective clinical assessment.”
A later news report (2) looks at another study conducted by Dr. Dean. The conclusion to this study is that parents are more likely to think their infant is allergic to certain foods than is actually the case.
In fact, a startling number of parents. Dr. Dean and her colleagues found that 54 percent of a group of one year old infants were avoiding some foods because their parents thought the infants were having a food reaction. The most likely culprits are cow’s milk, wheat, eggs or additives.
However, only 2 percent to 6 percent of the infants actually had clinically confirmed food hypersensitivity.
Then, Dean and her team studied a group of 969 parents whose children were aged 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age. At age one, these infants were then tested for allergies.
What should be noted here is that among all the children, 25.8 percent had been reported by the parents as having food allergies (or having FHS = food hypersensitivity).
In this group, double-blind, placebo controlled testing confirmed actual allergies at only 6 percent vs. the parent reported 25.8 percent.
Of special interest is that skin prick testing found that only 2.2 percent of the children had sensitivity to milk, egg, fish, peanuts, sesame or wheat.
There are a few very important points to discussed at this point.
First, according to one researcher, the study results "emphasize the need for accurate diagnosis to prevent infants being on unnecessarily restricted diets, which may be associated with inadequate nutrition in this important period of growth and development." (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology — May 2006)
Second, what does hypnosis have to do with all this? I’ll answer this in a minute but let’s cover the next point first.
The third point I want to emphasize is that I am not making light of a parent’s concern about their children and food allergies. I know there are parents out there who have lost or nearly lost a child because of an allergy.
I might also point out that for a long time I had a severe reaction to milk. Not the one most people think either.
I used to get hideously large and painful boils all over my face if I drank milk, ate pizza, ice cream or had anything with significant amounts of cow’s milk in it.
So please do not think for a moment that I am somehow poking a stick at parents who fear their child may be allergic to something. I know it is a very real phenomenon. My wife and I will not even let our 8 month old son near peanuts until he is at least one year of age and I hope he never drinks cow’s milk.(3)
By the way, you might find it interesting to know that according to the Medical College of Wisconsin, food allergy only affects about 2 percent(4) of all adults.
What this is indirectly pointing out is that although 6 percent of people start out allergic to some sort of food,
4 percent somehow get over it by the time they are adults.
Now, what does hypnosis have to do with all this? Well, there are a few points I wish to mention here. First, is that parents can unwittingly use negative hypnosis on their children.
My definition of hypnosis is that it is simply a person’s ability to convince themselves of any belief which their body will react to. And remember, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
So, a parent cannot actually “make” or hypnotize their child into anything unless their child gives them permission to influence their beliefs. What is fascinating is that so often a child’s body will manifest their parent’s beliefs!
Now don’t get me wrong here please. Parents are not responsible for every allergy or ill their children have. If I thought that, I’d never have become a parent because I couldn’t hack the guilt.
Parents however, can profoundly influence their children’s health just with their beliefs and that is the main point of this article.
You know the expression “Poop flows downhill”? Well, a parent’s beliefs can have a crappy effect on their children. And not on purpose either. Think about this for a moment: What did your parents ‘teach’ you?
Let me repeat that I am not implicating parents as “bad people”. We simply tend to teach what we learned unless we correct what we were taught. And hypnosis can powerfully help us to change beliefs that do not serve us or our families.
And, of course hypnosis can help in many ways to reduce or eliminate allergies. In the book Self-Hypnosis: The Complete Manual for Health and Self-Change, you can find a great section on hypnosis for allergies and asthma. The book is by Brian Alman, Ph.D. and Peter Lambrou, Ph.D. It is a comprehensive book worth owning. (Your best bet to find this book is to go to Amazon and get a used copy.)
The main point to this article has been to draw attention to a serious issue that needs deep consideration from physicians as well as parents.
Another point to the preceding discussion was to introduce hypnosis as a potential healing method to this issue of parents accidentally "giving" their children food allergies.
And finally, I wanted to point out that this healing method could be applied in obvious and not obvious ways---obvious in that hypnosis can help helping children with allergies and not obvious in that hypnosis can greatly help parents to change beliefs that may be harming their children.
Thanks for taking time to consider new ideas and, as always, I welcome comments, suggestions and good jokes.
And remember, “Speak well to yourself because your deep mind (and your children) are listening.”
Addendum To Above Article
As I said, I love receiving feedback so that I can do a better job for you. So, there are few quick things I'd like to add.
1) Some read the above article and seemed to gather that I am anti-medication and all for hypnosis as a wonder cure.
I am for the responsible application of medications and for the appropriate use of hypnosis as a complimentary healing tool when a physician says it is okay for their patient.
And, please understand I am hardly against medications as I take diabetes drugs everyday. What I am against is the needless use of prescription drugs.
Also understand that I am very much for first seeing a doctor to rule out any dangers and to get their permission to see a hypnotist when dealing with a potentially dangerous medical situation.
2) I, and several million others, are technically not allergic to milk. Rather, we have an intolerance much the same as one might have an intolerance for say, rat poison (which is commonly known as Warfarin, a commonly prescribed drug.
3) The above point makes me wonder if "allergy" then is the right way to describe an intolerance. Hmmm....
Anyway, I thought that a bit of clarification might help and thanks again for dropping by.
(1) BBC News Article: Teens' allergy fears 'mistaken' — “Young teenagers are avoiding certain foods in the mistaken belief they have an allergy or intolerance, a study has found.”
You can find the article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4318740.stm
(2) Food Allergies in Babies Rare: Study
(3) Contrary to popular belief (encouraged by millions of $$ of advertising), milk does NOT do a body good nor does it help a person to lose weight. Milk is made for creatures that grow up to weight over 1000 pounds and, it has a lot of not human friendly stuff in such as bovine growth hormone, antibiotics from the feed and more.
I’m not a total anti-milk Nazi; it’s just that its health benefits are nothing like we’ve been led to believe and, its harmful effects are considerable if too much is ingested. In moderation, it’s not a terrible thing. Heck, I love the taste of milk.
I just don’t like looking like a nuke went off on my face so I just don’t drink it.
Also, if you’re a parent, please, please look at the evidence connecting cow’s milk and ear-nose-throat infections. And, the connections between cow’s milk and diabetes is also very compelling.
Go to www.NotMilk.com and read the evidence. You don’t have to give up milk. Just reduce your intake and do NOT let your infants have any. We use soy based formula and Harry is doing terrific.
(4) Read a great article by the Wisconsin College of Medicine titled:
The Facts about Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
You can find it here: http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/921790508.html
"If we take responsibility for our lives, we can live our dreams.
If we don't, we will live our nightmares."--C. Devin Hastings