This article covers:
- What blocks are from a natural health perspective
- Different types of blocks related to hay fever
- How blocks are uncovered
- Strategies for overcoming barriers to hay fever.
Have you tried everything to get on top of your hay fever, yet nothing has worked or is only partially helping? When you’re not getting the results you want, looking at the blocks, may make all the difference.
What are blocks?
By block, it is meant that there is some obstacle that prevents improvement. This could be due to a:
- Predisposing factor – which makes you more susceptible to developing hay fever, and unless corrected, leads to regression of health, even if you go through bouts of improvement
- Maintaining cause – which is anything that continues to perpetuate the problem, and unless removed, improvement is not possible.
Different types of blocks in hay fever
There are are many different types of blocks or obstacles, however, three are being explored in this article:
- The Miasms of Homeopathy — which is really a traditional term to say that there is something that is predisposing you to hay fever, such as inherited tendency, for example, when there are allergies running through a family.
- Immune system rigidity — when it is stuck in the ‘allergic’ mode, and in need of a ‘reset’ so that it becomes more adaptable.
- Problems breaking down histamine — which is released by immune system cells and produces the hay fever like symptoms, and we might not find relief unless we can correct this.
The miasm theory
Miasms are part of Homeopathy’s theory of chronic disease, developed 200 years ago, which points to inherited (for example, genetic) or acquired predisposition to disease.
Using the metaphor of an iceberg, if the symptoms you experience during hay fever are the visible part, the miasm is the deeper and larger aspect, hidden below the water line.
Practically, miasms represent different patterns or tendencies to disease, and how our bodies react when placed under the stress of disease. In homeopathic theory, an active miasm is an obstacle to cure. Addressing the miasm can be thought of as ‘wiping the slate clean’ for the allergic history. When that is done, other treatments can work better, such as constitutional or symptomatic homeopathic treatment.
There are many ways to identify and tackle a miasm developed by Homeopaths over the years. However, there is a traditional protocol which attempts to reduce the effect of a miasm in hay fever, and that is by using a Homeopathic medicine called Psorinum.
Using this protocol requires tailoring by a homeopath, but it tends to be given fortnightly, or even monthly depending on the exact dose selected and your individual response.
An anti-miasmic homeopathic medicine may be recommended in certain circumstances alongside other medicines.
There is much more to miasm theory than we can cover here, and this is by no means the only approach.
Immune system rigidity
T-helper cells are an important part of the immune system, particularly what is called the adaptive immune system. These cells help other immune cells by releasing T cell cytokines (hormonal messengers), helping to suppress or regulate immune responses.
TH1 and TH2
T-helper cells can be further reduced into subsets:
- TH1 cell — Th1 cells work to eliminate invaders that occur inside our cells (such as viruses, and some intracellular bacteria). These tend to promote inflammation.
- TH2 cell — Th2 cells aim to destroy pathogens that occur outside our cells (such as bacteria and parasites). These compensate for Th1 reactions, and tend to be anti-inflammatory, but they promote allergic responses.
A healthy immune system can be thought of as “choosing” which types of cells to produce, and can easily switch back and forth between Th1 and Th2-type responses.
But an unhealthy immune system can get “stuck” in one of these responses.
How does it get stuck?
It is supposed that reduced microbial exposure in early life is responsible for a shift of Th1/Th2 balance in the immune system towards the pre-allergic Th2 response. This is also called Hygiene hypothesis, where due to an increase of sterile environments in modern life, our immune system has not been primed enough through environmental challenges.
Homotoxicology, an offshoot of Homeopathy, has developed a wonderful natural medicine formulation called Engystol, which is used to try and correct this rigidity of the immune system.
In the immune system, histamine normally serves as a red flag, notifying your body of any potential threats.
In hay fever, histamine gets released by immune cells in response to a trigger, such as pollen, which is perceived as a threat. Histamine causes many of the uncomfortable symptoms of hay fever, such as runny nose, itchiness, and so on. That’s why people tend to first try antihistamines for relief.
But some people have an elevated level of Histamine because they:
- are unable to break it down (we have enzymes in the body which help with this)
- have over-production of histamine in the body (for example, being released through an allergic response)
- are acquiring additional histamines from foods or drinks.
If there is also cross reactivity to foods (as with food allergy), this may also be an additional source of free-floating histamine in the body.
There are symptoms in common between hay fever and histamine intolerance, such as nasal congestion, sneezing and difficulty breathing, but other symptoms that are suggestive of histamine intolerance include:
- Hives on the skin (urticaria)
- Difficulty falling asleep, and easily awoken
- Accelerated heart rate
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Flushes of heat
- Abnormal menstrual cycle
Identifying blocks often requires the assistance of a healthcare professional.
For example, identifying a miasm requires working with a professional homeopath who is able to discern its presence through understanding your health history, the symptoms you experience, and other factors.
Diagnosis of histamine intolerance is generally performed through a combination of medical history taking (and looking at the presence of the typical symptoms of histamine intolerance), and the determination of histamine and diamine oxidase (an enzyme which helps to break down histamine) before and after a low-histamine diet. There may also be other reasons for elevated histamine, such as through a relatively rare condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
If you have any concerns about your health, and the potential of histamine intolerance, please see your healthcare professional for diagnosis and advice. If you do have histamine intolerance, seeing naturopathic or nutritional treatment and advice may also be of help to you.
Strategies for overcoming barriers
Overcoming these barriers is generally not a DIY situation! Its recommended that you:
- Find a healthcare professional you can work with
- Construct a comprehensive health history – this will help to identify obstacles
- Learn more about hacking your hay fever naturally.
- Blocks refer to any obstacle that prevents or minimises the potential for improvement.
- Natural medicine recognises many types of blocks, and has developed strategies for overcoming or mitigating their impact.
- Three important blocks related to hay fever include the Miasms of Homeopathy, immune system rigidity, and histamine intolerance.
- Identifying and treating blocks often requires working with a healthcare professional.
Learn more about hacking your hay fever naturally
To learn more about using natural approaches for hay fever: