by Patrick Quanten MD, United Kingdom
Very often, it is simply assumed that everybody "knows" what we mean by the word allergy and that everybody has a fundamental understanding of the principles involved in the disease mechanism. Whether or not that is true, one can decide for oneself after we have clearly put out the markers around the "allergy-terrain". Once we know what it is we are dealing with, we can examine how ear candling can affect the allergic process.
What is an Allergy?
Controversies over reactions to food have been inextricably bound up in disputes about terminology. A Viennese paediatrician (Baron Clemens Von Pirquet) first used the term "allergy" in 1906, to mean "altered sensitivity". This basically means any idiosyncratic response of the system to the environment. By 1925, as our knowledge about allergies increased, most of those working in the field of allergy decided to limit the definition, and only reactions in which the immune system was demonstrably altered were classified as allergic. Hence the differentiation between food allergy and food intolerance. Allergy has therefore become a rather narrow science. If a patient does not provide a positive response to a scratch test (a small amount of food is scratched into the skin) or a clear antibody is found in the blood or the intestinal lining in response to exposure to a particular food, then food allergy cannot be the problem to the immunologist's mind. Yet, in a large number of instances where no obvious conventional allergy is present, such as coeliac disease, removal of the offending food results in great improvement for the patient, suggesting that the disease is linked to the food item through some kind of immunological response.
The clinical ecologist calls this a food allergy as well, often to the sound of derision from professors of immunology. Perhaps food sensitivity or food intolerance would be a more sensible terminology, as neither the immunologist nor the clinical ecologist need take offence. I feel that much of the debate that surrounds the "allergy" issue has its roots in semantics and concepts that surround the word itself. It seems to mean different things to different people.
What we can agree upon is that an allergic reaction, in the broad sense, is an over-reaction or a "mal-function" of the immune system, whereby the immune system seems to be damaging the body itself. Most dramatically this is observed in an acute reaction, which triggers asthma attacks, violent abdominal cramps and vomiting, or immediate skin reactions and can lead to an anaphylactic shock (loss of consciousness). However, we sometimes see these reactions develop into a chronic disease whereby "food sensitivity" continues to drive the immune system into malfunctioning. Certain types of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis fall into this category, for instance.
Although conventional medicine has been bogged down in analysing the disease process rather than concentrating on the cause of the disease, it does categorise both the acute form and the chronic condition as autoimmune diseases. Here the body is "unable" to distinguish between self and non-self, so that the system is damaging itself.
From a practical point of view it is quite obvious that an allergic reaction and an over-sensitivity are essentially the same thing in expression and in experience of the individual involved. Even doctors diagnose allergic reactions all the time without doing extensive allergy tests, especially as a lot of these reactions occur occasionally or express themselves in different ways and are quickly dismissed as the patient gets better without any particular long term help. Other proof that the two are very closely related, if not exactly the same, we find in the experimental evidence of great improvement in health status from the moment contact with the offending item is avoided totally. Whatever the intricate bodily mechanism, we can categorically state that there is a direct link between the contact with the substance and the expression of the malfunctioning of the immune system. It is very likely that there are several possible reaction pathways for the body but the essential point is the direct relationship between the substance and the malfunction.
The immune system, for the purpose of the rest of this article, will mean the general "blood" immune system as well as the individual cell defence system.
So, we are talking about a learned response of the immune system to environmental agents that are not intrinsically harmful but that the system has become very afraid of, for whatever reason. If these "trigger-agents" are essentially innocent particles or items, how can we then justify blaming the allergic reaction on the trigger? The key question is, "Why does a substance trigger an allergic reaction in one individual and not another, and why does it do so today if it didn't in the past?"
The great majority of the research into allergies has been done into two aspects of the problem. On the one hand we want to know what causes allergies, and this has been translated into identifying the specific trigger of an allergy. Secondly, in order to understand allergies, scientists have spent many years deciphering the cellular "allergic" reaction in an effort to understand how it works and what causes it. Let's put some thoughts into these two approaches.
Knowing how the cells react and what chemicals are produced during an allergic reaction is very interesting. However, as with a car, one does not need to know what happens inside the engine to be able to drive a car. The information gained about the allergic process is of the order of what happens, and how it happens, once the body's defence system makes contact with the allergen, the trigger. It does not answer the question as to why the body does what it does when most of the time, in other people, it reacts totally differently. One of the claims we hear is that all this research is leading towards a better understanding of the genetics behind the allergic disorders. Just remember that all allergies in adults have developed later in life and it would be difficult to "blame" it on a faulty gene, as the question arises: "Why did it become faulty at this stage in life?" The other problem this approach to allergies has caused, as we mentioned right at the beginning, is that it takes the focus away from the disease pattern to concentrate solely on the immune reaction, resulting in a narrow definition of allergy and sensitivity, and an argument about semantics.
Can we truly say that the trigger for the allergy is the cause of the allergy? It is certainly the cause of the allergic reaction, but is it the real cause of the allergy itself? Can the trigger, the allergen, be blamed for what happens? Similar to: can the gun be blamed for the killing? The fact that almost all identified allergy-triggers cause no such over-reaction in the great majority of people, throws the idea of the trigger being the cause into serious doubt. Equally, we have to accept that one can become allergic to almost anything. We have heard of people who are allergic to water, to air, to virtually all food items. The number of allergies, both in society and within the individual, augments in time. It appears as if the general trend is that one allergy easily will lead to another. In other words, one trigger becomes two, becomes three, and so on. Clearly the problem does not lie with the trigger, i.e. the allergen, but with the individual's reaction to these triggers.
An allergy is an over-reaction to some substance that is regarded as hostile. In the context of the body's survival mechanisms this built-in defence reaction is entirely valid. The body's immune system forms antibodies against the allergens and thus corresponds to a bodily defence reaction against hostile invaders which, from the body's point of view, is perfectly reasonable. In those who are allergic, however, this inherently sensible defence reaction is exaggerated out of all proportion. They build up a high level of defences, while extending the "hostile" category to cover an ever-greater area. More and more substances are identified as "enemies" and the defence armoury is therefore increasingly strengthened in order to counter this host of enemies effectively.
And here are two more interesting facts:
- Allergies always need consciousness as a condition for their appearance. There are no allergies under narcosis, and equally, all allergies fade away during psychosis. People suffering from the condition known as Multiple Personality Disorder have certain allergies in one personality that disappear instantly when they take on a different personality.
- Illustrations of the allergen or pictures indicating conditions in which there would be a high exposure to a certain allergen can give rise to attacks in asthmatics. The allergic reaction is totally independent of the allergic substance itself.
These facts should help us to realise that allergens do not operate directly on the physical, chemical level. So, what turns a well-working body into an allergic wreck?
Our environment - the air we breathe, the food we take, the earth we walk on - is dynamically charged with energy. All is pervaded by an essential life force, which animates each of us and which nourishes us.
Each of us stands on the earth and acts as an antenna for the electromagnetic forces of heaven and earth, which charge our bodies. This energy flows through our bodies, being distributed through twelve distinct patterns or meridians. Each meridian is like a river of energy that originates at a specific point in the body and flows downward or upward to another point. These twelve rivers bring the life force to every cell in the body. When the river is blocked, the life force is prevented from getting to a specific area of the body. Cells, tissues and whole organs suffocate from the lack of this energy. They can no longer function normally as they are not "nourished" properly, which leaves them vulnerable as they are unable to do their job properly. This will show itself in the form of symptoms; mild to start with, but as the life force weakens, the symptoms will become more and more pronounced.
Once you understand the meridians, you can learn why the body manifests a symptom in a specific place and how best to heal it.
One "symptom" we are particularly interested in here is the "panic reaction" the body manifests during an allergic reaction. Why does the immune system suddenly panic when confronted by a "normal" substance? Why does it manifest the specific reaction in that particular area of the body?
As the answer cannot lie with the allergen, it must be found inside the body of the recipient. It must be the body of the individual that is in a state of disarray, so much so that it feels extremely threatened by the otherwise simple substance, enough to panic out of all proportion. A state of such disorganisation only occurs in a function-breakdown of the tissues and organs, which means that essential repairs have not been carried out.
The healing reaction, an on-going process within the body, occurs spontaneously whenever the body is attacked or injured or replaces ageing material. This process is unlikely to occur properly if the body's defences are weak, if the cells are weak and undernourished. Defence is the responsibility of the immune system, equally on a cellular, organ and complete body level. When immunity is crippled, it is easy to see how much of a problem this creates for the healing system. When immunity is weakened in more subtle ways, impairment of healing may be less obvious.
Toxic overload is one of the commonest reasons for a diminished healing response, but this subject is immensely complicated, emotionally charged, and highly political. We take toxins into our body with the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, as well as in the form of drugs we use, whether we obtain them on medical prescription, buy them over the counter, or use them recreationally. Just as we mentioned earlier, our whole environment influences our every day lives, whether we look at the physical interactions or we simply view the energetic exchanges. Material substances that end up toxins inside the body are not always toxins by themselves (just as allergens are not always allergens!). Many toxins inside the body are a direct result of poor digestion and absorption of what are otherwise known as normal products, or they arise as a result of poor emotional and psychological digestion and absorption of life's experiences. So, starting the process of poisoning by taking on board toxic products will damage the tissues of lungs and intestines (main entry points), which will in turn result in poor breakdown and assimilation of food, producing more and more toxins. And the other way around, a poor mental balance will create a poor digestive state in which ordinary matter will be turned into toxins. Other than these, we have to be concerned about toxic forms of energy. Electromagnetic pollution may be the most significant form of pollution human activity has produced, all the more dangerous because it is invisible and insensible. Again, our surroundings are feeding our system. When this flow of nourishment is interrupted or diminished, when the energy channels, the meridians, are blocked the tissues will get damaged, will perform poorly and will become more and more "diseased", less and less able to cope with day-to-day work, producing more and more toxic products.
When the system becomes overstretched, over-worked and under-paid, and it "sees" another load of stuff arriving, it may well panic. When it does, an immediate allergic reaction is the result. This can be an asthma attack, violent vomiting and abdominal cramps, or even an anaphylactic shock. The body mobilises all resources in a last-minute effort to handle the new load together with the over-load it has already been dealing with. This is always a frightening experience, as the body is panicking at that particular moment in time.
More often than not we encounter a more gradual reaction whereby the body shows an allergic reaction within hours, sometimes days, of exposure to what it now regards as a toxin. Skin rashes, diarrhoea, headaches, joint pains, sinus problems, are all examples of this. Here the mechanism is slightly less violent and panicky, and relates more to a build-up of more and more products the body can no longer process properly. The symptoms that one experiences are either direct expressions of toxic overload or of a massive clearance via the excretion organs, equally demonstrating the lack of healthily operating cells.
It is only under these circumstances that a trigger, an allergen, can cause what is known as an allergic reaction. It is only the overpowering number of toxins the immune system and the excretion organs are dealing with that inhibits an appropriate reaction of the body to exposure to irritating substances, such as pollen, shellfish, gluten, dairy products, and so on. And it is only the continual mal-nourishment of the cells that creates the toxic overload for the system as it slows the natural healing process of the cells.
It is only an over-stretched system, no longer able to cope with the ordinary, that has to panic when there is more of the same coming its way. The overload of toxins shows up in a variety of symptoms when a new load overflows the system's capacity, resulting in a specific set of complaints and signs. This is the chronic form of allergies, which not only carries on throughout life but also has a tendency to incorporate more and more "allergens" as time goes on. When the system becomes so overloaded that there is a chance of it collapsing in its effort to deal with certain substances, then we will see an acute allergic reaction. This is instant and can be very demonstrable, even life-threatening.
The body only reacts, and it does so to the best of its ability. But when it struggles to maintain normal function under a heavy toxic load, whilst at the same time being starved of essential energy and nutrition, it may not be able to continue and life itself becomes threatened. It is hard to see the benefit in blaming it on a "wrong" body action and in trying to "rectify" this action. If one is really concerned about avoiding the allergic reaction one has to turn one's attention to the reason for this particular body reaction.
Healing Your Allergy
Healing depends on the unobstructed, efficient operation of all components of the healing system. If any of these components are injured or preoccupied with other tasks, the process of healing will be impaired. One of the greatest threats to the system is toxic overload from the multitude of harmful substances in today's environment and those produced because of unnatural living habits.
The main concern about all environmental toxins has not so much to do with the possibility of acute injury as with long-term compromise of the healing system and increased risks of cancer, immune dysfunction, and a variety of chronic ailments in which cause-and-effect relationships with toxins have not been adequately investigated. Such effects could result from cumulative exposure over time to toxins from various sources.
The body's ability to eliminate unwanted substances depends on the healthy functioning of mainly four systems: the urinary system, the gastrointestinal system, the respiratory system, and the skin. The liver processes most foreign chemical compounds, detoxifying them if possible or breaking them down into simpler compounds that can leave the body by one of those four routes.
When we look at the energetic pathways, the meridians, running through our bodies it becomes clear how the individual tissues and organs get nourished. Energy distribution is essential to the survival of the tissues and, through coordination, the survival of the whole body. So, how do the four main systems get their energy, their nourishment?
The bladder meridian runs from the inside corner from the eye up the forehead, over the top of the head and down the centre of the back. Here it divides to form two parallel lines on the right side of the back and two more on the left side. Each set of two runs along the back, down the buttocks, and down the back of each leg. Each set of two meridian lines joins at the back of the knee, becoming one meridian line on each leg. From the knee the bladder meridian runs along the calf, to the back of the ankle, along the outside of the foot, to the little toe.
The bladder meridian is concerned with elimination.
The stomach meridian forms a large U shape on each side of the face before it runs downward along the chest, thigh and calf to a point at the top of the second toe. The inner channel of the U runs just below the eye to the tip of the outer corner of the mouth and then to the chinbone. The outer channel of the U runs from the scalp down along the ear and face (where men wear sideburns) to the chin, where it joins the other channel. From here, the meridian runs along the neck to the clavicle and down directly across the thigh and calf, and on to the second toe.
The stomach meridian is concerned with the appetite and the intake of food.
The small-intestine meridian runs from the upper part of the little finger, just above the nail, up the outside of the arm, along the triceps to a point in the centre of the shoulder blade on the back, up the neck to a point directly in front of the ear hole.
This meridian is concerned with the assimilation of nutrients.
The gallbladder meridian runs from the temple around the outside of the ear, down the back of the head, then back up the side of the head stopping just above the temple and then running back down to the neck. This up-and-down motion along the side of the head creates a thin crescent-moon shape. From here, the meridian runs over the front of the shoulder, down the side of the abdomen in a zigzag motion to the hip, and then down the outside of the leg to the fourth toe.
This meridian is concerned with the distribution of energy.
The large-intestine meridian runs from the tip of the index finger along the outer part of the arm, then along the shoulder to the throat, neck and outside of the mouth, and then to the crease at the nostril.
Any symptom along this meridian can indicate a problem with elimination and breathing.
The triple heater meridian runs from the top of the fourth finger up the arm to the shoulder, up the neck and around the top of the ear to the temple.
The triple heater meridian provides energy to the small intestine meridian and the lymphatic system, and assists circulation to the extremities. The triple heater meridian also coordinates the three heating systems, which maintains the body temperature. One is above the solar plexus, the second is in between the solar plexus and the navel, and the third is below the navel.
Of course there are more main meridians, twelve in total, but the interesting part of these is that they all start or finish at a point between the ear and the nose. Here we have a possible explanation why ear candling can have such a dramatic effect on allergy symptoms.
As we have said, the whole of our environment exchanges energy with our own system through the meridian channels. So, the hollow candle sticking in your ear is also part of that close environment and setting fire to the top of the candle heats the air inside the candle. This process will now change your "inner environment" through the interaction with the outer-environment in a similar way to your body absorbing heat when sitting in front of an open fire. The burning candle creates a movement of air as the top part of the air column is now much warmer than the lower regions. The warmer air starts to spiral downwards towards the bottom of the candle (observed by anybody who has ever done ear candling), taking with it the energy from the fire. In ear candling, the air moves spirally, which allows the air-molecules to transfer the heat, acquired at the top of the candle, into an ever-increasing vortical motion. The temperature of the air, as it moves down inside the candle, reduces quickly, but the energy of the air increases just as quickly. At the bottom of the candle, where there is nowhere else to go, this energy is absorbed into the body.
Now, where does this energy go from here? Well, the area is littered with major meridian points relating to six main meridians, linked to the four main systems of elimination. The absorbed energy gets distributed towards the urinary, gastrointestinal and respiratory system, as well as the lymphatic and blood circulation. All of this helps to nourish those areas better, and the extra energy will be used immediately to increase the effectiveness of those elimination systems, thereby drastically and rapidly reducing symptoms.
Lymphatic drainage, which apart from being an essential tool in the clearing out of toxic material also houses a vast array of immune cells, improves significantly with ear candling. Dramatic visual descriptions of swollen lymph glands disappearing under ear candling treatment as snowballs in the sun, have been reported. More commonly diffuse lymphatic swelling in the neck and throat area has been seen to disappear after treatment. Even finger swelling has diminished as reported by individuals because of loosening of rings they wore. The initial drainage is most notably seen in the area from the ears upwards, including the cranial cavity, the sinuses, the area around the eyes, the middle and inner ear areas. All these areas, we now know, are littered with main meridian points, the direct links to the energy motorways of our system.
Other allergic symptoms relate to breathing problems, such as asthma and congestion of nose and sinuses, digestive problems - vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps - and in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock. With the knowledge of the meridian energy distribution system we can now see how ear candling will provide all of these systems, supplying them with extra energy and nourishment, allowing them to function better and thereby drastically reducing the possibility of an anaphylactic shock, a total collapse of the system. Adding so much extra energy almost directly into the main meridians, in a similar way as is done using moxabustion in Chinese Medicine, inflates the defence systems of cells, organs and the body. The natural healing process of all tissues will speed up dramatically and as a consequence these tissues will be in much better shape.
Healthy cells and organs do not panic! Bringing that state of health back to the tissues of areas in the body where most allergic reactions are experienced - head, lungs, stomach, gut, and skin -, as well as stimulating the elimination process, makes allergies a distant memory. There can be no allergic reaction when the body cells and organs are healthy. Ear candling is a powerful tool that does just that!
Burning off toxins, restoring damaged cells and supply energy to cells and organs are all simple but powerful effects of ear candling. All of these are essential in the elimination of allergies from your life.
Allergic reactions of all sorts can easily become a distant memory.
The choice is yours!