How can a naturopath help with airborne allergies and are there symptoms/allergens in particular that naturopathy is good in treating?
From a naturopathic perspective, allergies are often associated with weak adrenal, immune, and digestive functions. Naturopaths always work with patients to promote good health and natural treatments are prescribed to support and improve those functions. We work to identify the cause and often approach seasonal allergies with the understanding that the patient may have underlying adrenal, immune or digestive weaknesses, rather than simply treating the symptoms. We work with people who have a range of different symptoms, so I wouldn't say there is one that naturopathy is better in treating than another.
Therefore, naturopaths would preferably begin treatment 1–2 months before the season even starts in an effort to reduce the severity of symptom and eventually eliminate them all together. While this is not always possible, naturopathic remedies can still be used to treat the majority of symptoms.
The route to good health starts with good nutrition. People sensitive to airborne allergens may also be sensitive to certain foods, so identifying and removing those foods from the diet can greatly improve health and reduce allergy symptoms. A food sensitivity blood test can be undertaken to establish foods that may be compromising the immune system. If a sensitivity is identified, we recommend the patient immediately eliminate these foods from their diet.
In general, people always benefit from a diet close to nature, with lots of dark leafy green vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, horseradish and mushrooms. It’s also important to include essential fatty acids such as avocado and lean proteins like organic chicken or fish.
I also recommend that patients reduce (or if possible, eliminate) the following from their diet as they can create mucous in the body and can be known to compromise your immunity:
Alcohol, caffeine, and dairy products
Naturopaths offer symptomatic relief in the form of vitamins, minerals and herbal medicine if treatment wasn't undertaken at the prevention stage. I usually prescribe:
Bioflavonoids – natural antihistamines. These can be taken as a preventative treatment (2 grams) or as a symptomatic treatment (5 grams)
Probiotics – for improved digestive function
Vitamin C – as it acts as an antihistamine, can bolster your immune system and has anti viral properties
Zinc – can also boost your immune system
Eyebright – helps to reduce congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing and excess mucous
Nettle – is used as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agent
Yarrow – helps to reduce congestion
As all of our consultations are individual other supplements may also be suggested. Herbal mixtures are also specific to the individual therefore they will most likely be tailored to treat special requirements.
What can you expect to happen in a session if you go to a naturopath for your allergy? What treatments are you likely to give?
When you visit a naturopath a full health history is taken and nutrition, lifestyle, work and environmental factors are considered before a diagnosis is provided. The session usually takes one hour and seeks to establish exactly what is affecting a person's health or allergies at that time.
Treatment usually includes a mix of nutritional and preventative advice, and herbal medicine. We treat every patient on an individual basis and therefore treatment is never standard, it will most likely vary slightly with each individual case. For example, with allergies, we would assess whether adrenal, digestion or immune function are the primary cause of an allergy and prescribe treatment accordingly.
We would always recommend a food sensitivity test when allergies are present to establish what could further be compromising the immune system.
How often do you need to visit and how much is the cost for one session?
I would recommend an appointment once a month over a three month period for the initial treatment phase. The cost of the first session ranges from $95-$150 depending on the length of time required in the appointment.
Supplements are always prescribed at an additional cost and although not compulsory, they are recommended. The average cost of supplements prescribed in the first session is around $150, although this can vary depending on the individual. The subsequent sessions are $90 plus a subsequent charge for any additional herbs or supplements that may be required.
The cost of some naturopathic therapy can be recovered from selected private healthcare insurers, please consult with your provider for more information.
Where do you find a reputable naturopath?
Always ensure that the naturopath you visit is registered with HICAPS and a regulatory body such as the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association. The fact that they are registered with a regulatory body indicates that these practitioners are recognised and maintain their professional accreditations.