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 Mind/Body Medicine: Hay Fever, Allergies, and the Sniffles 
 

The incomplete antibody only partially reacts with the molecule, and, as a result, a new molecule is formed, consisting of the combination of the protein molecule and the incomplete antibody. Ironically, the original protein molecule is thus converted to a substance that does cause an irritative reaction in the body. This reaction is characterized by the release of a substance called histamine. Histamine causes tissues of the body to become hot and swollen. It causes irritation of nerve endings, and the result is itching and malfunction of the organ to which it has been released.

Let us return once again to our naughty child. As he is being scolded he is crying, but trying to hold back the tears. The muscles of his forehead and those around his eyes are tightly constricted, and you might notice redness in this area. If we now take a look at his internal mental image, we find that, along with the emotional tension, there is an incoherency and spasm associated with this area of his body. The unconscious may then decide that the cause of his problems is located in this area. It immediately begins to search the upper respiratory tract for possible dangers. As it does so, it finds the clover protein on the surface of his mucous membranes. It then alerts the lymphatic system, which attempts to produce antibodies. This is an incoherent response.

Only incomplete antibodies can be formed. Of course the scolding lasts only a few minutes, but the allergic response is remembered by the body. When, a few weeks later, the child walks out into a field of clover, the body recognizes that the protein is present once again. It remembers the amount of tension associated with the presence of this molecule in the past, and the allergic response is activated. Although the child is walking peacefully through the field, the body begins to respond by sending the incomplete antibodies to the nasal mucosa. Within minutes the child's nose is running and he is sneezing.

Each time he is exposed to this antigen, the response grows stronger as the body tries harder to attack the invader, and the response is soon noticed by his parents. When this is brought to the attention of his doctor, he is diagnosed as having hay fever based on the results of skin testing. (Skin testing is performed by injecting small amounts of various proteins underneath a person's skin and then seeing to which ones the body reacts. Those injection sites that show redness, swelling, or itching indicate the protein to which the person is allergic.

The child is then treated with an antihistamine, which serves to block the effects of the histamine, and cortisone, which prevents the allergic response on the part of the body involved, in this case, the nose. A symptomatic cure is effected. The boy now remains allergic to the substance, and his only means of preventing problems is by taking these drugs. Is it any wonder that as a teenager the boy does not associate his hay fever with emotional problems?

Perhaps an actual example will help make this even more clear. Bob came to my office because his hay fever allergy of many years' duration had become so strong that he was unable to drive past a field of hay without severe symptoms. An exploration was performed in which I asked his unconscious to go back to one minute before the allergic reaction began on several occasions in the past. It turned out that in each memory, he was passing a field of hay. His reactions included stuffiness of the nose, redness of the eyes, and the production of tears.

(Excerpted from Opening Your Inner 'I': Discover Healing Imagery Through Selective Awareness ISBN: 0890876428)
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