GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — A unique, locally-started treatment for allergies is gaining traction with people who suffer from allergic conditions.
Watch interview of Valarie
Locals such as Teresa Hamlin of Glendale are all too familiar with the impact allergies have on one’s life.
“I remember waking up and I couldn’t breathe, and (I was) having an asthma attack after having played outside all day,” Hamlin recalled. “It was the scariest feeling.”
Teresa, who has suffered from allergies most of her life, has lived in several states, from Minnesota to Florida, and eventually in California. However, each new state presented its own allergen that her body reacted to, whether it was pollen, sugar, dog dander or even different weather temperatures.
Traditional medicine produced no relief for Teresa, despite decades of trying.
“None of the Western medicine was helping,” Hamlin stated. “(I would be) put on some really heavy drug, and taking my inhaler, sometimes probably too often.”
It was in 2010 that Teresa met a woman whose allergies had been even more severe than her own and found out that they were practically gone.
The woman revealed the miracle that saved her to be a special kind of acupuncture, known globally as Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques, or NAET.
The treatment was developed decades ago by a local medical doctor, who is now retired.
“The very first thing that we test are basic vitamins and minerals,” said Teresa’s doctor, Valarie Goodkin. “We use muscle testing, or kinesiology. If it’s weak, they are suffering an allergy. If it’s strong, they are fine. We use a massager down the spine to render the allergen in a positive way with the brain, and then after that, (we) turn them around to check that they are strong, sometimes with pressure if they are afraid of needles.”
Goodkin says the most difficult part of the treatment is avoiding what gets treated for 25 hours after the treatment is complete.
“So if they are treating calcium, that would be a strict diet for 25 hours,” Goodkin suggested. “(The patients) are given a guidebook on what they can or cannot eat in 25 hours. Usually, an allergen will clear in one treatment.”
NAET works by reprogramming the brain and nerve network in a way that it responds with less adverse reactions to allergens. It accomplishes this through the use of acupuncture while being exposed to those allergens. The patient holds a diluted solution in a vial of whatever allergen might be causing a negative reaction in their body.
“It still kind of fascinates me that it’s non-evasive,” Teresa said. “You have all your clothes on. You’re doing some breathing techniques as the treatment is happening.”
While acupuncture has become widely used in the treatment of allergies, NAET has it’s fair share of critics.
Cathy Green, who is an allergist and immunologist, says she believes that until a treatment is clinically tested and approved by the Federal Drug Administration, it should not be trusted.
“Anyone who is pursuing NAET in particular, it’s important that they fully define their condition through blood (or) possibly skin testing with a board-certified allergist and immunologist, so that they understand the severity of their condition,” Green stated.
“I think we need to be careful with treatments that aren’t approved treatments, and that we really don’t understand the degree of safety and efficacy that we are dealing with.”
Goodkin agrees that patients should always have medications on hand.
“There’s a place for Western medicine, there’s also a place for this treatment,” Goodkin said. “I don’t ever tell people to stop taking medications, but if people are finding that they’re not needing them, I’m not going to tell them (to) keep taking something you don’t need.”
Teresa, meanwhile, has not used her inhaler nor had her asthma flare up in months. She says the treatment changed everything, and she is no longer allergic to severe temperatures, sugar or even pollen.
The technique is also being researched to potentially help children with autism.