After reading about NAET on various internet sites, I felt overwhelmed by the feeling that this could be the answer to my predicament. This déjà vu sentiment occurs every time I am exploring a new alternative treatment that promises the potential of a miraculous healing or at the very least a dramatic improvement. My right brain starts protesting ‘here we go again, we’ve been through this before; you’ll only waste your time and money’. But inevitably a lingering voice retorts ‘What if? What could it mean to be free of disease at last?’ When trying to sell you something, the marketers and sales people work on reinforcing the latter voice. Whether it be the prospects of better health, an exotic holiday, riches or a dream relationship, they use hype to raise our hopes to unrealistic levels. In the end, experience reminds us that inflated expectations unavoidably lead us to bitter disappointment. Nevertheless, I yielded yet again to my ‘optimistic’ left brain and decided to look for a NAET practitioner.
In 2002 NAET was newly ‘imported’ from America, so I couldn’t find a practitioner in London. After scouring the Internet I found one in Wirral, in the North-West of England. Despite the prospects of a long and costly train journey, I phoned and made an appointment. Because he was based in a small village and not a large city like London, his consultation fee was reasonable (£25) but the cost of getting there was at least double that amount. I had to take three different trains and a bus ride, and needed help at the local police station to locate the practice.
Eventually I found the building, or to be more precise a house converted into small consultation rooms for different alternative practices, and was greeted by a soft spoken young man wearing glasses. He jotted down my medical history and explained that there were 10 basic allergen groups that I needed to be treated for separately. That raised my concern about the travelling and the expenses. For some reason he decided to begin with allergy to eggs which is my worst allergy. He gave me a vial to hold and tested my muscle strength. He then administered an acupuncture and acupressure treatment at the end of which he did the muscle testing again. To my amazement he concluded that my allergy had cleared. I asked him whether I could safely eat eggs to which he replied: ‘yes but it’s better to do the remaining treatments first’. It would take more than a ‘yes but’ to persuade me to pluck up the courage to eat something containing egg protein, never mind an egg itself. I wisely decided not to put his conclusion to the test and didn’t return to see him. Not because I didn’t like him but I couldn’t afford to travel to Wirral on a regular basis. I decided instead to look for another practitioner closer to home.
I found one in a posh district of London, Kensington. As expected, the consultation fee was higher but I didn’t have to spend too much on travel. The lady, about my age, assured me that my condition, although chronic, wasn’t beyond help and perfectly treatable. I suspect she would say that to any new patient but reassurance and a degree of optimism would do no harm at this stage. The first consultation was more expensive than the follow-ups because it lasts longer. She took my medical history and I told her about the NAET treatment I had a week or two previously. I was supposed to be cleared from egg allergy but when she did the muscle testing she found out it wasn’t the case. I had to start from scratch. Once again the first session was about clearing the egg allergy using acupressure and acupuncture with a vial of the allergen resting on my belly button. After the treatment the muscle testing showed that the allergy was cleared but we had to test it again at my next appointment. The following week the muscle testing showed that the allergy didn’t clear or has ‘returned’ so we had to repeat the treatment. The procedure is that you treat an allergy until it clears altogether and that could take several sessions depending on the severity. As my egg allergy was the worst of my allergies, I accepted that theory.
Now to cut a long story short and because all this happened about 10 years ago and I am writing from memory I want to spare you any more lengthy details. The first point I want to make is that I had 15 or 16 sessions to clear 10 basic food allergies. Most of them cleared first time but for some I needed 2 or even 3 sessions. The second point is that after about half a dozen treatments I decided to challenge my egg allergy after discussing it with the practitioner. She assured me that my body’s response to muscle testing indicated that I wasn’t allergic to eggs anymore. I decided to take the plunge in the presence of a friend. I boiled an egg and ate a tiny bit of the egg white (less than a pea sized). My friend told me that such a small amount cannot possibly affect me. We sat down to watch TV and for the first few minutes nothing happened. I started to feel elated thinking about life without food allergies. Surely if egg allergy could be cured, the others would be a walk in the park. Unfortunately after about 5 minutes my body started to shiver and all hell broke loose. I was shaking, sweating, aching and vomiting for several hours even after emptying my guts. My friend who was aware of my allergies but had never seen me react to eggs was shocked. He said: ‘ tell your [NAET] doctor you don’t want to eat eggs; you just want to eat other less risky foods like bread’. When I saw her next, she told me that my immune system was still weak and that I should wait until all the 10 basic foods have cleared. With a reaction like that, I shudder at thinking what it could be like if my immune system was strong.
I went through the entire course of treatments and ‘cleared’ all the 10 basic allergens. Needless to say I didn’t test the egg allergy again except by accident when eating a biscuit or something else containing egg protein (like whey or casein) inadvertently. I still have a combination of food allergies and food intolerances. Although my allergic reaction can be violent (as with eggs and dairy products), it is not anaphylactic. As such I do not have any medication (like an epi-pen) to counteract it; I just have to suffer through it for several hours (eggs or milk) or several days (headache from gluten). My experience with NAET has been unproductive but I cannot dismiss it altogether because it hasn’t worked for me. I am the only one I know with severe allergies who has tried it. As through this entire blog I can only suggest to the reader to be very careful when considering any alternative medicine. You can easily get carried away by reading their theory and testimonials. The more expectant you are at the onset, the more deeply disappointed you will be if it doesn’t deliver. Yes we are trapped by the fact that there is only one way to know if it can work for us but there are basic guidelines we can follow to avoid frustration and regret afterwards, such as:
- Doing a thorough research about the treatment and taking into account both sides of the argument (alternative and conventional).
- Informing your GP and asking for their opinion.
- Finding out as much as you can about any potential practitioner (qualifications, training, etc.)
- Making sure you can afford a lengthy course of treatments.
- Keeping an open mind and not expecting a miracle.
By sharing my experience I am not trying to dissuade people from trying NAET or indeed persuade them to go ahead with it. I just hope it will help the reader to make an informed decision one way or another.