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What Does the Heart Have to Do With Allergies?!
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The concept "allergy" was originally introduced in 1906 by the Viennese pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet, after noting that some of his patients were hypersensitive to normally innocuous entities such as dust, pollen, or certain foods. Pirquet called this phenomenon "allergy" from the Greek words allos meaning "other" and ergon meaning "work". Historically, all forms of hypersensitivity were classified as allergies, and all were thought to be caused by an improper activation of the immune system. That’s right- allergies are a function of your own immune system- the very part of you designed to protect and take care of you.
The allergy symptoms we experience, from runny noses to a larynx that closes, are our bodies’ way of trying to fend off potential invaders. They are, at the physical level, our own defense system attacking us from within to be safe. Allergies are like a deluded Vietnam Vet running through a local Pizza Parlor on a Saturday afternoon. While a group of kids maybe celebrating their soccer win the Vietnam Vet is firing inappropriate warning shots to an enemy ghost that is no longer a threat.
I would postulate that allergies are pandemic in our culture because the vast majority of us are living with constant emotional stress, feeling threatened by life’s challenges at the psychological level and activating physical lines of defense in our endocrine and immune systems to combat them. Like the veteran fighting a war that is long been over, we are activating biological programming to survive physical threats from predators like tigers and bears in the face of deadlines, bills to be paid, and too many e-mails in our inboxes. It does not work. We end up with hyper reactive immune systems that blow their wad (literally and figuratively) on some pollen that blows by, and fail to later have the resources to combat aberrant cells that become cancer. The regulation of our immune systems has gone haywire due to constant and chronic emotional stress of our modern lifestyles. The good news is that we can change this from the inside out!
I had terrible hay fever and hives as a child, which would always get worse around exam time at school, or if my parents were fighting. These allergies got worse and worse in my teens, such that when I returned from a year abroad doing service work in a war zone I not only had hay fever but was diagnosed with “leaky gut syndrome” and could only eat brown rice, broccoli and chicken for more than a year because I would react allergically to every other type of food. In an attempt to “protect” itself from perceived threats, my body shut down to receiving nutrition! I did not understand the link between stress and my allergies until many years later, when I discovered the power of the heart to regulate the immune system. It was only once I had visited the Institute of HeartMath and transcribed their research, that I came to understand that the long term psychological stress I experienced of living in the threat of the war zone had effected my heart rhythms and through my heart, my immune and other systems, creating the food allergies and other symptoms I was experiencing. The wonderful good news is that shortly after applying the tools and techniques I learned at HeartMath, my allergies went away completely (I am happy to report that I have been enjoying a chocolate fudge cookie and milk while I type this, with no negative effects!)
The heart is like the conductor of the grand symphony that is you, made up of the individual instruments of your organ and functional systems, including your immunity. When the heart is producing an ordered and clear signal, all of the other instruments in your body work in harmony with one another to produce the grand orchestration that you are, and you feel great (Fyera!) When the heart becomes chaotic or out of synch, as it does when you go into a stress reaction, suddenly the musicians in your body from your eyeballs to your ears to your nose and your toes, have no clear leader to follow. Some of them, like your higher brain centers, give up completely and shut down, leaving looping patterns of brain chatter to run until the clear conductor comes back.
For some, their immune system responds this way as well, giving up and packing it in until there is a clear leader to follow. If this is you, then you are probably the person that is the first to catch a cold or a flue when you are under stress. Your immune system shuts down, or uses all its reserves to prepare for a perceived immediate threat, emptying its long term bank account which could protect you from colds, flues, and degenerative disease down the road.
For others, their immune system over-fires in the face of heart rhythm chaos. If the conductor (the heart) has gone high speed, the immune system plays its song faster and faster to try to keep up, firing left and right hoping to hit it right somewhere. If this is you, then you probably experience allergies. Your immune system is hyperactive in the face of stress, misperceiving psychological threat as physical threat and desperately seeking the menace in physical form (whether it be cat dander or lactose). This is the immune system’s desperate attempt to control the offender. The irony here is that the true offender is you, and your own emotional reactions to your perceptions of life events.
Here is the good news. Over 1400 things happen in your body during a stress response, but all of them can be reversed or significantly modified in a heartbeat, the moment that you bring order to your heart rhythm. Our beginner HeartMath webinar, which starts tomorrow, gives you the very simple step by step processes you need to be able to shift to an ordered and harmonious internal orchestration anywhere anytime. The emWave Personal Stress Reliever reflects your heart rhythms to you in real time, also helping you to identify that zone which regulates and optimizes your immune function.
There is a concept in HeartMath teachings called overcare. Overcare is care for anything at all that gets carried so far that it becomes draining and stressful, rather than beneficial. True care is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver. Much of our modern stress is overcare, caused by “sweating the small stuff” and overcaring about things that do not matter that much to the point of detriment. Allergies are a physical reflection of emotional overcare. And the intelligence of the heart, both at the cellular as well as intellectual level, has the ability to teach our bodies and our minds how to rebalance our care to benefit ourselves, our bodies, our world. Tune in to tonight’s HeartStart call to find out more!
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