So I am very excited about this post. I anticipate this to be the first post in a series about crunchy alternatives to expensive doctor bills and pharmaceutical options. First let me say that I am not a doctor. While I may report from books written by doctors and even interview medical professionals, I am not diagnosing or treating anyone nor do I intend this information to diagnose or treat any of my readers. It is for informational purposes only. As you get to know me more, You will realize I am passionate about taking control of my own health and doing so as safe as possible while only spending what is necessary to achieve those goals. I depend on medical research and also medical professionals to guide me on this journey. As always, I recommend a Functional Medical Doctor to guide you on yours or to refer you to a specialist. In the end, it is your choice how you handle your health and it is your consequences, also. I do encourage an informed decision.
Having food sensitivities is costly enough with the special alternative foods, special diets, potential days off work and more, without adding in expensive doctor visits. These bills climb even more if you choose a Functional Medicine Doctor that sometimes don’t take insurance and treat things with therapies not always covered by insurance as many of us prefer the functional model of medicine to the allopathic. (For more information on Functional Medicine click here).
This week I am here to answer one major question: If you cant afford to see a doctor that uses these alternative treatments, don’t have insurance or your doctor doesn’t take insurance then what are your most affordable choices if you suspect food intolerances? First Let me speak to one advantage of spending the money on a Functional M.D. or even a D.O. (click here if you want to know what a D.O. is versus and M.D.). The main advantage of spending the money is tax write offs. If you see a Functional Medicine Doctor of some sort and that doctor either finds a food intolerance that would effect your food costs, medical spending or prescribes a special diet to treat the diagnosed condition you are eligible for a tax write-off to cover the additional costs of said treatment. For example, as an officially diagnosed Celiac who is allergic to EVERY processed food and has been prescribed a special diet to treat a diagnosed condition, I am able to write off a significant portion of my grocery bill as a medical cost. (Caution: Please speak with a licensed and trusted accountant for advice in writing off anything on your taxes to make sure you meet the requirements, are following the laws and have the paperwork needed to do so.) But some people still can’t go to these doctors even if its tax deductible. So let’s talk about some alternatives to identify these food sensitivities. We have a couple choices to identify food sensitivities as follows: AIP or other elimination diets, Muscle Testing and Heart Rate Testing.
Many already know about AIP and elimination diets but for those who don’t I will give a brief explanation. By the way, there is much more to doing this right then I will put here but this is the general idea: An elimination diet such as AIP (autoimmune paleo or autoimmune protocol) removes all highly allergenic foods from your diet for a period of time. These foods would include processed sugar, eggs, nuts, grains, dairy, seeds, legumes and nightshades. If improvements are seen and/or not complete then you may choose to remove some secondary, less popular allergens such as molds, yeasts and fermented items, tapioca and fodmaps as a way to troubleshoot or “bio-hack” your own body (more on this technique at a later date). You then will systematically and carefully reintroduce foods one at a time to see if bringing back that food gives you trouble. Like I said, there is much more to it and for complete details I recommend the book that explains it all here.
Another alternative is Muscle Response Testing, or MRT. Because you didn’t come here to read a book, today we are only going to explain what it looks like, its applications in the world of food senstivities, its approximate costs and its limitations and accuracy. I will also give some suggestions on how to incorporate it into your own journey.
Since MRT is something that I have only encountered in the past year, I went to Author, Applied Kinesiologist and Chiropractor Dr. Chris Harrison to get the dirty details about muscle testing. Dr. Harrison has used Applied Kinesiology and Muscle Testing diagnostically for 40 years and has also taught many others, including medical doctors, how to use this technique to gauge what is going on the body and more. I asked him a couple questions to compare this method to the more familiar method of lab testing for food sensitivities. He has demonstrated this technique on me in several capacities, for identifying misalignments in a chiropractic session or for identifying food sensitivities or for determining supplement compatibility and custom dosage recommendations for said supplements. Muscle Testing, or MRT will look something like this: The practitioner will test a muscle to see if it is strong. For example, Dr. Harrison had me hold out my arm and tested to see if it was strong by having me resist while he tried to push it down. He then placed a vial of a food’s “energy” . and the result was either that the muscle was stronger, weaker or no change. A stronger muscle indicates that the test item was “wanted by” or good for your body such as a food that contains a much needed . The weaker muscle indicated that it was incompatible with or undesirable by your body and no change meant that it was neither harmful or beneficial in any measurable amount. (This takes experience to be able to conduct this test and pick up nuances so I suggest seeing a professional to demonstrate until you and your partner are efficient. It does require a practitioner and patient and cannot be performed by yourself). The same method is used to accomplish other findings such as supplement compatibility and dosage (asking the body HOW MUCH of a supplement it needs or wants can be determined by muscle testing) or even something arbitrary such as your name. Dr. Harrison says that what “question” is being asked at the time is very important to know what they body is trying to tell you. For more information on how muscle testing works I suggest reading Say Goodbye to Illness by Dr. Devi Nambudiprad. For Instructions on how to learn this technique, I suggest Preventing Asthma and Allergy Attacks by Dr. Chris L. Harrison.
This test can be a very useful guide for one who is unsure of their sensitivities/allergies or is troubleshooting or even re-introducing. You can use this as a guide to begin your elimination diet. But be warned that it is only a guide. You could also use this to see if just cutting out the identified foods would do the trick to make you feel good again. Or you can use this as a guide during your reintroduction phase. It would be my recommendation to do the latter for safe reintroduction. It is possible that while a food may not show up as unfavorable on a muscle test, it may still give you problems. There are many reasons this can happen. The above book by Dr. Nambudiprad mentions a couple of those reasons.
The cost of this type of test ranges from 30 dollars to 100 dollars depending on the practioner’s time and fees. Compared to expensive lab tests that can be hundreds to thousands of dollars, I consider a 40 dollar fee (this is what Dr. Harrison charges at the time of this article) to be quite a bargain!
There are some drawbacks. The test does have some boundaries and limitations. It is not perfect as it measures something completely different than a lab test measures. According to Dr. Harrison, MRT or Muscle Response Testing measures activity in the body’s energy. Before you produce antibodies there must be a change in energy somewhere that stimulates that production of antibodies and the antibodies themselves would also have their own energy. Dr. Nambudiprad explains in her above book that it has to do with polar charges that repulse each other the way a magnet will reject some other magnets. That energy is being communicated to the muscle through the nerves and nervous system. Dr. Harrison says it can be effected by “psychokinesis” (“subjectivity” to you and me). Basically, it can be skewed by our own negative energy or a desire for a specific outcome projected onto the muscle’s energy. So it is important to clear your mind of expectations and to focus on WHAT you are trying to learn. Dr. Harrison often says “this is a fact finding mission, not a contest.” Dr. Harrison also says that while this is a very useful tool in a practitioner’s work, it is “not the be all end all” of testing or diagnostics. In fact, in his book Preventing Allergy And Asthma Attacks, Dr. Harrison recommends using both MRT and Heart Rate Testing together to determine an allergy. More on this below.
If this is a new thing to you it will seem like something about which to be skeptical. I assure you it is very real and if you were to experience it you would be convinced. For those that are natural born skeptics, let me also say that my own Functional Medicine Doctor has recommended this as an alternative when I couldn’t afford lab tests for food sensitivities. Even my vet uses this for certain applications and I have started to use it at home as I became more confident practicing this technique. Several clients of Dr. Harrison are doctors and scientists with PhD’s and the doctor uses muscle testing in every one of their chiropractic appointments and to determine the compatibility and dosage of supplements for these men and women.
As I mentioned before, MRT is a great tool to combine with Heart Rate Testing or HRT. He explains that Heart Rate Testing can be used to identify food sensitivities also. Like Muscle testing it measures something different from a lab test that measures antibodies and bio-markers. The heart rate would increase in response to the presence of an undesirable (as determined by the body such as an allergen) by increasing the stress in response to its presence in the body. It can do so even while it remains in the mouth. This would result in an increase of heart rate and a change in blood pressure. For many, this can be a very reliable test as in some cases the allergen produces a stress response reliably and consistently as one of the affected’s symptoms. In some cases, the body can respond dramatically as in some Dysautonomia cases. For most who will use this test, however, an increase of 10 percent is enough to consider the food to be incompatible with your body. For more details on how to use or administer this test please contact Dr. Chris Harrison via his website to order your copy. The entire book is full of great health information and was very helpful in my healing on my own crazy journey.
There are many other types of tests to detect allergies and for a complete list of options, including lab tests I suggest reading Dr. Nambudiprad’s list located in the same book mentioned above.
I hope this has been helpful for those that suspect a food sensitivity or are curious about options on how to reintroduce foods as safely as possible. Wouldn’t it be nice to just avoid the unsuccessful reintroductions and avoid all the headaches, both metaphorically and literal? I certainly do! As always, to your health! And good luck on your own journey. Thank you for joining me on My Crazy Journey as we figure all this out together.