The techniques I tried to cure my eczema, allergies, asthma, etc.
At the age of 6 months, I had an asthmatic bronchitis. This was the first expression of the dysfunction of my immune system in a series that would manifest over many years.
As a child, I developed eczema and respiratory allergies. As a teenager, chronic back pain. A few years ago I found myself with new food sensitivities and intolerances. To the point of, just last year, feeling chronically tired and being unable to gain weight.
Over this period of about 36 years, I tried a range of almost 30 different health approaches to improve my health.
From conventional medicine when I was a child, I then switched to manual therapies like physiotherapy. Later I investigated the psychological factors behind eczema, back pain, and allergies. And, when food issues appeared, I looked into elimination diets and lifestyle troubleshooting.
So far, none of these techniques cured me! But some of them helped me, at least to some extent, to improve the situation. I am now starting to explore the next step on this healing quest: the field of energetic healing…
In this article, I synthesize these different steps. I focus on the more meaningful approaches I tried. If you also suffer from asthma, eczema, allergies, this article might help you. As, according to doctors’ and patients’ testimonies, some of the techniques that I describe really have the potential to free some patients from their symptoms, completely and sustainably.
Table of content
Conventional medecine (1990-2000)
Before the age of 7, I already had asthma, eczema, and respiratory allergies. I remember my mother staying close to my bed whenever I had an asthma crisis, to help me breathe calmly and fall asleep. I also remember my parents using a soft almond ointment to soothe my dry and irritated skin.
But as some of my asthma crises turned out to be quite severe, and due to my developing respiratory allergies, we eventually visited pulmonologists and allergologists.
For asthma, I was prescribed Ventoline.
During an asthma crisis, bronchi are strongly contracted. The crisis stops instantly thanks to Ventoline, which forces their dilatation. I also remember taking one or two other daily drugs, although I cannot remind their name nor their purposes.
I ended up taking only Ventoline to stop crises and got rid of the rest. I was not happy with the idea of having to take chemicals every single day of my life, and I simply didn’t feel any notable effect from these daily pills.
For allergies, I remember taking every day an antihistamine pill supposed to inhibit the chronic inflammation of my body. I was also proposed to do an allergy test to identify the allergens I reacted to.
I reacted to the pollen of Poaceae, cat’s fur, dog’s saliva, mite, feather, and a couple of others. Then, the strategy was to desensitize me to these allergens. Each morning and evening, for at least a full year, I had to put a few drops of a mysterious liquid below my tongue. The liquid contained these allergens, in extremely low and then increasing concentration. Thanks to this process, my body would theoretically get used to these allergens and stop reacting to them.
Even though this was serious medicine I, oddly, haven’t felt any clear improvements in my symptoms. I took my drops every day, I kept reacting to cats, and I still do today…! I didn’t feel relieved by the anti-histaminic pill either and, as well as the daily medication for asthma, I got rid of it when I was a teenager.
I ended up simply avoiding cats to avoid reactions.
For eczema, as far as I remember, the only solution I was proposed was to use an ointment containing corticoids.
This cream was very efficient in stopping the skin inflammation, but I was told to use it as sparsely as possible, due to its many side-effects. Throughout my life, my eczema was punctually very strong, but most of the time located in specific parts, such as behind the knees or on the fingers.
I followed this advice most of the time and used this cream only to prevent eczema from appearing when it was starting or to soothe it for a few days till the crisis was over.
Why didn’t it work for me?
Overall, I have to admit that, even if doctors looked motivated and nurses were kind, the treatments did very little if nothing to improve my condition. By my 18th birthday, I would have got rid of the daily pills and the regular appointments, and simply rely on a Ventoline and a tube of corticoid ointment in case of a crisis.
I still don’t exactly understand why I felt so little improvements from these medical treatments. But one thing is clear: conventional medicine doesn’t try to cure asthma, eczema or allergies, but only tries to alleviate symptoms using chemistry.
Yet, I would realize later that at least a handful of other approaches actually try to cure these diseases and apparently already succeed in many cases judging by the many testimonials.
Manual therapies (1995-2013)
But before my 18th birthday, I developed chronic lower back pain in addition to all other symptoms mentioned above. This pain seemed clearly related to the stress I had when studying at middle school, between my 10 and 15 years.
At first, back pain doesn’t sound related to eczema, allergies, and asthma. But I would understand later that it is actually another expression of my immune system issues. Hence, I also describe these adventures here.
To treat my back pain, I was naturally sent to see an osteopath regularly, for a few years.
I liked this treatment in general! It was peaceful, and as far as I remember I did feel some relief after the sessions. But it didn’t really cure my back pain symptoms. Perhaps no osteopath could have suppressed my pain, as long as I was enduring constant stress from my studies in this middle school.
When I went to high school, however, my back pain showed less chronic and its intensity lowered. These 3 years were less stressful. I also found a very close friend with whom to talk about my deepest problems. And, thanks to the study of philosophy, I started to use more spontaneously writing as a way to express my emotions and thoughts and probably let them exist out of the body.
After high school, I did two years of preparatory school. These years were very intensive and stressful. Interestingly, however, I cannot recall strong expressions of suffering through my body.
Maybe I was too focused to let my emotions be expressed? Or, maybe I was still able to canalize efficiently my emotions with the habit of writing and thanks to the presence of another very close friend?
Nevertheless, I do remember that I started to develop a new kind of pain. My knees would begin to be very painful after only a few minutes of skying or jogging. I didn’t have time nor money at that moment to try to see how medicine could help me. It is only a couple of years later, when in college in Paris, that I would find more time to see a physician who would prescribe me a dozen of physiotherapy sessions.
The physiotherapist would stretch some muscles of my legs and would then ask me to repeat specific movements to increase the strength of some other muscles. According to him, the unbalance between the different muscles of my legs was likely to provoke unbalanced pressure on my knees. This would trigger unwanted friction, inflammation, and pain.
After the dozen of sessions were completed, I noticed, unfortunately, an increase in my knee’s inflammation instead of a decrease… It seemed that the unbalanced pressure on my knees was coming from another source. Therefore, forcing my muscles to be stretched and strengthened only reinforced the bad pressure put on the knees!
Again, I would understand later that this knee pain was just another sign of a chronically inflamed body.
After graduating from college I did a gap year before diving to the next step. I needed a break to breathe a little, to think about what I wanted to do with my life, and to take care of my health.
One evening at the start of this gap year, I had an eczema crisis. Angry against this disabling and so long-lasting disease, I opened my computer to look for a solution. After just a few minutes, I had it. An osteopath was explaining on his website how he was curing 90% of his patients of eczema, asthma, and allergies altogether!
It was one of these rare moments in life when a peak of suffering, combined with more free time than usual, pushes us to look for a solution. We had accepted that we would suffer forever from this pain, but this free time gives a little space for hope to come back and new ideas to come up. And, here it is, we find a solution that had already been available to us, but that we hadn’t seen yet.
So, what was this solution?
This osteopath noticed some patterns in his patients’ symptoms. All of them had some vertebras and ribs malpositioned. Some malpositions were correlated with asthma, others with respiratory allergies, and others were correlated with eczema. For eczema, the location of the malpositions along the spine determined the location of eczema spots appearing on the body. Often, patients would have a combination of eczema, asthma, and allergies, because all these symptoms would be the expression of vertebras and ribs malpositions.
He hypothesized that, even though these tiny malpositions were not painful, they were still noticed by the brain. The brain would hence react by triggering an inflammatory response in the corresponding areas. These inflammations would take the form of eczema, psoriasis, asthma, allergies, back pain, etc. Removing the malpositions would make the brain stop the inflammations and hence all the symptoms would disappear.
He was curing patients in 3 sessions only, by simply repositioning each of their vertebras and ribs. Compared to a standard osteopath or chiropractic session, he was always following the same precise protocol to make sure all malpositions were cleared, from the coccyx to the upper vertebra. Because a single remaining malposition would trigger a relapse.
He called this technique after his name — the Gesret method. If you are interested in learning more about this technique and Gesret’s interpretation about why it works, I invite you to have a look at his website and the website presenting his technique. He also trained osteopaths from several countries — here is the list of practitioners — so you might even be able to give it a try. I hope this solution can work for you!
After just a few minutes of internet search, I was hence in front of this website, in disbelief. Three main points stroke me:
- I eventually found someone who was tackling eczema, asthma, and allergies as a single condition; instead of three separate conditions dealt with by different specialists.
- Osteopaths or chiropractors are usually known to treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system. I hence, realized how my back and knee pains could simply be another consequence of vertebras and ribs malpositions.
- This confirmed to me that when a physician tells me “There is no cure for your disease”, it does not really mean that there is no cure, but rather that he does not understand yet the roots of my condition.
As soon as I understood this technique and trusted the testimonies, I decided to go for it. I saw one, two, and eventually three practitioners trained to apply this technique.
But, to my surprise, it did not work.
After each session, I was feeling improvements. My nose was less blocked, my breathing was easier. As I was experiencing clear improvements, I knew it was really working. Yet, after a few hours or a few days, my body was back to its usual sick state. Why were these effects not sustainable, I wondered?
I tried making stretchings every morning and evening for about a year, as I noticed that it was partly reproducing the practitioners’ work, and slowing down the relapse. At some point, I was even able to instantly stop a starting eczema flare-up by stretching to reposition specific vertebras. This confirmed to me, even more, that it was really working.
The last practitioner I saw, who I trusted most, hypothesized that one of my legs might be shorter than the other, triggering this tiny vertebras malposition. Then, I saw a podiatrist who made custom soles to try to correct my balance. I used these soles over a few months, but it didn’t help.
Sadly, it seemed that I was part of the 10% on whom the technique was not working.
Why didn’t it work for me?
The last practitioner I saw concluded that, in my case, the cause was very likely not structural. Instead of vertebras and ribs malpositions, the inflammation could be triggered by other elements, for instance, a parasite or food sensitivities. In turn, this chronic inflammation would trigger the tiny malpositions and then the related symptoms.
Parasites and food sensitivities were probably very logical tracks to pursue. But I was not yet ready to investigate these directions, for 2 main reasons:
- For parasites, the practitioner used an obscure tool – a Lecher antenna – to test if I was positive. I have always been very curious about all kinds of approaches, even “unproved” ones. But I would need a few more years to clear myself from my all misconceptions and understand how such a tool may work.
- For food sensitivities, I did not take it seriously as I had never really noticed at that time any clear gastrointestinal distress after eating. As I would realize later, however, for most people food sensitivities don’t provoke gastrointestinal symptoms. It is, by the way, one of the main reasons why most of us react too late when these sensitivities turn to intolerance or other immune system disorders.
I would look into these two hypotheses — parasites and food sensitivities — later, but life proposed another important factor to investigate first.
Psychological troubleshooting (2011-2018)
In 2011, a close relative of mine made a strong and sudden psychological burnout. It triggered a lot of questionings, leading me to realize that I was a hypersensitive person. I feel things strongly and may react to them exaggeratedly. This brought light to another aspect of my health issues — psychology — that I hadn’t fully investigated yet.
I already knew from my own experience that emotions modulate eczema, asthma, back pain, etc. I even tried to explore this by recording on a spreadsheet my daily emotions along with skin, breathing, and musculoskeletal symptoms. I initiated this experiment several times when a teenager, but I could never maintain the records for more than a few days because the diversity of sensations and the complexity of phenomena bogued my brain.
So, when I understood that my sensitivity was higher than average people, it confirmed how important it was to troubleshoot it to improve my health condition. I started by reading a few books on the topic, and I wrote a post about hypersensitivity (in French).
I ended up making an appointment with a psychologist who specialized in hypersensitive people. It was not reimbursed by the social health care system, but at that moment, and for the first time in my life, I was earning a monthly salary so I could afford it.
In about 10 appointments over one year, I saw a cute psychologist who seemed to be my age. She was following the integrative psychotherapy approach. It turned out to be very efficient, at least in terms of psychological aspects.
We targeted my main problems at that moment, mainly work-related human interactions and relationships in private life. Not only did it help me to solve a series of issues that I had, but it also automatically improved my self-confidence, and taught me simple and straightforward analytical tools to address my psychological problems. I ended up auto-analyzing my life (in French) in order to identify helpful patterns.
I think these psychological investigations stabilized my physical symptoms. The social and financial stability brought by my regular salary clearly helped too. But I do remember an eczema crisis on my hands around that time, in Paris. My fingers were so red and swelled that the pharmacist, feeling so sorry, sold me this famous corticoid ointment without a physician’s prescription, which is normally not allowed!
Thus, realizing my hypersensitivity and following this psychological support helped me with my physical symptoms, but only to some extent. This inner exploration was, however, very efficient to teach me simple analytical tools to observe my emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
After some time, I started to apply more spontaneously this analytical approach on myself. It made me more and more present and focused. One day, I realized how this habit of self-observation was efficient to make some blocked emotions literally vanish. I wrote a post to describe this discovery (in French).
That day, I started to understand how my continuous effort to pay attention to the present was becoming very close to meditation. I hence thought that meditation could be a natural next step to dive deeper and, hopefully, to help me solve more of my physical symptoms.
At that moment, the clinic where I was seeing the psychologist proposed a short training to learn mindfulness. So I registered for one session.
After trying mindfulness for a few sessions, I quickly knew that I wanted to go deeper. It seemed already promising, but I wanted to feel concrete benefits before implementing it in my daily life habits. I discovered that to do an efficient trial, I could make a meditation retreat. Meditating intensely for several days, I thought, would really show me the benefits of meditation.
I searched for meditation retreats on the Internet, and I found the Vipassana meditation technique. It clearly stated that it is not a technique to remove physical problems but rather to train the mind to see things more clearly, including realizing how we actually create suffering and how to avoid creating it. It seemed to be the best option for me: straight to the point, intense, had survived thousands of years of existence, was not a religious group, and didn’t cost hundreds of euros. I applied for my first 10-day course.
I wrote an article to tell how this first Vipassana retreat happened (in French). I really enjoyed learning this technique and I clearly felt benefits from the first retreat, as well as from the following ones. It felt like helping me to remove useless layers of past emotions and thoughts. I hence started to meditate daily and I think that my emotional status was indeed getting more and more peaceful.
Interestingly, meditation also helped me to perceive the world more finely. This triggered a profound change in the way I experienced life. Among other things, it would, for instance, lead me to consider energetic approaches to health as a valuable technique to investigate too, as you will see later.
But for now, let’s stick to how meditation helped me with my physical symptoms. By meditating regularly, I learned how to observe my symptoms more and more equanimously, rather than being affected by them, and they indeed appeared less and less noisy. But I cannot remind a clear improvement of these symptoms over long periods. They seemed stabilized, with no crises, but they were still there.
Why didn’t it work for me?
My psychological investigations and my meditation practice seemed to have stabilized my physical symptoms.
Psychotherapy and meditation most probably helped me remove some old blocked emotions and avoid creating more of them. As these techniques are not specifically designed to treat physical symptoms, it sounds logical that they didn’t clear all my eczema, asthma, and allergies over these few years of practice.
Yet, I know from my own experience and testimonies that eczema, asthma, allergies, back pain, etc. are, indeed, correlated with emotions. So, why should these approaches not be more efficient to help me bring my health back?
Probably because, whereas psychology was clearly linked to my physical manifestations, it was not the main factor. So, if troubleshooting my musculoskeletal structure and my psychology was not enough to solve my issues, what might be the missing puzzle piece(s)?
At that moment, I didn’t have a clue, and I was not actively looking for it because my symptoms were quiet. Yet, by the end of my Ph.D. when my stress level increased, I started to develop new symptoms. From time to time, I had sudden fatigue and headaches, and even some small but noticeable belly pain or bloating after eating specific foods like a croissant or hot chocolate.
These new symptoms appeared very gradually so that I didn’t really worry. But as you probably guess, I was getting closer to realize and accept that there was something to look into, regarding parasites and food sensitivities…
Food & gut explorations (2018-2021)
In early 2018, we moved to Taiwan, where we planned to live for a few years. Although I was happy and confident about this move, it turned out to be too challenging for me: starting life as a couple, learning Chinese from scratch, adapting to a new culture in a humid subtropical climate, and beginning a business activity as a blogger-farmer with no personal income yet… I also stopped meditating gradually for a combination of reasons. Not surprisingly, my eczema and respiratory allergies increased.
When I make a decision, I am usually strongly determined. This can be a useful quality, right? But in this case, it probably worsened my condition. I was very motivated by these challenges, and my motivation prevented me from feeling that it was actually too much. So I kept going ahead.
One day, angry against my eczema becoming too strong on my fingers, I opened my computer to search for a solution. And, after just a few minutes, I had it. The elimination diet: removing a set of risky foods was helping thousands of people to reduce or completely clear their symptoms!
About 10 years after finding the Gesret method, I was finding the elimination diet pretty much in the same way. Again, it was an alternative approach that had already been available since I was born, but that I hadn’t seen yet.
Hence, I dove into this new solution.
I quickly found countless pieces of information supporting the elimination diet as a way to cure eczema, psoriasis, respiratory allergies, asthma, and, of course, food issues. Scientific papers investigating specific foods, physicians specialized in elimination diets, and testimonies of patients’ success stories.
Among many sources, I found the former eczema patient Harrison from Hong Kong, blogging on using an elimination diet to clear eczema sustainably. In France, some early research on the effect of elimination diets on inflammatory diseases was done by clinical pathologist Jean Seignalet in the ’80s. I went through a book written by the Canadian microbiologist and immunologist Jacqueline Lagacé (in French) explaining how she cured herself of arthrosis by following the Seignalet’s diet. Her book strives to highlight scientific explanations on how elimination diets work for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
I felt a strong hope. I immediately started to list all the foods likely to trigger immune health issues, and I tossed them from my diet. I removed nightshades, pork, soy, milk products, etc. I tried to stick to it for several months. I cannot remember having felt any clear effect on my eczema, but something interesting happened.
I gradually realized that gluten was making my belly bloated. More surprising, even traces of gluten triggered strange symptoms that I would never have imagined. As quickly as a few minutes after swallowing, I would notice a headache, a fuzzy pain in my right shoulder and some other joins, and a sudden feeling of depression or lassitude. The following day, I would see a slight swelling of my face and my fingers, along with an odd fuzzy brain feeling.
Why in the world such symptoms appeared precisely when I was starting to eliminate risky foods?
As I would understand later, it is a common phenomenon. I haven’t yet understood how this works, but it seems that the body starts to express itself more clearly when we remove some problematic foods. Perhaps as the toxic load is reduced, there is more energy to react to the remaining threats.
Of course, as soon as I realized this, I tossed gluten. But I also started to feel hopeless. How come my situation was not getting better after several months of following an elimination diet? Lost in the abundance of information out there, I felt confused about which food to keep or remove. I was starting to understand that there are as many elimination diets as there are patients…
As a striking example, I remember reading this testimony of chef John Torode. He was suffering from eczema, even while eating steamed vegetables, brown rice, and warm water for three weeks. But his eczema disappeared after removing a specific vegetable family — the nightshades. Yet, some other people can clear their symptoms even with a diet that does include nightshades!
There was a lot of information online about elimination diet and whether or not to remove a food showed quite specific to patients. I needed a simple and convincing framework to help me go ahead without losing my motivation.
Leaky gut healing
I eventually found support when I looked into the concept of the “leaky gut” syndrome. I had come across this information a few times but didn’t dare to dive into it as it sounded so scary.
On the English-speaking blogosphere, medical doctors Amy Myers and Josh Axe are the ones that come up on the first page of search engine results for “leaky gut”. I read the book The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, and Eat Dirt by Josh Axe. Both books helped me seeing better why leaky gut could be another piece of the puzzle necessary to understand what happened to me since I was a baby.
Medical research understands better and better that immune system disorders seem correlated with an intestine that lets unwanted molecules enter the blood flow - a leaky gut. In the blood, the immune system considers these unwanted molecules as potential threats and hence triggers an inflammatory response. An inflammatory response translates into the production of antibodies, that is, proteins that specifically bind to the unwanted molecules. Once these molecules are bound to antibodies, they can be spotted by the immune system and destroyed.
If, for instance, some gluten enters the blood flow, the immune system creates antibodies against gluten. They bind to gluten molecules, and the gluten-antibody complex is identified and destroyed. One interesting aspect of these antibodies targetting gluten is that, unfortunately, they can also bind to some proteins of our own organs! It can lead to autoimmune diseases where our immune system attacks our body.
This discovery was shocking to me. I understood that eczema and allergies I had from very very young, were potentially related to food sensitivities. Most likely, milk and gluten, which are the most common triggers. As I was not feeling any obvious gastrointestinal distress at that moment, I didn’t identify them as bad for me. Yet, they most likely triggered secondary issues, like respiratory allergies, eczema, asthma. As I was still eating these trigger foods every day, my body was chronically inflamed, and with time, I developed back and knee pain.
This also explained why the structural care I received from several manual therapists could not help in the long term. As long as I was eating these foods, my body would stay inflamed, maintaining musculoskeletal issues. My latest osteopath was most probably right: I was likely to have had unnoticed food sensitivities for many many years.
In her website and her book, Amy Myers proposes a way to reverse autoimmunity in 30 days. If you want to learn more, her website is a good resource, but you can also look directly for “functional medicine”, which is the approach she uses. In brief, her solution consists of: an elimination diet to stop the inflammation of the gut; supplements to support gut reparation; and identifying and treating other potential issues that may maintain inflammation, like non-food toxins (eg. air pollution), infections, and stress.
All this confirmed to me that an elimination diet was the right thing to start with. I also understood how I could support my healing by using supplements. And it became clear that if an elimination diet does not work, it might be due to other underlying issues to treat, such as infections or chronic stress.
The elimination diet she proposed removed altogether dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, most nuts and seeds, eggs, and more. It was more strict than what I had already done. I was still eating quite a lot of nuts and seeds, and as a vegetarian, I relied heavily on eggs and beans for proteins!
I cried when I realized that if I wanted to make sure I had the best chance of success, I was going to have to eat animals. I also cried when I understood that the healthy eating recommendations I had confidently followed for my whole life — whole grains, plenty of beans, dairy products, seed oils… — turned out to be the very ones that made me sick in the first place.
With this strict elimination diet, my overall symptoms reduced by about 50% in a couple of months. It was already very promising and motivating. But then, what would cause this remaining 50%? I needed to go deeper…
My present investigations
It was a bit more than a year ago. I am now still trying to understand better how to cure my health issues.
Over the last year, I have been exploring new tracks and techniques. I have looked into how my lifestyle could maintain my chronic inflammation. How spending more time in nature could help my body reset and evacuate the toxic load. And I have recently entered the field of energetic approaches.
Among energetic approaches, I started tai chi and qigong. But the most straight to the point and promising technique I found is NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques). It is specifically designed to treat all kinds of allergies. I am sharing in an other article the results that I have had so far with the NAET treatment.
First published: 24 Feb 2021.
Was this helpful?
Let me know in the comments if this article has been helpful to you and if you would be interested in knowing more about my present investigations!
Also, if you found a way to clear completely and sustainably your eczema, allergies, asthma, or other immune issues, I would be very interested to know which technique helped you achieve this!