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The Medical Model: antigen and antibody

According to the traditional medical view, allergy develops as a result of repeated or excessive exposure to a specific substance, or antigen. In response to this substance, the body produces proteins known as antibodies which specifically match the antigen in question. When the body is exposed to a certain antigen, it produces huge quantities of the corresponding antibody, which lock onto the antigen molecules, triggering chemical reactions in the body's cells to disable or destroy the antigen. It is these chemical reactions which are responsible for allergic reactions such asMuscle Testing For Allergies, Part 1 swelling, pain, itching, redness, or the secretion of mucus. 

The antigen-antibody model of allergy was introduced into medicine in the 1920s, based largely on research on inhaled allergic substances (pollens, molds, etc.), which often do involve antibody reactions in the blood. However, it soon became evident that there were many cases, especially involving foods and chemicals, in which it was not possible to demonstrate an antigen-antibody reaction. Environemental FactorsThese environmental sensitivities became the province of clinical ecology, a new field pioneered by physicians such as Dr. Randolph. Because conventional medicine clung to the antigen-antibody model to explain all allergy, it has been unable to deal with many forms of allergies, yet refuses to recognize the alternative approaches which work in these cases. 
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Although clinical ecology has introduced many valuable tools for identifying and treating allergy, its testing methods may still miss some allergic reactions, and its theory does not explain why the body becomes allergic in the first place. To understand what it is about the allergic body that is different from the non-allergic one, we must look at the body in terms of the energy that flows through it. 
It is difficult to talk about energy in our culture because we do not have a precise vocabulary for describing it. Many words have been used in various cultures to describe the vital energy that suffuses all living things — Ch’i in China, Ki in Japan, prana in Hinduism. In the West, this same energy is sometimes referred to as the life force or vital force, or vital energy.   
According to the Chinese system ofMuscle Testing For Allergies, Part 1 medicine, the Ch’i energy flows along specific pathways in the body, known as meridians. Sickness is viewed as a derangement of the energy flow along the meridians: if the energy flow can be restored to normal, good health will return. Thus, in acupuncture, needles are inserted at specific point along the meridians to affect the energy flow, and hence to influence the person's mental and physical health. 
Research in the West has shown that the meridians do have a physical reality. Using radioactive tracers or sensitive instruments, scientists have been able to locate and trace the meridians and specific acupuncture points. It has also been shown that acupuncture also apparently releases endorphins, the morphine-like brain hormones involved in pain control and sometimes given responsibility for the so-called placebo response. 
The body's energy is not confined to the energy that flows through the meridians. Every cell in the body is a bundle of energy — as modern physics helped us to recognize. Energy is involved in every process in our bodies, including the biochemical changes within our cells. In this sense, any disease or malfunction, including allergy, is really an energy disturbance. This energy is a more fundamental life characteristic than tissue. 
When allergy is present, it means that the flow of energy is blocked, disturbed, or unbalanced, and therefore that the biochemical processes are not proceeding properly. 
An Alternative Approach to Allergy, Theron Randolph. M.D. and Ralph Moss. Ph.D., Bantam Books, New York, 1982. 
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