Man Against Nature

| May 18, 2001

Man Against Nature

It may be in the food you eat or the air you breathe, and it can cripple your health without you ever knowing it’s there. According to an article by Kandace Power Graves in the New Orleans-based Gambit Weekly, 'as many as one in five Americans suffers some kind of food allergies and millions of others have reactions to insect bites, dust mites, molds, spores, pollens, dust, and other environmental irritants.'

Graves goes on to explore the role of holistic and alternative medicine in detecting and treating allergies. While many allergy victims are all too well aware of their afflictions, several others never realize that they have allergies at all, even if the symptoms are severe.

Dr. Robert Fortier-Benson, medical director of the Center for Functional Medicine in Mississippi, believes that even medical specialists can sometimes misdiagnose allergic reactions--which often mimic other conditions. So he practices a more holistic approach.

The identification and treatment process can be extremely demanding and intricate, especially for patients with food allergies. But if patients are willing to work with a variety of different medicines and approaches, their efforts will often lead to a tighter control of allergic reactions. For example, one of Fortier-Benson’s patients completely reversed his ailing health, which had been burdened by chronic back pain and other debilitating symptoms, after he discovered an allergy to dairy products.

'By using a multi-level approach to medicine,' says Fortier-Benson, 'you can use the best of both worlds: conventional and alternative medicine. It takes both. I don’t make judgements about which one is better. I just use what works best for the patient at the time. That’s good medicine.'
--Jeremy Swanson
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