Blog Post

NAET: Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique

JS asks: “Can you tell me if NAET (Nambudripads Allergy Elimination Techniques) is related to the New Age? It involves energy work.”

Anything that involves “energy work” is New Age, and NAET falls into this category. An easy rule-of-thumb to use when discerning one of these treatment modalities is to check to see if it involves a universal energy known as chi, ki, qi, prana, yin-yang, vital force, etc. If so, it’s not Christian (and not scientific) and should be avoided. Most places do not hide their belief in this energy so it’s usually fairly easy to spot on their websites.

In the case of NAET, this is an Allergy Elimination Technique developed by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad, a chiropractor/acupuncturist who has a medical degree from a university in Antiqua.

Her website explains NAET as a “non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to eliminate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.”

Although she does not describe the types of energy she’s balancing, she is involved in the use of alternative treatments that are based on the manipulation of yin-yang (acupuncture) and vital energy (scientifically unsubstantiated).

Her overarching belief is that allergies can best be explained through the principles of Oriental medicine, such as the belief that allergies cause blockages in the body’s meridian energy pathways. She also employs the very New Age muscle testing technique to diagnose specific allergies, then treats them with a combination of spinal stimulation and acupressure. After each treatment, the patient must avoid the offending substance for precisely 25 hours.

Dr. Nambudripad’s history is a bit strange, to say the least. In her book, Say Goodbye to Illness, she claims to have suffered from a variety of health problems as a child such as infantile eczema, arthritis, sinusitis, clinical depression, and severe migraines.

“All the medicines, vitamins and herbs made me sicker, and the good nutrition made me worse,” she writes in her book. “I was nauseated all the time. Every inch of my body ached. I lived on aspirin, taking almost 30 aspirin a day to keep me going.”

It was during her chiropractic training that she received an acupressure treatment from a guest speaker that helped her to feel better. She was later advised to eat nothing but broccoli and white rice, a diet she claims to have existed upon for three years. Anytime she ate another type of food, her arthritis pain would return. This was especially true in regard to fruit, honey, or anything that contained sugar.

“These made me extremely tired, because I was very allergic to sugar,” she says in her book. “I could not drink or eat milk or milk products, because I was very allergic to calcium. I was highly allergic to fish groups, because I was allergic to vitamin A. I was allergic to egg products, because eggs gave me skin problems. I was allergic to all types of beans, including soybeans, they gave me severe joint pains. Spices gave me arthritis of all the small joints. Almost all the fabrics, except silk, gave me itching, joint pain, and extreme tiredness. My teacher at the acupuncture college confirmed my doubts. I was just simply allergic to everything under the sun, including the sun by radiation.”

Dr. Nambudripad experienced another profound healing after giving herself an acupuncture treatment while in contact with some carrots. After the treatment, she ate the carrots and found that she was no longer allergic. She reasoned this was because the carrots had been present in her electromagnetic field and that:

“During the acupuncture treatment, my body probably became a powerful charger and was strong enough to change the adverse charge of the carrot to match with my charge. This resulted in removing my carrot allergy. I tested and treated my husband and son. In a few weeks we were no longer allergic to many foods that once made us ill. . . . Later I extended this to my patients who suffered from a multitude of symptoms that arose from allergies.”

Stephen Barrett, M.D., of Quackwatch, explains the many problems with Dr. Nambudripad’s explanation.

First, taking almost 30 aspirin a day would have caused severe side affects. “Doses above four grams per day are likely to cause ringing in the ears, dizziness, increased breathing rate, and serious metabolic imbalances,” Dr. Barrett writes. “High doses can also cause severe stomach upset and a tendency toward abnormal bleeding. Death has been reported from single doses of 10-30 grams.”

Second, allergies occur to proteins, not vitamins, sugars or minerals. “It is possible to be allergic to eggs, fish, and or milk, but the claim that she was allergic to vitamins A, C and B-complex (a total of 10 out of the body's 13 vitamins!), calcium, and sugars is absurd.”

Third, if she was indeed allergic to vitamin A and C, she could not have tolerated a diet of broccoli and rice because these foods are very high in vitamin A and C.

Another problem with NAET is that the principle diagnostic method is muscle testing, which is a distinctly New Age treatment. Proponents of muscle testing claim diseases can be evaluated through specific patterns of muscle weakness which they can heal by manipulating or unblocking alleged body energies along meridian pathways, or by infusing energy to produce healing in certain organs.

In the case of NAET, substances are put in the patient’s hand and the practitioner tests whether the arm can resist being pulled by the practitioner. If the arm can be pulled, it means the substance causes an allergy.

When the testing is complete, the practitioner then "treats specific acupuncture points on the back using strong acupressure either by hands or with a pressure device while the patient is holding the allergen in their palm, touching the sample with the pads of their fingers,” Dr. Barrett explains. “All patients above the age of ten will then also receive acupressure or acupuncture needles on specific points on the front of the body.”

Patients are asked to remain for 15-20 minutes in the office after treatment, after which time they are subjected once again to muscle testing to see if the practitioner can pull the patient’s arm while they are holding an allergen in their hand. If not, then the treatment is considered successful.

Patients must then avoid all contact with the allergen for 25 hours and are given a Guidebook that helps them to find the foods they are permitted to eat during that period. Full treatment consists of 30-40 visits (usually occurring once or twice a week).

Today’s healthcare system, which is closely tied to Big Pharma, has turned many of us off, but we must be careful not to replace one type of bad treatment with another equally bad or worse treatment.

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