The Asheville Citizen-Times’ featured Dr. Eric Lewis in an article about his unique treatment of allergies.
By Nanci Bompey, Asheville Citizen-Times
March 24, 2009
Julia Rosa has suffered from seasonal allergies and asthma her whole life, but after undergoing allergy desensitization at her naturopath’s office, the Candler resident said she hasn’t sneezed this allergy season.
“Hands down, there really is no comparison,” Rosa said.
Asheville naturopath Eric Lewis is one of the few practitioners in the region using electrodermal screening and acupressure to help desensitize patients to potential allergens.
“The goal of this is to change the way the body perceives a substance,” Lewis said of the process. “The goal is to reverse sensitivity to these things so that a patient can tolerate these things in the future.”
The technique, which is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, first uses an electrodermal screening machine to determine what substances cause a person to have an allergic reaction.
During the process, the patient holds a rod containing the negative end of a circuit while Lewis uses another rod, the positive end, to touch different acupuncture points on the patient’s body. These points correspond to different substances that could trigger an allergic reaction.
The machine then measures the electrical conductivity, or current, through the circuit that has been created. A drop in current flow indicates a resistance to electrical conductance, indicating a person’s sensitivity to a particular substance, Lewis said.
“A change (in the energy flow) means that she is likely sensitive to that allergen,” Lewis said as he demonstrated the technique on Rosa. “It shows her body’s energy is reacting negatively to that substance. That’s when we know that we have a problem.”
Lewis said the machine he uses can screen for thousands of allergens that are environmental, like pollen, chemical, perfume or from food. He said because each substance has its own electromagnetic field, the machine is able to screen down to specific substances to determine if a person’s sensitivity to dairy is from Cheddar cheese or cottage cheese.
While many people with allergies know what they are allergic to, Lewis said the machine can help those patients who have symptoms but don’t know what causes them.
“It gives an objective reading,” Lewis said. “It’s a numerical presentation of what is going on.”
The desensitization part of the process comes next. Once Lewis has determined what a patient is allergic to, he places a small vial containing water and alcohol into the machine, which imprints the electric signal from the substances that a person has sensitivity to into the mixture. Lewis calls this a remedy.
The patient then holds the remedy while Lewis presses on various acupressure points on the patient’s back. The procedure simulates the person being in the presence of the allergen, Lewis said.
“The body is learning to not attack these allergens,” he said.
Rosa has been through all four sessions for the allergy desensitization process, as has her 6-year-old son, Conor. She said the technique identified that her son was allergic to several foods, including dairy, which may have been causing his ear infections.
She said that since Conor had the desensitization procedure done, he hasn’t had an ear infection.
“He has no excuse now to miss school,” Rosa said.
Dr. Hal Jenkins, a doctor at Asheville’s Regional Allergy, said he has not heard of the technique. He said that immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is the only proven way to build up a resistance to allergens.
“It is tried and true,” he said. “None of the other modalities have been.”