What is it?
Environmental medicine is a system that explores the effects of dietary and environmental allergens on a person's health. Substances such as dust, molds, chemicals, and foods have been found to cause allergies that are thought to cause a variety of conditions. Doctors practicing environmental medicine attempt to reverse these conditions by identifying and treating the patient to eliminate their exposure or limit their reactions to the allergens.
Dr. Theron Randolph, MD, is an allergy specialist and professor at four medical schools. He is also considered the father of environmental medicine. Since the 1940's, he has been teaching that common food allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms in patients, including headaches, eczema, fatigue, arthritis, depression, and digestive problems. The most common food allergens are milk and dairy products, wheat, yeast, corn, eggs, coffee, soy, potatoes, tomatoes, beef, pork, chicken, peanuts, oranges, chocolate, and sugar.
Environmental doctors help the patient identify the foods and environmental substances that they need to avoid.
Testing for food and environmental allergens can be accomplished by various methods. Each testing procedure has its benefits but none of the techniques are 100% accurate. The most common techniques are skin testing, neutralization, RAST, muscle testing, and electroacupuncture biofeedback.
Doctors practicing environmental medicine focus mostly on identifying and eliminating a person's food allergies. They feel that the body has the ability to handle a finite number of allergens before the immune system is overwhelmed and symptoms are experienced. Most environmental allergens are very difficult or impossible to avoid, but foods can easily be eliminated from a person's diet. Once the major food allergies have been eliminated from a person's diet, a huge stress is removed from their digestive system. The toxins created from eating the offending foods are no longer created.
Although diet modification is the most common method used in environmental medicine, there are many other methods. These include enzyme desensitization, nutritional therapies, detoxification, saunas, homeopathy, fasting, and colonics.
Doctors practicing environmental medicine have reported successes in treating a variety of symptoms and illnesses. These include migraines, high blood pressure, ear infections, enuresis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hormone problems, hay fever, sinusitis, digestive problems, chronic infections, and arthritis. Fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, asthma, and skin problems may also be helped with environmental medicine.
A number of doctors and practitioners offer environmental medicine to their patients. The methods used will vary widely from doctor to doctor. Make sure that the doctor you choose offers the specific type of service you are looking for.
- American Academy of Environmental Medicine (303) 622-9755
- Environmental Health Center (214) 368-4132
- Human Ecology Action League (404) 248-1898
1. Burton Goldberg Group: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Publishing, Puyallup, WA; 1994.
2. Lopez DA, Williams RM & Miehlke K: Enzymes the Fountain of Life. Nevel Press, Charleston, SC; 1994.
Last Updated: 1/4/2011