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seawulf575's avatar

Is it possible to mentally control your allergies?

Asked by seawulf575 (12923points) June 8th, 2017

Many years ago, I had bad allergies. I lived on OTC allergy medicines that made me feel either sleepy or wired. And I still had allergies. One day I told myself enough was enough. I realized that the piece of animal dander or pollen wasn’t big enough to hurt me, that I could absorb it without harm. And I decided I would blow my nose until either it fell off or my body went along with my mind. I haven’t had allergies for decades now. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

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9 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Yes, not personally, but there are accounts of it. In particular, some people with split personalities have had different allergies depending on which personality was conscious. Some such people, when they integrated their personalities, retained the ability to control such aspects, as well as others.

JLeslie's avatar

Doubtful. Mind over matter usually works better with things like headaches and depression according to placebo studies.

Lawn's avatar

May be possible with a combination of mental and physical techniques.

Regarding allergies, “the underlying mechanism involves immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE), part of the body’s immune system, binding to an allergen and then to a receptor on mast cells or basophils where it triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine.”

Source: Allergy

Using meditation, breathing and cold-water exposure, healthy volunteers “exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators…”

Source: Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans

Epinephrine’s “beta-2 effects lead to increased bronchodilation and decreased release of histamine, tryptase, and other mediators of inflammation from mast cells and basophils.”

Source: Epinephrine and its Use in Anaphylaxis: Current Issues

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

For all practical purposes…no.

Yellowdog's avatar

Kinda the opposite here— but when I was pastor of a church in Alabama, we had a couple of women who were deathly allergic to flowers.

When I brought in some realistic but artificial flowers at Easter, these two women had serious allergic problems and had to be taken to the emergency room – e.g. their throats closed up and they broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing. There was nothing on the grounds that would have exacerbated this. The flowers were made of silk and regular cloth.

These women were not imagining their symptoms as they had real effect—but it was the allergy to flowers that they were mindful of,

seawulf575's avatar

@Yellowdog that is exactly the same thing. Our minds control our physical reactions. In the case you present, there was no physical reason for an allergic reaction, yet the people had them. In my case, I feel I told my body it didn’t need to react and it doesn’t.

Yellowdog's avatar

You can also get very allergic to something you are allergic to that you didn’t know was there. So don’t rely on your ability even if you can control some of it.

I have recently become allergic to clams and oysters—a food which I love. I can’t control this with my mind even though I can accept physical pain with my mind and cope with it very well.

My friend Christi A. was deathly allergic to CORN. Guess what? Unbeknownst to us—The off-brand fog from a fog machine at a Halloween party had cornstarch to make it look thicker. Christi nearly died, despite immediate help from paramedics at a fire station just 200 feet away,

So please—don’t risk it.

seawulf575's avatar

@Yellowdog allergies are odd things. I don’t believe that I have conquered them totally. I could suddenly come up with some odd allergy to something to which I was never previously allergic. But what I am asking is that when these things pop up, is it possible to overcome them? Example: with your friend Christi, could she convince her body that corn really can’t hurt her? Many people eat corn with no ill effects. So it really is possible to interact with corn without getting hurt. And please, don’t think I am suggesting she should submerge in a vat of corn oil to find out. But from a theoretical aspect, could it be done…overcoming the allergy?

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