The NLP Pattern of the Month:
NLP Allergy Technique

( From Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well-Being, Dilts, R., Hallbom, T. and Smith, S., 1990.)

  1. Have the explorer imagine or remember being near the substance that causes the allergic reaction. Have the explorer get fully enough into the experience that he or she begins to get some of the discomfort associated with the allergy. The more of the physiology associated with the symptom that can be brought up the better - especially physiology that is not typically under conscious control (i.e., eyes watering, skin flush or pale, coughing, sinus congestion, throat tightening, etc.).
    Explore which submodalities intensify and deintensify the degree of the discomfort.

  2. Establish an anchor [A1] for a dissociated state.
    1. This can be done by giving the explorer the instruction to "Lean back comfortably and tilt your head and eyes upward. Visualize a thick glass shield between yourself and substance that triggers your allergic response. Imagine yourself floating back above you and looking down on yourself as if you were in the projection booth of a movie theater looking at yourself sitting in the audience."
    2. Set the anchor when you see that the explorer's breathing has become shallow and even, their eyes defocused and their facial muscles relaxed.

  3. Establish a desired state anchor [A2] for how the explorer wants to respond around the substance that has been triggering the allergic reaction.
    Have the explorer develop a positive ‘reponse expectancy’ by imagining as fully as possible how he or she would want to react around the allergy producing substance and associate into it as much as possible. It can help to use the critical submodalities you discovered in step 1 to build up the new response.

  4. Establish an anchor for several counterexample reference experiences [A3].
    1. Have the explorer access an associated memory of being near something that is as close as possible to the substance that causes the allergy in as many qualities as possible but which does not trigger the allergic response. For example, the explorer may be allergic to cigarette smoke but not smoke from a campfire or incense, or the explorer may be allergic to some cats but not all cats, or is allergic to cats but not dogs.
    2. It is also useful to identify some substance that is potentieally even more "toxic" than the substance which causes the allergy, but to which the explorer’s body has learned a more appropriate type of immune response. Someone may have an allergy to perfume, but not to gasoline, for example. This demonstrates that the immune system can keep the body just as safe, but without the allergic symptoms.
    3. Make sure you see the appropriate physiology when you set the anchor (i.e., clear eyes, smooth and even breathing, open throat, normal skin tone, etc.).

  5. Check for any secondary gains or ecology issues regarding the allergic response.
    1. A common example might be an individual for whom the allergic reaction has been a substitute for standing up for him/herself around people who smoke.
    2. If the allergy has been connected with asthma in the past it is a good idea to have the person remember back to their first allergy/asthma attack and use reimprinting, reframing, change personal history, or your three anchors to add any needed resources.

  6. Fire off the dissociated state anchor [A1] and have the explorer begin to imagine being near the allergy producing substance. Then fire off the anchors for the desired state [A2] and counterexample [A3] simultaneously. Make sure that you hold the anchors long enough that you see the full physiological responses associated with these experiences as opposed to the allergy response.

  7. Starting with a small amount initially, begin to expose the explorer to the allergy producing material, increasing the amount in stages until he or she can be fully exposed to it without effect. At each stage start by firing the dissociation anchor [A1] and then the desired state and counterexample anchors [A2 + A3] simultaneously. You may also use the critical submodalities you found in step 1 to strengthen the new response.
    The explorer should be allowed to be in complete control of when and how much of the substance they will be exposed to.

The basic NLP Allergy Technique has now been applied thousands of times in clinical and training settings and has been effective in changing a vast majority of allergy symptoms. The types of allergies have included those to airborne material, such as smoke, pollen, perfume, etc., to various foods, and even in cases involving asthma. In a study done in Salt Lake City (Hallbom & Smith, 1987), for example, thirty two individuals were guided through the allergy pattern for a multitude of allergies, including pollen, smoke and foods. They even treated a person who was sensitive to poison oak, which is a kind of an allergy. Out of the thirty people, all but three showed immediate reduction of their symptoms. Most of the people in the study, in fact, showed a complete suppression of the allergic reaction immediately after learning the process. A six month follow up revealed that only three of the individuals who had responded positively had any recurrence of their allergies.

In the Summer of 1994, a controlled clinical test of the Allergy Process was conducted with approximately 120 allergy sufferers. The study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. David Paul at a hospital in Vail, Colorado. The study showed that the Allergy Process produced significant reduction in the symptoms of many types of allergies, in particular food allergies. Details of this study are available from the Institute for Advanced Studies of Health (IASH). For more information, contact:

Institute for the Advanced Studies of Health
346 S. 500 E. #200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102-4022
(801) 534-1022
Fax (801) 532-2113

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