Allergy Testing at COEM

January 4, 2018

Our method of allergy testing is called Provocation-Neutralization because we sometimes provoke symptoms with the “wrong” dose and turn them off with the “right” or neutralizing dose. Dr. Carlton Lee is credited as the discoverer of Provocation-Neutralization. He, with the help of Dr. Herbert J. Rinkle, developed this method for testing food allergies. Their work was published in 1964 after the death of Dr. Rinkle. Dr. Joseph Miller, a conventional allergist, heard Dr. Lee deliver a paper on the method. Skeptical at first, he tried the technique and found it to be effective in treating food allergies. He refined the method, and also found it could be used in treating active viral infections and hormonal problems. Dr. Miller’s book Food Allergy, published in 1972, is our textbook for allergy testing.

We call our skin testing intradermal or intracutaneous because we inject a small amount (usually 0.05 cc) of an antigen just under the skin. A wheal (bubble) is formed, which we measure with a little card marked off in millimeters. When examining the wheal we also note certain characteristics such as color, hardness, shape and whether or not the wheal is raised above the surface of the skin.

Not only do we consider the appearance and size of the wheal, but we also take into account any changes in the way the patient feels. In our method of testing the kind of symptom changes and when they occur can be useful in determining whether a dose/dilution is right or wrong. Sometimes the patient experiences the same symptoms with testing that they noticed when they were exposed to the antigen. This experience can be exciting for the patient and the tester because a mystery has been solved and questions have been answered.

Our method of testing is more time-consuming initially than conventional allergy testing, but we believe it is more accurate, and it seems to bring relief of symptoms faster because there is no build up process. We find the dose the patient’s body tolerates for each antigen tested, and it is safe for the patients to administer their own extracts as shots or drops.