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Case Studies Jo, mother and author relates her personal story on the healing process for her baby son

by Nigel Bergman(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 11 - April 1996

“I have had asthma since I was 12, as a result of being allergic to grasses, tree spores, and most animals. In 1992 (aged 32) I went on holiday to New Zealand with my husband and I had several very severe asthma attacks due to the huge amount of tree spores in the air there.

“Knowing what I know now about asthma I would have called an ambulance – I really shouldn’t have been in a hotel room struggling – but I just did not know enough about it, so suffered through several bad attacks on my own, with no real treatment.

“After a short stay in New Zealand, we went on to Singapore. Unfortunately for me, everywhere there is air conditioned. One of the things I can’t cope with when I have asthma is moving too quickly from very hot to very cold climates, but it was unavoidable. We were in and out of shopping malls, going from the hot, damp, humid air outside, then back into ice cold malls, and I caught a bad virus. We came back to England after a 14 hour flight. I was in no fit state to deal with anything, and was diagnosed as having ‘atypical pneumonia’. It was awful – breathing was very very difficult, and I was rushed to hospital where I was kept for 24 hours. They pumped me full of steroids and gave me massive doses of ventalin through a nebuliser every four hours, and made me drink loads of hot liquids. And I recovered slowly.

“Almost exactly one year later, I was travelling in Belgium and got very cold and damp – it was at a time when I was very stressed and under pressure from work – and I caught bronchitis, which developed into pneumonia again. This time the doctors were taking no chances, they put me on a similar course of treatment as before – antibiotics, anti inflammatories, high doses of ventalin, loads of hot liquids and steroids – but kept me in hospital for 5 days.

“I’m sure that the stay in hospital itself did me as much good as the actual treatment; after a few days I relaxed and my lungs got a chance to repair.

“It was just after I had recovered from that, when I was still taking steroids, that I became pregnant.

“We were slightly worried about it because on top of my asthma, my husband has had eczema all his life – very badly as a child, and my brother-in-law who is an allergy specialist, explained to us how eczema and asthma are just different manifestations of the same allergic response, and are passed on from one generation to the next. Therefore, he said, our baby had an 80% likelihood of having both illnesses from birth.

“As a result I was watched very carefully throughout my pregnancy. I did go to see a homeopathic GP in Sussex, but he told me not to muck about with homeopathic treatment for my asthma at all, and that I should stick with the ventalin and the inhalers, and steroids when necessary but that I had to breast feed the baby for a year in order to give it any chance of immunity at all.

“At the time I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t recommend homoeopathic medicine because some 8 years previously my brother-in-law had sent me to see an allergy specialist in London who was developing a series of injections of the things you are most allergic to, in order to build up immunity. She told me that my allergy response was so high that unless she had me under 24 hour surveillance for the 8 months of the injection course I would probably die, and she wouldn’t risk it.

“So I just accepted the Sussex GP’s advice at face value. In any case I was fabulously healthy during my pregnancy, which is quite normal because the body produces all kinds of ‘whiz wham’ hormones that send you whacky anyway, and in the year I was breast feeding I was probably going to be fine.

“Anyway when the baby was born – it was a boy, Ben – as soon as he started to cough I thought ‘Oh my goodness he’s coughing – it’s asthma’ (coughing particularly at night is a symptom of asthma in babies), and they handed me a huge inhaler (for babies they give you a big plastic thing that goes over the baby’s face and you squeeze it so that they breathe in air mixed with bricanyl).

“I was totally paranoid and encouraged to be so.

“But it seemed totally ridiculous to me to give such a small baby this hideous inhaler thing, and after a while I just thought, this child is only a week old, he’s being fed by me and only by me, he’s getting the best food he can have, and I fully appreciate that he’s got genetic tendencies because of my husband and I, but there’s got to be a better way than this.

“And I started to wonder if, in fact, the doctors were overreacting, although it’s unsurprising. One doctor in particular had diagnosed Ben’s night coughing as the symptoms of asthma, but I got a second opinion from another who said that it wasn’t anything to do with asthma, it was simply a normal cough that babies get from things like fluff in their lungs, and it was not a pattern of coughing that would indicate asthma.

“So I stopped giving him the inhaler and instead I took him swimming to help develop his lungs, which the doctors said was working, and they put his lack of asthma down to that.

“Meanwhile I went to see a nutritional specialist who put me on a drastic nutritional programme – brown rice as the basic food, with fish or chicken 3 to 5 times per week, no more than 2 eggs a week, 1 vegetarian day, loads of root vegetables, lentils and pulses, no salt whatsoever, no dairy whatsoever, no alcohol whatsoever, and only olive oil. This made a huge difference to me and began to make massive in-roads into my own asthma, as well as helping Ben through my milk.

“But then Ben began to develop eczema. The doctors were prescribing hydrocortisone cream for it, but I had read that although this may calm the itching down, it just moves the eczema to another area of the body. From my own research, I learned that eczema is a release of something that the body can’t deal with properly, and because it suppresses it, the hydrocortisone would only force the body to release it somewhere else. I had this dread that if I gave Ben the cream, my little tiny baby would be suffering for ever with ‘moving’ eczema.

“So I didn’t give him hydrocortisone cream. I just put a moisturising barrier cream on him before he went to the swimming pool, and washed him with soap free soaps, and fed him only my milk for the first 16-20 weeks of life.

“I said to the nutritionist there’s got to be another way, this child is only weeks old, and I just don’t believe what they are telling me. She agreed and put me on to a homeopath who runs the Dolphin House clinic for children in Brighton. He told me that Ben’s cough and his eczema were related – exactly like my asthma and my husband’s eczema – and definitely treatable. But he warned me that a course of homoeopathic treatment would be a ‘hair of the dog’ because it would be tantamount to making the illness stronger, in order to teach his body a natural immunity.

“I agreed to go ahead, and he gave Ben drops for his tongue – 3 times a day. After about 2 or 3 months of the treatment Ben began to manifest the eczema really badly, and I became panic stricken. We were on holiday in France at the time, and the eczema was made worse by the heat and the sea salt, especially in the folds of his skin where he got more sweaty. But we stuck it out.

“He has had the treatment for a year now and his skin is absolutely beautiful all over. He does have little tiny dry patches, but none of the pink raw violent reaction, and my doctor is completely gob smacked at the lack of need for her. Three more sets of treatment and he’ll be finished, and he’ll grow up without asthma or eczema (he’s 21/4 now). I am so pleased because I just don’t think it was something he was going to grow out of, which is what the doctors always say – my husband, for example, had it right through his childhood and still has it now. Also those of his friends who have had other treatments are still suffering with eczema, whilst those who have been treated by the homoeopath – it’s gone.

“What is most extraordinary about the homoeopathic medicine is the total effect it has had on Ben. It has balanced everything about him, not just the eczema. For example, there was a period when he was having night terrors, and the homoeopath said ‘Oh that’s interesting, I’ll put something in his remedy’, and literally within a week it went. Ben used to get the terrors a couple of times a week, but they went completely and we haven’t had a recurrence since.

“As a result of all that I asked the homoeopath if he could help me. My nutritionist had just recommended me to a personal trainer who specialises in yoga and resistance work, and the homoeopath said that this work and the nutritional programme would cut the healing time for the asthma by a third.

“In fact, I have a peak flow meter (to measure breath) and when I was ill I was getting readings of 175 to 220 (the standard is about 350 to 400). At the moment, particularly after I have been training, I get 450 to 500, which is really high for a normal person, and for someone who suffers from asthma it is outstanding.”

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About Nigel Bergman

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