In holistic medicine we use certain so-called immunomodulators to influence the body's defenses. Here, modulation does not represent stimulation or strengthening of the body's defenses. Rather, the aim is to bring the immune system back into balance. And this distinction is very important: For example, the immune system of an allergy sufferer already overreacts, which means an immune stimulation would just worsen the symptoms of the disease.
The immune system only responds to stimulation therapies. There is a difference between non-specific and specific stimuli. Non-specific includes procedures that generally stabilize and support the immune system, such as therapy with herbal remedies.
Specific stimulation therapies stimulate the immune system to produce very special antibodies. Typical specific stimulation therapies are vaccinations, but also blood and urine therapy. In these procedures, the body forms so-called anti-antibodies that balance the immune system.
Factors of non-specific immune therapy
Before any immunotherapy begins, a patient's immune status should be checked in order to select the correct treatment. For instance:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Mistletoe preparations
- Gamma linolenic acid
- Trace elements as required (zinc, seaweed, manganese)
- Minerals as required (calcium, magnesium)
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, Folic acid
Specific immune therapy
Blood therapy is one of the oldest naturopathic procedures for specific immunomodulation. The procedure is extremely simple: A few millilitres of blood are taken from the arm vein and injected back into the gluteal muscle.
Blood therapy has been shown to be particularly effective for:
- All infections
- Autoimmune illnesses
- Metabolic disorders
- Heart and circulatory diseases
- Signs of aging and wear & tear
- Special healthcare treatments
- Maintaining vitality
Urine therapy works according to the same principle as blood therapy: Freshly excreted urine is mixed with a local anaesthetic and injected under the patient's skin in increasing concentrations. This ancient therapy is less widespread than auto-blood treatment. In India, people still drink their own urine in order to benefit the immune system.
Blood and urine therapy are particularly effective when the body is under strain. The explanation for this is that at the time of blood or urine collection, the concentration of disease-causing antibodies in the blood or urine is particularly high. The body identifies the re-introduced blood or urine as a foreign body, mobilizes its defenses against the supposed intruder - and thereby forms antibodies against its own disease-causing antibodies, the so-called anti-antibodies.
A special form of autoimmune therapy known as cross-sensitization, popularized by German physician Karl E. Theurer, is also suitable for infants and children. In this approach, homeopathically prepared droplets in different dilutions are produced from blood or urine. The great advantage of counter-sensitization is that the droplets can be taken by mouth and no injection is necessary. The formation of anti-antibodies causes specific immunomodulation and is equivalent to desensitization. In addition, the immune system is trained for a particular consumption method and therefore supports self-healing.
Specific Immunotherapy (SIT)
Specific immunotherapy (SIT), also called hyposensitization, is a causal form of treatment in which the body is inoculated with an allergen in order to accustom the body to that allergy trigger. For this purpose, the patient is gradually given the allergen in increasing concentrations. Once or twice a week the allergen is injected under the skin. However, this form of allergy treatment can be accompanied by severe side effects ranging from itching, redness and swelling, to life-threatening shock. This therapy therefore only makes sense for allergies which can trigger life-threatening reactions or for severe allergic complaints that last longer than three to four months per year and cannot be avoided. These include allergies to pollen, cat hair, and to bee and wasp stings.
Due to the possible serious side effects, SIT should only be carried out by specialists with emergency facilities, preferably in a clinic. For pollen allergy sufferers, it's recommended to undergo short-term therapy during the pollen-free winter months.
In specific sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), also known as oral hyposensibilization, an allergen is taken in the form of drops. This has the advantage that the side effects are less severe as with the injection, and the drops can be taken comfortably at home. There is, however, a rigid intake method that must be strictly adhered to if the therapy is to be successful. SLIT is therefore only suitable for extremely disciplined patients. In order for the hyposensitisation to lead to a permanent improvement of the symptoms, it is recommended to continue the therapy for three to five years. It is also important to continue taking the drops regularly even if there is no contact with the allergen causing the allergy.
Hay fever patients undergoing SLIT can take a break during the pollen season if the symptoms worsen, or they can use a lower concentration. The success rate of sublingual immunotherapy is between 60 and 80% for adults. The success rate in children and adolescents is not yet known.