Alternative Medicine

Docs Say Alternative Allergy Testing Method is Dangerous

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By Kate Wharmby Seldman

An alternative allergy-testing method is coming under fire from traditional medical authorities. Vega testing involves a machine that measures electrical impulses from the body to assess various illnesses, including food and chemical allergies.

In Vega testing, the patient holds a metal tube connected to the machine: the practitioner presses a small metal probe on an acupuncture point on the patient’s body. The machine then registers the electrical energy of this acupuncture point on a meter. This response indicates the health of the patient.

Substances can also be “fed” to the Vega machine, and the patient’s response to each of them will be registered on the machine’s meter – for example, a vial of cat dander can be introduced to the machine, and the patient’s reaction to it might indicate that the dander lowers their energy level. This shows as a drop on the meter, and suggests that the patient is allergic to dander. If a substance raises the meter reading, that indicates the patient needs that substance, and if the meter reading stays the same, the patient does not need the substance, nor is he or she allergic to it. Another method of measuring the patient’s reaction to a substance is to have the patient hold a vial of the substance while the Vega practitioner measures their response to it. Many advanced Vega machines now store vials electronically, so that the machine can test for reactions to each substance without it needing to be “fed” in.

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Vega proponents say the machine can accurately test for allergies to food and chemicals, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, and the presence of viruses, bacteria and parasites in the body. It can also measure the effect of medications. Some Vega practitioners warn that the machine’s results shouldn’t be used as an exclusive way to test for illness or allergies, but as a complementary test to confirm traditional medical screens, or to suggest avenues that mainstream doctors might want to pursue with a particular patient.

Clinical studies indicate Vega testing doesn’t work. British researchers compared it to standard skin-prick allergy testing by selecting a group of 30 volunteers, half of whom had previously tested positive for cat dander or dust mite allergies. The scientists found that the Vega tests didn’t correlate with the standard test results.

Vega practitioners say the tests aren’t harmful, but doctors say the tests aren’t the problem – the reactions to results are. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence warns patients against trusting Vega test results, saying that if parents limit a child’s diet due to a Vega machine reporting positive allergic reactions to food, the child could become malnourished. Patients receiving diagnoses via the Vega machine sometimes spent thousands of dollars on traditional medical follow-up tests, only to learn that they weren’t suffering from the diseases the machine had diagnosed. One man suffering from rectal bleeding was examined with a Dermatron, a similar machine to the Vega, and was told he had a healthy colon. When he visited a mainstream doctor several months later, he received a diagnosis of colon cancer.

If you’re thinking about being Vega tested, it’s important not to take the machine’s results as gospel. If you receive a frightening diagnosis, be sure to check with a mainstream physician before beginning any sort of treatment for a disease.

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