Allergy testing is confusing, subjective, and expensive at best. Skin test…blood test…IgE…IgG…IgA.
Are they accurate? Do they catch everything? What do those numbers really mean?
While I firmly believe in blood tests for those with stubborn sensitivities that are hard to narrow down, there is a much easier method for pinpointing the foods that cause stress to the body.
I use this method within my practice and at home.
*DO NOT USE THE PULSE TEST WITH ALLERGENS THAT CAUSE ANAPHYLAXIS.*
A Little Background
Testing food allergies by testing your pulse works on the concept that allergens cause stress to the body. The pulse rises in response to the stressor and indicates that the ingested substance is not well tolerated.
This also works for other ingested – through scent or taste – and environmental substances.
The pulse test originates from the findings of Drs. Sanchez-Cuenca and Coca. Our version here was developed by the Nutritional Therapy Association.
I have also included slight variations that I have found to test better than the original instructions.
The Pulse Test for Food Allergies
1. Wait 1-2 hours after eating before testing new foods.
2. Sit down, take a few deep breaths, and fully relax.
Start with my deep breathing technique. Allowing your body to move into parasympathetic mode will give more accurate results.
3. Take your pulse for a full minute in this relaxed state and write down your number. (learn to take your pulse)
4. Put a piece of food/ small amount of liquid in your mouth and move it around for 30-45 seconds to be sure that you can taste it.
Some people will need to do this for up to a minute. You are sending a signal to your brain and nervous system that needs to be processed.
5. Take your pulse for another minute and record your score.
If you find outside distractions are affecting you (the chattering of small children perhaps?), set the test aside and try again at a later time.
6. Remove the food/drink from your mouth – without swallowing it -, rinse your mouth thoroughly, and repeat steps 1-5 with the next food if you are testing more than 1.
If your pulse rises by 6 beats or more, it is indicative of allergic tension. The food(s) should either be removed from your diet or incorporated into a rotation diet if there is only a mild reaction and your food choices are limited.
Smoking cigarettes, acute environmental allergens, viral infections, and other such stressors can cause inaccurate readings, but following the above steps should give you accurate results in most cases.
If you know that you are sensitive/allergic but your pulse does not rise, your nervous system is likely stuck in sympathetic mode. Practicing relaxation techniques can help you ‘flip’ into parasympathetic.
Use your best judgement when incorporating possibly allergenic foods into your diet.
If you test a food with multiple ingredients and react, then test each of those ingredients individually. You should only test single ingredients when possible.
You can also test different versions of a food – raw, fermented, sautéed, roasted, stewed -. Various compounds are broken down by the cooking process and affect each one of us differently.
Taking An Accurate Pulse
1. Take the back of your right wrist (the part you see when you type) and place it into your left hand. You have it right when both wrists are facing up, and you are gently cupping your right wrist.
Either hand will work when testing.
2. The fingers of your left hand should be directly on your pulse point. If you cannot feel your pulse under your fingertips with a gentle pressure, then move slightly to the right or left until you feel it.
Do not use your thumb, especially when testing others. It also has a pulse point and can affect the reading.
If you cannot feel your pulse, place your index and middle fingers on the carotid artery (main artery running down your neck) for testing.
If you would like to learn more about the Coca Pulse Test, please download this free book.