Treatment smells good
Perfume, soap, and social interaction - minus the fear of death - are now part of daily life for Richmond woman Jenni Phillips, who says she has been cured of a rare allergy thanks to Richmond chiropractor Dr. Clyde Burke.
Mrs Phillips says she was cured of an extreme allergic reaction to the scent patchouli, a component in many oils, perfumes, incense and other products.
Until a little over a year ago, the slightest hint of the scent in the air was enough to throw her into acute anaphylactic shock - the most severe and potentially fatal form of allergic reaction.
It could be triggered simply by walking past someone wearing the perfume and cost her thousands of dollars in treatment and specialist visits.
She had been unable to get relief from the condition until Richmond chiropractor Clyde Burke read in the Nelson Mail about her worst, and near-fatal, attack about a year ago.
Mrs Phillips said she had been tramping near Punakaiki when a tramper walked past wearing patchouli perfume, which threw her into life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
She was kept alive by adrenalin shots before a rescue helicopter took her to Greymouth Hospital.
When Dr Burke contacted her with the offer of treatment - which involved stimulating the body's nerve pressure points - Mrs Phillips admitted she was sceptical, "but I had nothing to lose".
She had not had another allergic reaction since treatment began and said her life had changed drastically as a result.
"I can just go anywhere and do anything now. I can wear lots more perfume and use normal shampoo and conditioner."
She also returned to fulltime work, after having to reduce hours as a retail assistant prior to Dr Burke's treatment.
Dr Burke said his treatment method could work for any allergy, although this was the first life-threatening case he had treated.
He described the method as "brain-body electronics".
For unknown reasons, the body occasionally sent the brain corrupted messages, meaning the brain in turn replied with the wrong response, he said.
It meant that when Mrs Phillips came in contact with patchouli, her body sent the brain the wrong message, causing the brain to send the body the wrong order, which was to throw it into shock.
The chiropractic techniques retrained the body's electronic system. After initially confronting Mrs Phillips with just the word "patchouli", Dr Burke increased her exposure up to putting her in direct physical contact with the scent, in its pure form - with paramedics present - six months ago.
There was no reaction and although Mrs Phillips still carries medication, she hasn't had to use it since.
Dr Burke said he had been practising the technique for 10 years but conventional medical opinion was still slow to accept it.
Nelson GPs' spokesman Graham Loveridge said he wouldn't recommend the treatment to allergy patients until it had gone through intensive and random testing, which had been independently analysed.
Although the process of testing to the necessary medical standards would take a number of years, it would be "great" if the technique was shown to work, he said.