Clinical ecology, also called environmental medicine, developed from research into allergies in the early 20th century. I believe that it was Hippocrates in the 5th century BC who suggested ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’. Most practitioners of holistic medicine would agree that the bulk of our ill-health stems from that which we put into our bodies. This includes not only food itself, but with it the persistent and almost unavoidable ingestion of agrochemicals , as well as airborne pollution from petrol and diesel fumes and household cleaning compounds. All these environmental factors are very likely to be detrimental to our well-being, weakening our immune system and making us susceptible to allergies and intolerances.

Clinical ecology takes this into account, and pays special attention to the probability of the development of intolerances and allergies to toxic substances in foods that we commonly eat. Symptoms may well be associated with leaky gut syndrome in most cases, and irritants and allergens may create any number of illnesses, including respiratory problems, digestive disorders, infertility, headaches and migraines, and even cancer.

Using techniques ranging from applied kinesiology, iridology, bioresonance techniques and blood tests, a clinical ecologist will try to isolate problem foods or toxins. The practitioner uses elimination diets, desensitization techniques and any other preferred naturopathic treatments, such as herbal medicine or homeopathy, to remove these. Practitioners will also suggest changes in lifestyle to avoid exposure to environmental irritants such as dust, pollen and chemicals. Mild forms of sensitivity or intolerance may respond well to antioxidant supplements, as well as to drinking filtered tap water.