What is VEGA testing?
In this article I describe my experience with VEGA testing but you can find information on other types of allergy tests at http://hubpages.com/hub/What-is-food-intolerance-testing
I became aware of food intolerance tests several years ago (the ones advertised in health food shops and alternative medicine clinics). Are they worth the money? GPs tend to be dismissive, as the test results are not proven to be 100% accurate.
Unfortunately my own symtoms were becoming sufficiently debiltating enough for me to want some answers at least. I’ve suffered with catarrh, fatigue and depression from childhood and developed eczema and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) about ten years ago. Visits to doctors produced sympathy, along with the usual blood tests to check my thyroid and blood count, so I knew what wasn't causing my symptoms, but I still didn't know what was causing them.
So when I saw the poster last year (2008), something in me just wanted to know. And this is an account of what happened to me so that you can be better informed about whether to go for it yourself.
Preparation for the tests
When I arrived at the clinic Lydia introduced herself as my Nutritional and Lifestyle Counsellor for the test and was very disarming. Straightaway I felt like I was with an old friend. I completed a questionnaire, which listed the symptoms most commonly associated with food intolerance or sensitivity, such as IBS, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, thrush, abdominal pain, and fatigue, and Lydia highlighted the symptoms I mostly experienced. I was asked which symptom was my priority, because if I am sensitive to a long list of foods, it would be impractical to eliminate all of them at once, although normally symptoms tend to be caused by similar groups of foods. I was also asked to complete a tick off sheet detailing how often I ate from a list of foods, to identify any imbalances in my diet which may distort the results of the test.
The test itself
For my test, I was linked into the machine’s measurement circuit by a stumpy metal rod held in one hand, while another thick metal pen-like bar was pressed against an acupuncture point in the fingertip of my other hand. (see Diagram) Fortunately my fingers are fairly insensitive so a single acupuncture point was used for most of the test. A normal reading was taken, and then a battery containing cadmium, a poison, was used to measure a “toxic” reading. Readings for 81 food types, contained in round phials of liquid, were tested and assessed for any intolerance.
The labels on each phial were hidden from me before each reading and only revealed when they tested as an intolerance, so I knew that my body was unable to anticipate and fabricate sensitivity to any of the food types. In addition, whenever I tested okay for several food types in a row, Lydia re-checked any suspect foods, just in case she had misread the earlier reading. She hadn’t.
History of electrical readings on acupuncture points
In the 1950s Dr Voll, a German GP, studied a Chinese technique called Electro-Acupuncture, which produced an assessment based on taking 700 electrical readings on Acupuncture points. Dr Schmidt developed a shorter and less time consuming method in the sixties, measuring only 150 points, which he called Bio-Feedback Analysis. He manufactured electrical reading equipment under the name of VEGA and further developed the process under the name VEGA Resonance Test, so that now only one Acupuncture point is required. Different Homeopathic substances (Test Ampoules) are placed into the measurement circuit, and a reading displayed on the machine.
- The VEGA story
History of VEGA testing by the Shen Clinic
Are the test results indicative?
The first foods for which intolerance was detected were cow’s milk, cow’s cheese, cow’s yoghurt and beef. I didn’t even know anyone could be sensitive to beef! My GP later explained that it was the cow protein, which all these products contain, to which I am probably sensitive. As I had eaten steak the day before, which the body particularly struggles to digest, my body was probably also flagging that, actually it was kind of busy with that one already, so please don’t give it any more! At a later test beef did not come up again but the dairy products did.
Dairy products are a notorious trigger for catarrh and eczema, so that result was not overly surprising. Wheat flagged up next. I had suspected for years that bread was a trigger for my IBS, so I was starting to feel quite smug at my self-awareness. However, the remaining group of foods were a surprise - mushrooms, beer, wine and yeast. Although I had already identified wet weather and damp spores as a culprit for my catarrh, I had not extended my logic to foods that grow spores. Lydia explained that yeast is commonly identified as a cause of fatigue, a particularly debilitating symptom for me, and I felt hopeful for the first time in years. She also warned that I should avoid sugar as well, since it feeds the growth of yeast, or Candida, in the gut.
Link to the Food Intolerance test centre featured in this article:
- The UK Health Partnership Limited
National Food Sensitivity Testing
The Elimination Diet
Well, the test itself was both fascinating and vindicating. I left the clinic with a somewhat daunting list of foods to eliminate from my diet and the highs and lows of coping with it are related at http://hubpages.com/hub/What-is-food-intolerance-testing-and-does-an-elimination-diet-work