by Harry Hong Ph.D. L.Ac.

“Shane” came to see me a few years ago. A 30-year-old male suffering from severe food sensitivities, he could only eat five foods: rice, broccoli, apple sauce, plain organic chicken, and salt. Most foods other people enjoyed eating every day made him tired, gave him a stomachache, diarrhea and/or skin irritation. He looked pale, skinny and anxious.


Shane’s parents had divorced when he was very young, and he had only one elder sister with whom he did not share a close relationship. What he could remember about his family was the fighting, between his parents, his sister, and himself. He was a smart computer programmer who loved what he did, however, his food sensitivities bothered his body so much, he couldn’t concentrate on his work, was fatigued all the time, and didn’t feel rested after a night’s sleep.

Shane had taken many allergy tests, but the results were very confusing. According to some tests, he shouldn’t eat anything. He had frequent sinus infections and had to use antibiotics often. He brought his own special soap to work because regular soap caused breakouts. He tried many natural healing therapies which only caused more frustration because he couldn’t handle most of the natural supplements.

Shane is a typical patient of mine with a highly sensitive body, albeit on the more severe end. People’s initial reaction to sensitivities is to stay away from the substances to which they are sensitive, the “runaway” approach. However, for many highly sensitives, without resolving the root issues for the sensitivity, they eventually have “nowhere to run” due to accumulation of sensitivities.

Many food sensitivities have emotional correlations, especially for young children. Food digestion starts before you actually eat the food. When you start to feel hungry and think about the food you will have, your body has already prepared to digest that food. A good example is that you may have saliva dribbling from your mouth when you think about your favorite food. After you have the first bite, a series of harmonic contractions of the digestive tract occur along with autonomic controlled digestive activities, such as producing necessary saliva, stomach acid, digestive enzymes and bile. Digestion is like an automatic assembly line with a steady movement and many well-designed robotic procedures. Any component going wrong will result in a bad product—in this case, the indigested food. The whole process is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, but may be influenced by consciousness such as stressors, especially emotional stress.

If something scary happens when a child is eating his broccoli, the emotional stress, e.g. the fear, may interrupt the harmonic movement of the digestive tract and result in food indigestion, with symptoms like gassiness, bloating and heartburn. In the meantime, the child’s nervous system may remember the incident and build a connection between the food and the incident. The food becomes sensitized. Next time when the child eats broccoli, a similar indigestion may occur. Other factors are also known to cause food sensitivities, such as “eat and run”, eating while working, overeating, etc. Thus, sensitivities are the responses from the nervous system, called neurogenic sensitization reflex (NSR), which does NOT involve antibodies. This explains why antibody-based food allergy tests usually don’t match with the clinical observation from the patients. Conventional antibody-based food allergy may happen at a later time, after the digestive system is damaged to a certain level that involves dysbiosis (imbalanced microbial) and leaky gut (increased permeability). While antibody-based food allergy is not easy to treat, the NSR sensitivities can be corrected with the energetic procedure discussed below.

I believe toxins, emotional and physical stress are the three main factors that cause many chronic diseases. More toxins and stressed function of the adrenal gland would result in more allergies and sensitivities. Thus, detoxification, erasing past emotional trauma, and helping adrenal function and regeneration ability become the three main approaches to my natural healing protocol. To achieve these goals requires taking natural supplements such as herbs, enzymes and vitamins. However, people with a sensitive body cannot handle the supplements well for more than a few weeks if their immune system malfunctions. Many patients come to my office with baskets full of supplements, which helped them in the beginning but stopped working after a while, and some even caused adverse reactions. Most of the patients are not sure if the supplements are still working but are afraid to stop them. Even though they are taking so many pills a day, they still have many symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, food indigestion, aches and pains.

The unique nature of highly sensitive people is the presence of an energetically chaotic state. This outside layer of the disease is characterized by high inflammation, high toxicity, high sensitivity and autoimmune response. The energetic system is so chaotic that many energetic pathways are blocked, and the immune system is attacking the body’s own organs, tissues and regulatory system as well as many nutrients and enzymes. Without solving the initial layer of the disease, the body’s overall function cannot reach an optimal condition and any types of therapy may not have a beneficial result.

I started two types of treatment for Shane in the first three months to prepare his body for detox. One treatment involved homeopathic remedies to recharge cellular energy, reduce inflammation, improve drainage, and open emotional blockages. The second approach was to desensitize his sensitivities with an energetic technique that I call Immune System Reprogramming. This is a technique that combines acupressure and homeopathy. Shane went home with a treatment plan to perform the desensitization procedure every day, and came back each month for more assignments. After three months of treatments, his condition was stabilized and a detox protocol followed, including intestinal cleansing for Candida and parasites, liver support and detoxification. Later on, a regeneration protocol was used to regenerate leaky gut, support the adrenal system, and repair damaged organs and tissues. After about one year into the program, Shane became symptom-free and was able to eat most of the foods that he was previously unable to eat. I still suggested he not eat gluten and dairy products, and keep a low sugar diet for the rest of his life. It has been many years since I started to treat Shane; he has learned a lot about his highly sensitive body and continues to maintain a balanced, symptom-free life.

Dr. Harry Hong is a licensed acupuncture physician specializing in holistic healing for the highly sensitive. He teaches highly sensitive people to listen to their body and take charge of their own health. With his systematic IBMT protocol that includes Chinese medicine, modern homeopathy, energetic testing and allergy desensitization, Dr. Hong helps highly sensitives gain back their immune strength and get their life back. He has offices in South Florida and Chicago. Visit See ad page 21.