In previous sections, we have looked at the basic concept of clinical ecology and at the different stages and symptoms which environmentally caused disease can engender. In this section, I shall explain in more detail some of the techniques which advocates of this new approach have devised to cope with the ecologic disaster of the twentieth century.
The first problem is one of diagnosis. Conventional medicine recognizes the fact that millions of people are chronically ill and that it can offer little for their arthritis, or migraine, or fatigue, or depression but chemically derived pills. Patients with a welter of confusing symptoms are often treated contemptuously, because the underlying cause of their many illnesses goes unnoticed. By its very nature, the etiology of environmentally caused chronic disease is hidden: this is “nature’s medical coverup.” The first job of the clinical ecologist is to cut through the confusion and demonstrate the underlying causes with convincing tests.
Over a period of about fifty years, clinical ecologists have worked out procedures which differ from those used by conventional doctors. Even the history-taking interview is different. I practice “poker-faced medicine,” in that I do not pass judgment on a patient’s symptoms upon first hearing them, no matter how bizarre they may seem. Many such symptoms later turn out to have significance in the patient’s medical history. A chemical questionnaire, which is included in Chapter 19, evolved through many editions and helps reveal a patient’s susceptibility. The reader can take this test himself and get a preliminary idea of his own degree of sensitivity to chemicals.
Treatment by the methods of clinical ecology is safe, inexpensive, and effective. It is based, primarily, on avoidance of those environmental agents which cause trouble. The Rotary Diversified Diet (described in Chap. 18) works well for all types of food allergies and can help those who wish to diagnose their food allergies, as well as those who wish to avoid their development.
The treatment of chemical susceptibility is also largely based on avoidance. A number of simple and inexpensive procedures are described which can help protect the many people who suffer unknowingly from chemical-related problems.
Taken together, the chapters in this section can help any reader to become more aware of his own highly personalized reaction to common foods and chemicals and to begin to take simple steps to deal with a growing problem.