Treating Sinusitis Naturally

In my practice, I have many patients who come for help with chronic sinus congestion. It can be a frustrating and painful condition that can last a lifetime if not treated with the long term in mind. The medicines conventionally used may be okay in the short run, but they have significant issues with long term use. For instance, nasal steroids thin the lining of the nasal mucous, making it more susceptible to bleeding and infection. Fungal infections in the nasal passages are present in 52% of people with chronic sinusitis and are can be caused by long term use of steroid sprays. Antibiotic use creates increased fungal infections throughout the body, including the sinuses and the digestive system.

In treating sinusitis, the goal of naturopathic physicians is to relieve the symptoms using natural medicines (which often have side benefits instead of side effects). In addition to symptom treatment, naturopathic physicians also endeavor to determine the underlying causative factors that are driving this chronic congestion and inflammation. Most patients with sinusitis are aware that they have allergies to inhalants like pollen and dust. However, there may be other factors in one’s health that contribute to the conditions. For instance, in my experience, many of my patients with chronic sinusitis also have bowel problems. There is a link between these two conditions, in that both can be caused by food allergies.

I saw a patient, Rose, who presented with a 15 year history of nasal congestion, reoccurring sinus infections and she also had been diagnoses with “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. I suggested that we start our treatment by addressing the bowel. We tested her for food allergies through our non-invasive and effective technique called Vega testing. I coached her on how to make dietary changes and how to heal the lining of her intestines. Within a few months, she was delighted to report that not only were her bowels much improved, she was breathing freely for the first time in years. She said, “I realize that after all these years, my chronic sinus inflammation was my body’s way of reacting to wheat”. Of course not all cases are so one dimensional, but a thorough investigation health issues is essential to uncovering the clues that will lead to long term success in treating this condition.

Another often overlooked factor for people with chronic sinus conditions is that unresolved dental issues can result in disease spreading to the sinuses. Patients may not realize that an old dental extraction may be harboring an infection under the healed gum tissue. I have also seen a disturbing number of men with chronic sinus infections and allergies that started shortly after working around excessive amounts of sawdust. The sawdust likely assaults the nasal mucosa, allowing antigens to permeate through it and trigger the immune system to create allergic symptoms. Getting to the bottom of the problem, instead of being satisfied with short-term quick fixes is essential for the patient who wants to improve this condition, once and for all.

There are many layers in the naturopathic treatment of chronic upper respiratory problems. First, we must find ways to help with the immediate symptoms while we are investigating the deeper disturbances in the immune system that are causing the problem. Naturopathic treatments for sinus infections are aggressive and varied. We must focus on reducing the inflammation and congestion that impair circulation and set the stage for bacterial infection. There are effective ways to reduce congestion using herbs, hydrotherapy and nutritional supplements. We also want to address the inflammation of the sinus and nasal passages and bromelaine gives good results. Natural anti-histamines, like nettles and quercitin are nutritious as well as effective alternatives to drugs. Addressing the fungal and bacterial infections often chronically harboured in the upper respiratory passages is essential. Infections are best treated without drugs that damage other organs, but rather natural medicines like oil of oregano, goldenseal or tea tree oil that are gentle and effective.

The real strength of naturopathic medicine is that is addresses the underlying causes of health problems and treats symptoms as the body’s intelligent response to a stress. For sinus problems, the search for underlying factors often leads us to look at food allergies, candida yeast overgrowth in the digestive and respiratory systems, and dental issues. In my clinic, we offer Allergy Desensitization using homeopathic medicines in a fast and effective procedure. Please call for a handout on this topic. Naturopathic doctors also coach their patients on how to build their immune systems through optimal nutrition, herbal, nutritional and homeopathic medicines. The body wants to heal so sometimes we just need to listen to its clues and give it tools to help it succeed.

For more information, or to book a visit to start your personalized program, please contact Dr. Macdonald’s office at (250) 897-0235 or via this website. Dr. Deidre Macdonald is a naturopathic physician with a naturopathic family medical practice in downtown Courtenay.

Vega Allergy Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Vega testing?

Vega testing is a fast, safe, painless, and most importantly, accurate way of gathering information about your body. At the Macdonald Centre for Natural Medicine, we have used Vega testing extensively for 13 years and have found it to be a highly valuable tool for helping patients to understand the underlying causes of their health issues and achieve lasting improvements in their health.

Vega testing is also called Electro Acupuncture, according to Voll or EAV testing. It uses the acupuncture points in the hands as access points to your body’s sensitive electromagnetic system. From there, the machine measures electromagnetic fluctuations in your body in response to testing various elements. Clinically relevant information can be attained from those measurements.

Naturopathic physicians also use conventional blood work, medical history and physical examination to assess their patients. Vega testing is one more tool in the quest to understand the keys to unlocking your health potential.

What types of tests are done with the Vega Machine?

At the Macdonald Centre for Natural Medicine our technicians can perform the following tests:

1) Food allergy testing: we test 90 common foods to see which ones may be disturbing your body and which ones are not. Patients consistently see clinical improvements when they eliminate or limit the foods that the Vega test identifies. Your naturopathic physician will coach you on what you CAN eat so that you can easily transition to the diet that is right for YOU.

2) Organ Screen – we assess 67 different body parts on a three point scale: healthy, stressed, very stressed. The organ screen assesses organs such as the stomach, kidneys, lungs etc and other body parts like spinal segments, lymph nodes, eyes, diaphragm, adrenals and more. It is not a diagnostic test. Your naturopathic physician will use the results of this screen as clues to be investigated. Most times, patients report that the body parts that are flagged as stressed are the areas they are having trouble with. If new areas show up, it may give you and your doctor insight into your symptoms, or you both may decide to “watch and wait”.

3) Intestinal Flora imbalance: One the keys to the healthy functioning of the body is the presence of adequate good bacteria in the lining of the intestine. If the good bacteria are not present then yeast (Candida albicans), fungus and other opportunistic organisms will colonize the intestine, creating problems. (See the Candida article for further reference). This test assesses the balance of intestinal flora and reports the degree of Candida yeast present on a scale from 0-10. Zero indicates a healthy balance of flora. Ten indicates a lack of good bacteria and an overgrowth of Candida and possibly other opportunistic organisms. If necessary, your naturopathic physician will discuss an intestinal cleansing program to reestablish the healthy bacterial flora. This test is included in the Food Allergy Profile

Why use Vega testing when there are other forms of testing available?

The advantages of Vega food allergy testing:

  • Results are far more accurate than scratch allergy testing and as accurate as the much more expensive blood tests.
  • The test is virtually painless. No scratching and no blood draw. o Most children and even infants can be tested.
  • We can retest you after some time to see if your food allergies have resolved or are persistent.
  • It is reasonably priced compared to blood tests. Blood tests are not covered by MSP unless there are exceptional circumstances like Autism.
  • Dietary food elimination and reintroduction require months of dietary restrictions that may not prove fruitful. With Vega testing, you can eliminate foods that have a much higher chance of making a clinical difference.
  • You get your results right away and can begin designing the dietary program that will lead you to greater health.

What should I do to prepare for the test?

Water: Drink lots of water. Water assists the conductivity of the electromagnetic system. Your test will run more smoothly if you are very well hydrated. Please ensure that you drink abundant fluids the day before and the day of testing.

Food: Just eat what you normally eat. If you are avoiding a certain food and have done so for a long time, then that food will not likely show up on the Vega food allergy testing. It is difficult for any test, including blood tests, to identify food allergies in foods you are not eating.

Medications: If you are taking anti-histamines or oral steroids, these medications may mask results.

Fatigue: Extreme fatigue or extreme stress can affect the testing. Try to ensure that you arrive at the test as well rested as possible.

What should I expect during the test?

1) You will be seated in a chair at a desk. You will be asked to hold a metal rod that is connected to the machine via a wire.

2) The test will be conducted by one of our trained Vega technicians: a. Debbie – registered nurse and laser technician with 11 years of experience b. Sue Zonneveld – laser technician with 7 years of experience

3) A probe will be gently applied to your hand by the technician. It doesn’t hurt.

4) You will receive a copy of your results immediately after your testing.

5) At an appointment with your naturopathic physician, you can discuss the significance of the results and what treatments may be indicated. The Vega technician is not in a position to interpret results or advise you on treatments.

What is the history and science behind Vega testing? For forty years, Vega testing has been used in clinics throughout Europe and North America. The concept that the body is a bio-regulatory mechanism under electro-magnetic control is not new. The Chinese developed a sophisticated theory of energy (chi) and bio-electrical control through the acupuncture meridian system of the body. The Indians developed an analogous system based on breath energy (prana) and electro-magnetic control points called chakras. It was not until the early 1950’s that a German medical doctor found that he could accurately locate acupuncture points using a simple electrical measuring device. He found that acupuncture points had a uniquely different electrical resistance (lower) than the tissues immediately adjacent to them. Dr. Voll mapped the entire body using his device which he called the DERMATRON. i He also discovered a method of testing the allergic response of substance using the Dermatron without physically introducing the material into the patient.

Dr. Voll’s technique involved a lengthy testing session with the patient to measure hundreds of points all over the body and resulted in a prescription involving several dozen homeopathic and herbal remedies.

In the early 1970’s, another German, Dr. Schimmell, a dentist, simplified Dr. Voll’s technique by inventing another electrodermal diagnostic device called the VEGATEST. ii Dr. Schimmell took all measurements on one acupuncture point on the finger and varied which organ system was being measured by putting a homeopathic dilution of it into a metal honeycomb on the machine. Much research continues into the technique in Germany, and the method has more recently become completely computerized and automated through a device called the Segmentalelectrogram (Seg).

Dr. Julian Kenyon has done considerable clinical research in the application of the Vega technology to the field of clinical ecology at the Centre for the Study of Alternative Therapies in England. iii iv v vi

At least three double-blind studies have been published on electrodermal allergy testing. Dr. Ali found a 73% concordance between electrodermal testing and ELISA IgE antibody levels for a variety of pollens and moulds. vii Dr. Kiop in Toronto found a 66% correspondence in identifying the neutralization sublingual dose for a variety of foods, chemicals and inhalants between the electrodermal test and intradermal sublingual testing. viii

In 1984, a University of Hawaii research team compared six different diagnostic modalities for assessing food allergies including history, food challenge, skin, RAST, IgE antibodies, and electrodermal. ix In over 300 tests, electrodermal testing matched the history 74%, the food challenge test 77%, skin testing 71%, and RAST testing 69%. This research group, which has already published several research studies, is embarking on an extensive fiveyear study on the efficacy of the electrodermal testing procedure in medical practice. x xi xii


i  Voll, R. : “Twenty years of electroacupucture diagnosis in Germany,” American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 3, 7-17, 1975.

ii Fehrenbach, J., Noll, H., Nolte, H.G. & Schimmell, H.: Short Manuel of the VEGATEST method. Vega Grieshaber, 1981.

iii Kenyon, J. : Modern Techniques of Acupuncture, vol. 3, Thorsons, 1985.

iv Lewith, G. & Kenyons, J. : Clinical Ecology, Thorsons, 1985

v Kenyon, J. : “Diagnostic Techniques of the Future: Bioenergic Regulatory Medicine”, Journal of Alternative Medicine, vol. 12, December 1985.

vi Kenyon, J. : Twentieth Century Medicine, Thorsons, 1986.

vii Ali, M. : “Correlation of IgE antibodies with specificity for pollen and mould allergy with changes in electrodermal skin responses following exposure to allergens”, American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 91:357, 1989.

viii Kiop, J., Swierczek, J., Wood, A. : “Comparison of Ecological Testing with the Vega Test Method in Identifying Sensitivities to Chemicals, Foods and Inhalants”, American Journal of Acupuncture, 13:253-59, 1985.

ix Lam, F., Tsuei, J., : “Case Findings from a Family Practitioners Office Using Electroacupuncture According to Voll”, American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 11, 23-29, 1983.

x 10Lam, F., Tsuei, J., Zhao, Z. : “Bioenergetic Regulatory Measurement Instruments and Devices”, American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 16, 345-49, 1988. 11 Tsuei, J., et al., “Study on Bioenergy in Diabetes Mellitus Patients”, American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 17, 31-37, 1989.

xi 12 Lam, F., et al., “Study on the Bioenergetic Measurement of Acupuncture Points for determination of Correct Dosages of Allopathic or Homeopathic Medicines in the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus”, American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 18, 127-33, 1990.

Allergy Desensitization Information – Miller Method

Dr. Macdonald is pleased to offer a quick, painless and effective method of allergy desensitization.

Who would use this technique?
People with inhalent allergies like dust, pets, trees, weeds and grass.

How does it work?
A nurse analyzes your allergies with the vega testing method of allergy testing. She then uses the vega machine to assess your tolerance of homeopathic dilutions of the allergen chosen for desensitization. A small amount of a safe, homeopathic dilution is then squirted under your tongue. After a few minutes, the nurse retests you and typically is able to give you a more concentrated solution with each subsequent “round”. By the end of the procedure, you will not test allergic to the allergen. Two allergens can be desensitized in one session.

How well does this method work?
This technique has been very successful in helping people with inhalent allergies. About 70% of patients report being extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the results.

Sometimes a booster is required to augment or maintain the benefits but generally one or two treatments is all that is needed to rid people of their allergy symptoms. Many of Dr. Macdonald’s patients have gratefully reported that they were able to stop taking antihistamines and/or reduce their use of asthma puffers.

What are the side effects?
This procedure is very safe and non-invasive. In rare circumstances, mild allergic symptoms may emerge during the procedure in which case the procedure is stopped. The nurse is trained in emergency procedures should an unexpected allergic reaction occur. None have been reported.

Testimonials from patients:

By Stephanie O’Rourke – 26 years old – Asthma

I have had asthma for almost 20 years. I was using my inhalers all the time (a lot more than I should have been). I knew certain things made me wheezie, but just kept using my inhalers to relieve the symptoms. I started going to Dr. Macdonald and she said we should try desensitizing me to my allergies. We went ahead and did different solutions of reactants and now I use my inhaler much less. It is so nice to be able to live my life not around an inhaler. I do things I couldn’t do without puffing on my inhaler. This was a great success and I recommend it to others.

By VM – 54 years old

My symptoms have eased up considerably. A lot less frequent as well. Thank you for recommending doing this desensitization.

What is the fee for allergy desensitization?
1st treatment – $80.00
Booster of same substances – $40.00

Food Allergy Testing (Vega testing)

VEGA TESTING – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Vega testing?
Vega testing is a fast, safe, painless, and most importantly, accurate way of gathering information about your body. At the Macdonald Centre for Natural Medicine, we have used Vega testing extensively for 13 years and have found it to be a highly valuable tool for helping patients to understand the underlying causes of their health issues and achieve lasting improvements in their health.

Vega testing is also called Electro Acupuncture, according to Voll or EAV testing. It uses the acupuncture points in the hands as access points to your body’s sensitive electromagnetic system. From there, the machine measures electromagnetic fluctuations in your body in response to testing various elements. Clinically relevant information can be attained from those measurements.

Naturopathic physicians also use conventional blood work, medical history and physical examination to assess their patients. Vega testing is one more tool in the quest to understand the keys to unlocking your health potential.

What types of tests are done with the Vega Machine?
At the Macdonald Centre for Natural Medicine our technicians can perform the following tests:
1) Food allergy testing: we test 90 common foods to see which ones may be disturbing your body and which ones are not. Patients consistently see clinical improvements when they eliminate or limit the foods that the Vega test identifies. Your naturopathic physician will coach you on what you CAN eat so that you can easily transition to the diet that is right for YOU.

2) Organ Screen – we assess 67 different body parts on a three point scale: healthy, stressed, very stressed. The organ screen assesses organs such as the stomach, kidneys, lungs etc and other body parts like spinal segments, lymph nodes, eyes, diaphragm, adrenals and more. It is not a diagnostic test. Your naturopathic physician will use the results of this screen as clues to be investigated. Most times, patients report that the body parts that are flagged as stressed are the areas they are having trouble with. If new areas show up, it may give you and your doctor insight into your symptoms, or you both may decide to “watch and wait”.

3) Intestinal Flora Imbalance: One of the keys to the healthy functioning of the body is the presence of adequate good bacteria in the lining of the intestine. If the good bacteria are not present then yeast (Candida albicans), fungus and other opportunistic organisms will colonize the intestine, creating problems. (See the Candida article for further reference). This test assesses the balance of intestinal flora and reports the degree of Candida yeast present on a scale from 0-10. Zero indicates a healthy balance of flora. Ten indicates a lack of good bacteria and an overgrowth of Candida and possibly other opportunistic organisms. If necessary, your naturopathic physician will discuss an intestinal cleansing program to reestablish the healthy bacterial flora. This test is included in the Food Allergy ProfileWhy use Vega testing when there are other forms of testing available?

The advantages of Vega food allergy testing:

  • Results are far more accurate than scratch allergy testing and as accurate as the much more expensive blood tests.
  • The test is virtually painless. No scratching and no blood draw.
  • Most children and even infants can be tested.
  • We can retest you after some time to see if your food allergies have resolved or are persistent.
  • It is reasonably priced compared to blood tests. Blood tests are not covered by MSP unless there are exceptional circumstances like Autism.
  • Dietary food elimination and reintroduction require months of dietary restrictions that may not prove fruitful. With Vega testing, you can eliminate foods that have a much higher chance of making a clinical difference.
  • You get your results right away and can begin designing the dietary program that will lead you to greater health.

What should I do to prepare for the test?

Water: Drink lots of water. Water assists the conductivity of the electromagnetic system. Your test will run more smoothly if you are very well hydrated. Please ensure that you drink abundant fluids the day before and the day of testing.

Food: Just eat what you normally eat. If you are avoiding a certain food and have done so for a long time, then that food will not likely show up on the Vega food allergy testing. It is difficult for any test, including blood tests, to identify food allergies in foods you are not eating.

Medications: If you are taking anti-histamines or oral steroids, these medications may mask results.

Fatigue: Extreme fatigue or extreme stress can affect the testing. Try to ensure that you arrive at the test as well rested as possible.

What should I expect during the test?

1) You will be seated in a chair at a desk. You will be asked to hold a metal rod that is connected to the machine via a wire.
2) The test will be conducted by one of our trained Vega technician:
Sue Zonneveld – laser technician with 9 years of experience
3) A probe will be gently applied to your hand by the technician. It doesn’t hurt.
4) You will receive a copy of your results immediately after your testing.

5) At an appointment with your naturopathic physician, you can discuss the significance of the results and what treatments may be indicated. The Vega technician is not in a position to interpret results or advise you on treatments.

What is the history and science behind Vega testing?
For forty years, Vega testing has been used in clinics throughout Europe and North America. The concept that the body is a bio-regulatory mechanism under electro-magnetic control is not new. The Chinese developed a sophisticated theory of energy (chi) and bio-electrical control through the acupuncture meridian system of the body. The Indians developed an analogous system based on breath energy (prana) and electro-magnetic control points called chakras. It was not until the early 1950’s that a German medical doctor found that he could accurately locate acupuncture points using a simple electrical measuring device. He found that acupuncture points had a uniquely different electrical resistance (lower) than the tissues immediately adjacent to them. Dr. Voll mapped the entire body using his device which he called the DERMATRON. He also discovered a method of testing the allergic response of substance using the Dermatron without physically introducing the material into the patient.

Dr. Voll’s technique involved a lengthy testing session with the patient to measure hundreds of points all over the body and resulted in a prescription involving several dozen homeopathic and herbal remedies.

In the early 1970’s, another German, Dr. Schimmell, a dentist, simplified Dr. Voll’s technique by inventing another electrodermal diagnostic device called the VEGATEST. Dr. Schimmell took all measurements on one acupuncture point on the finger and varied which organ system was being measured by putting a homeopathic dilution of it into a metal honeycomb on the machine. Much research continues into the technique in Germany, and the method has more recently become completely computerized and automated through a device called the Segmentalelectrogram (Seg).

Dr. Julian Kenyon has done considerable clinical research in the application of the Vega technology to the field of clinical ecology at the Centre for the Study of Alternative Therapies in England.

At least three double-blind studies have been published on electrodermal allergy testing. Dr. Ali found a 73% concordance between electrodermal testing and ELISA IgE antibody levels for a variety of pollens and moulds. Dr. Kiop in Toronto found a 66% correspondence in identifying the neutralization sublingual dose for a variety of foods, chemicals and inhalants between the electrodermal test and intradermal sublingual testing.

In 1984, a University of Hawaii research team compared six different diagnostic modalities for assessing food allergies including history, food challenge, skin, RAST, IgE antibodies, and electrodermal. In over 300 tests, electrodermal testing matched the history 74%, the food challenge test 77%, skin testing 71%, and RAST testing 69%. This research group, which has already published several research studies, is embarking on an extensive five-year study on the efficacy of the electrodermal testing procedure in medical practice


i cure, vol. 3, 7-17, 1975.
ii Fehrenbach, J., Noll, H., Nolte, H.G. & Schimmell, H.: Short Manuel of the VEGATEST method. Vega Grieshaber, 1981.
iii Kenyon, J. : Modern Techniques of Acupuncture, vol. 3, Thorsons, 1985.
iv Lewith, G. & Kenyons, J. : Clinical Ecology, Thorsons, 1985
v Kenyon, J. : “Diagnostic Techniques of the Future: Bioenergic Regulatory Medicine”, Journal of Alternative Medicine, vol. 12, December 1985.
vi Kenyon, J. : Twentieth Century Medicine, Thorsons, 1986.
vii Ali, M. : “Correlation of IgE antibodies with specificity for pollen and mould allergy with changes in electrodermal skin responses following exposure to allergens”, American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 91:357, 1989.
viii Kiop, J., Swierczek, J., Wood, A. : “Comparison of Ecological Testing with the Vega Test Method in Identifying Sensitivities to Chemicals, Foods and Inhalants”, American Journal of Acupuncture, 13:253-59, 1985.
ix Lam, F., Tsuei, J., : “Case Findings from a Family Practitioners Office Using Electroacupuncture According to Voll”, American Journal of Acupuncture, vol. 11, 23-29, 1983.

Information about Vega testing:

1) The first step is to schedule an appointment for Vega testing.
2) The initial screen for food allergies is about a 40 minute procedure. You will receive your results immediately.
3) Vega testing is a safe, painless, non-invasive procedure. No blood draw, scratches or needles are involved.
4) Please ensure that you have an appointment booked to see Dr. Macdonald shortly after your Vega test to help you interpret the results and take appropriate action steps.

Food sensitivities testing (30 min)   Fee: $80 + G.S.T.
(94 foods) and candida yeast testing

Organ Screen (15 min)   Fee: $40 + G.S.T.
67 body parts are tested for their overall vitality including organs, nerves, hormone glands, vertebrae, digestive system and more

Follow-up testing allows us to monitor your progress and assess your program.
Re-test the: Candida yeast   Fee: $25 + G.S.T.
Previous food sensitivities
Previous organ sensitivities

PLEASE DRINK 2 GLASSES OF WATER PRIOR TO YOUR APPOINTMENT.

Please refrain from taking antihistamines and IF possible, steroid inhalers 24 hours prior to your testing.

Please allow 48 hours notice for any changes to your appointment. A $25 cancellation fee will be charged for those appointments cancelled without notice.