Tuesday, September 14, 2004

allergy testing

we were talking over supper about earth magic and mysteries, and I was confessing that despite, or perhaps because of living in Glastonbury, whereas I used to be something of a ley-line obsessive - dousing maps with a pendulum, even, to add to the lattice of lines I'd already discovered either from research or plotting churches and milestones and springs and so on - I'd become considerably more sceptical about all that stuff in my silver years. so, whereas I still firmly believe that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, I'm disinclined to subscribe to the belief that things like the Nazca lines were or crop circles are anything other than supremely enigmatic (and wonderful) works of art.
"I quite agree," replied my interlocutor - an academic colleague of Mel's who I'd only just met, and from whom I'd expected nothing less (nice bloke, but with that air of frayed-cuff pragmatism that hangs around people who spend a lot of their time in libraries), "although when my daughter was diagnosed with ME, and no treatment seemed to be having any effect at all, I ended up taking her to a healer kind of person who said he wanted to test her for allergies, and his way of doing this was to line up a series of foods and drinks in small containers and ask her to touch each one of these in turn whilst at the same time closing her eyes and extending her other arm: he said he would then exert slight pressure downwards on that arm, and when my daughter came to something she might be reacting to, he'd be able to experience a slight resistance. now, my daughter was so weak by then that she couldn't actually hold her arm out for any length of time, so he said no matter - I could help - all I had to do was touch her shoulder whilst she passed her hand across these containers, and hold out MY arm whilst keeping my eyes closed. well, I thought, sounds absurd, but no harm in trying. so I put one hand on her shoulder as he had asked and shut my eyes and held out the other - I felt a bit ridiculous, I must say - and she started touching each of these containers in turn - they were opaque, so we didn't know what was in them anyway - and he placed one of his hands over the back of my outstretched palm, and asked me to resist the downward pressure he was exerting. it was perfectly easy to do this, and I became a little distracted, and I thought, I'm going to start giggling in a minute, but then, suddenly, I became aware that he was making a little noise, a kind of grunt, and I opened my eyes and glanced to the side, and realised that he had both of his hands hooked around mine and was practically swinging from my arm - which was perfectly rigid."

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