This is based on a theory called the "hygiene hypothesis", which states that the human body is an ecosystem that has been damaged by a rapid reduction in the number and variety of micro-organisms that populate it. Apparently, the consequence is the rise of autoimmune diseases and immunological disorders.
What is Helminthic Therapy?
People in developed countries have become increasingly aware of germs in the house. Numerous products are available to combat these germs, such as antibacterial soaps.
It would seem there is a correlation between the killing off of all bacteria and the increase in autoimmune diseases such as peanutallergies, Crohn's Disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis and autism. These facts start to make sense when we consider the fact that, if we were to get rid of all the mould and bacteria in our stomachs, we would die.
Are we becoming too sterile? Are the chemicals we ingest on a daily basis killing the very micro- organisms that keep us alive? Those who support helminthic therapy say we are, and that replacing these with hookworm or whipworm and their eggs go a far way in balancing the eco-system in the human stomach.
Is Helminthic Therapy Safe?
"When you tell people you are giving them worms, they have sort of a 'yuck' reaction", says Dr. Marie-Helene Jouvin, of
The negative reaction to helminthic therapy in some may include diarrhea or fatigue and itching, symptoms which disappear after a short time.
The worms that are used in the treatment cannot reproduce; they will simply be passed out after their life cycle, which could be 5 years. A patient cannot infect anyone else and the treatment can be terminated at any time.
Does Helminthic Therapy Work?
Additional case studies suggest that helminthic therapy is effective in reducing or eliminating many other autoimmune diseases and immunological disorders.
One parent discovered that helminthic therapy was effective in managing his son's autism. On his web site autismtso.com, Stewart Johnson says: "The change in my son has been beyond my wildest expectations. After being a virtual prisoner of his agitation and anxiety for most of his life, he is able to go out in the community every day without incident."
Although statistics are not adequate enough to draw any conclusive conclusion with regards to the success of helminthic therapy, the results seem to be promising. For example,Autoimmune Therapies claims that more than 75% of their patients state that they have had very significant improvement in their conditions.
In another study on a group of patients with Crohn's disease, The Jones A Clifton Center for Digestive Diseases concluded that helminths could be a simple alternative to current treatment for Crohn's disease. They cautioned that their findings are based on a small number of people and suggested that the results merit further investigation.
So, for those able to get past the thought of infecting themselves with parasites, helminthic therapy might provide an alternate remedy to many, if not all autoimmune diseases and immunological disorders.