The Bucket Effect

The bucket effect can be used to explain why something causes an illness or allergy one time, but not the next. 

The main idea is that each person has a bucket. If the bucket is empty or only partially filled, there are no allergy/illness symptoms (ie the person seems to tolerate things a lot more). The more the bucket fills, the less tolerance the body has. Eventually the bucket can overflow – and this is when your child appears run down, unable to fight colds, and reacting to a pile of foods. 

I see this concept so regularly in children who can generally tolerate dairy or other allergenic foods, until they get a virus or the pollen levels change. Suddenly with the added stress, their eczema, asthma or allergy symptoms begin to appear. I have also noticed it is during these times of stress that their nervous systems become overloaded, and most benefit from a spinal check and adjustment! 

Back to the bucket – most people have a bucket that is filled with a combination of dust, pollens, molds, foods, pet hair, infections, and chemical exposures. When you recognise the signs of your child’s bucket overflowing, it will be helpful to reduce the stress on their body until the signs start to settle down. 

Ways to empty your child’s bucket:

  • Reducing allergens in the home – get rid of dust and pet hair, make sure your heater isn’t filled with dust and blowing it through the house – one of my favourite additions to any room is a Himalayan salt lamp (they ionise the air, and have been shown to reduce allergies, molds, and electromagnetic field effects)
  • Reduce stressful foods such as dairy and gluten, artificial colours and flavours, or anything else you suspect they may react to
  • Avoid chemicals – cleaning chemicals, perfumes, cosmetics, pesticides in the garden, leave shoes at the door to reduce the dirt and chemical trail through the house
  • Appropriate herbal or homeopathic supplementation
If enough stressful ‘insults’ are removed, you can help to prevent your child’s bucket from overflowing while they recover from their virus, or until the pollen count reduces again. 
You can also assist your child’s overall tolerance level by increasing their bucket size. With a larger bucket, it will take more ‘insult’ before the body manifests symptoms of illness.

Ways to make your child’s bucket larger:

  • Permanently avoid allergenic foods, or undertake allergy therapy
  • Improve overall nutrition
  • Consistently use low-toxic products to clean – my favourite combination for most of my house is white vinegar with bicarb (sometimes I add in a dash of tea tree oil too)
  • Decrease life stress – this includes relationships, sleep, amount of screen time and what they watch on the screens (is it age appropriate, or too violent?)
There are times when no matter what you do, the bucket seems to be overflowing. In these cases, it is best to allow the body to rest, and do all you can to reduce the stress on the body. Sometimes this means following a strict regime for a period of time, and waiting for the body to heal. Be patient. Speak to your chiropractor. As someone who chose to follow a strict lifestyle to heal myself of chronic fatigue syndrome, I can say for me, it was worth it! 

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