I was walking along Camden High Street one March morning, enjoying the Spring sun, when the right side of my face began to sting painfully and uncontrollably. I hurried the last 200 yards to a bookshop I had wanted to visit and once inside, I noticed in a mirror that my face was highly inflamed and puffy on the painful side. The sensation was intensely itchy and irritating, as if I had fallen face first into a really nasty patch of nettles, or maybe had some kind of chemical burn. It began to abate after about 30 minutes in the shop, and I set out to walk back to the Underground station. I hadn't gone 100 yards before the other side of my face started to sting in exactly the same way. It was then that I twigged the sun, now on my left, could be causing the reaction.

My GP sent me to St Thomas' Hospital, which specializes in skin conditions. I walked across Westminster Bridge to see the specialist, and walked back with titanium barrier cream all over my face and a diagnosis of "solar urticaria" - an allergy to UV light. I had been told the chances of cure were small or none. Normal life would involve keeping out of sunlight and wearing broad-brimmed hats...a depressing piece of advice that turned out to be only too necessary. I spent 10 years avoiding sunlight on my body, not because I believed in mainstream medicine, but because it was too painful. After that, I slowly became able to tolerate some on my face - apparently due to 'partial desensitization'.

During a Master Practitioner training at NLP Academy led by Michael Carroll, I volunteered for a class demo on NLP allergy change-work. When you've got what everyone believes is an incurable allergy to the sun, whats a little embarrassment? By this time I had made an extensive study of complementary medicine including NLP practitioner level and Ericksonian hypnosis. But I had no clue at all how to change my solar urticaria, which I believed might well be as 'incurable' as the specialist docs at St Thomas' claimed. I spent less than an hour on stage with Michael in front of the class. I'm very familiar with trance, so I don't have any problem going with the flow. However don't ask me to recall what he did! I know it included a dialogue, negotiation between, and integration of the parts involved. I was so spaced out at the end of the demo that I could only make a thumbs-up sign. A few days later into the training there was a sunny day, and I picked a seat near the window to test what had happened (solar urticaria can still affect sufferers even through glass). I rolled up my sleeve and waited. There was a bit of a reaction, about 30%, but it faded slowly away over the next half hour. I didn't’t have to cover up my arm as I would normally have done. I told everyone about this, but since I'm a scientist, I also wanted to test it out over time in different situations. It's almost a year later as I write this, so I have tested the work out thoroughly. I have no more fear of the sun. There is some minor reactivity for a while, but it fades and thereafter I can sunbathe. It's wonderful to be able to enjoy the sun again. It’s amazing that there is a way to communicate directly with the unconscious mind to resolve auto-immune. disease. Thank you Michael Carroll

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