It is the beginning of the New Year, so I want to wish the best to all of you and to our world.
I would like to share some very exciting news with you. I was invited to go to India to be a featured speaker for an International Symposium on Integrative and Holistic Dermatology. To my knowledge, this was the first Symposium on Holistic and Integrative Dermatology sponsored by an academic Dermatology department, ever on the planet. On December 4, I gave three lectures on various aspects of holistic dermatology, and participated in a panel wrapping up the session at the Dermatology Department of Kasturba Medical College in Manipal University in Manipal, located in South West India. It was quite an experience to be honored by having the opportunity to teach about the approach to treating skin disease, and to do so to eager listeners halfway around the world. I have already heard from Dr. Shenoi, the head of the department, that what I presented was well received, and has given rise to new ways to treat difficult cases at the hospital there. In addition, my listeners were awakened to the neglected aspect of nutrition in Dermatology.
My knowledge was also enhanced by hearing the two other speakers, one of whom I had met when she was just entering this field of study.
I had a chance in Manipal to see the Ayurvedic department and the Yoga department at the medical center, which represents an integration of traditional care with conventional medical care that is rare in India as it is throughout the world. We spent a morning at a naturopathic hospital, which focused on diet and physical modalities for healing. Cleansing diet, simplicity, spirituality, and beauty of the surroundings, and yoga, were mainstays of the healing program there beyond the diet and other cleansing processes.
One of the other Integrative Dermatology speakers, Dr. S. I. Narahari, was having anopening of his new clinic for Applied Dermatology, and invited me to participate in the dedication and speak at his 5th annual National symposium. The physicians from all over India, honored mentor dermatologist Dr. Terrence Ryan from England,the press, and many people from the local government were present. More than 15 patients with elephantiasis were presented to a group of over 25 dermatologists and other physicians. Between presentations, I was asked by Dr. Narahari and a government minister to help design studies on nutrition and skin disease as, it relates to rural India. I am excited about being able to help those who might otherwise not receive care, and about extending studies in nutritional dermatology that can have a more widespread benefit.
To recover from jet lag on arriving in India, I spent the first 4 days in an Ayurvedic Spa, where I experienced the famous medicinal oil massages and hot herbal applications. We were treated to a visit to the associated third-generation manufacturing plant, which used age-old processes to manufacture Ayurvedic remedies. It has taken time for me to recover from the travels during flu season, so I finally writing to you now.
What has been most amazing to me are the similarities between several thousand-year old Ayurvedic concepts and what I am now doing, incorporating what is now being called functional medicine into my practice of dermatology. This will be thesubject of some of my letters and blogs in the future.