The Skin as Metaphor

6a00e55255b4628834017d4320f1ab970c-300wiThe health of the skin, not just its appearance, is an important metaphor for the health of one’s boundary between self and other. Truly healthy skin acts as a membrane that lets the appropriate things in and keeps the inappropriate things out, on all levels. When you meet a person, the first thing you see is their skin.

It may envelop familiar structures which you recognize, but you are actually looking at their skin and not those structures. They could be a “bag of bones” or “muscular”; the skin is what you see wrapping those underlying structures, and the clothing similarly wraps the skin. You see a
lot things besides the overall shape of the skin.

You see changes of texture from old scarring from events in their lives, from acne, or from too much time in the
sun. You see lines from repeated expressions of emotions in the past, and lines from particular emotions they are experiencing in real time as you interact with them.

Changes in skin color can reveal emotions; people get red with embarrassment, green with disgust, or white with fear. Colors reflect their vitality or illness. The pasty pale individual looks very different than the same individual well and full of vitality. The smell of the skin, too, upon release of hormones can communicate anxiety, turn-on, and other biological and emotional messages.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Protest GMO Food Dangers: Saturday, May 25

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), foods which have been genetically "modified", have advantages for farmers and food producers, but offer dangers that have never been seen before and are often unknown.

We should have a right to know what it is that we are eating, so that we can understand where our allergies and illnesses are coming from. The governmental policy of not requiring GMO foods to be labeled is harmful to those who need to know and choose, and will only be changed by an outcry of the public.  Get involved May 25 if you care about knowing what your food really is.

Details here.

And here: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/p/flyer.html

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Wild Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil

6a00e55255b46288340192aa258db3970d-200wiOn Saturday, I attended the opening ceremony of an event at the New York Botanical Garden entitled “Wild Medicine: healing plants from around the world.” I enjoyed hearing and (re-)meeting the featured speaker Dr. Andrew Weil.

I probably met Andy Weil at various holistic events I was part of in the 80’s or early 90’s, but the time I remember best was at the American Holistic Medical Association Meeting, I believe in Kansas City in March 1993, where he was scheduled to lead a presentation, and presented a Japanese group who demonstrated the traditional technique of Jo Rei Healing. I learned how to receive energy with one hand and send it out with the other. I met Andy during that time and spoke briefly with him then.

Dr. Weil’s main message this week was similar to what I have learned over the years from studying with herbalists, is that the total composition of the products available from plants has a more benficial effect than any of the isolated most active compounds.

In this, he differs markedly from the thinking of pharmacologist’s, drug companies, and the mainstream physicians, who have come to believe that the, most active product isolated from a plant, is the only component to use.  We both take exception to the fact that medicine has built up a repertoire of drugs commonly used that have much higher toxicity than the plants they were derived from.

I have always believed that there is a synergy in the various components within the plant, which offer it protection that we are seeking to use for ourselves as a result, I often use whole food or whole plant products or extracts in my practice.

Dr. Weil’s talk reinforced my thinking on the use of whole plant extracts in treating diseases.  Seeing the incredible array of medicinal plants from around the world reminded me that the cures for many of our illnesses are as natural as the illnesses themselves.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Where Exactly Do “You” Begin?

6a00e55255b4628834017d4320ec6b970c-200wiOur “self” does not completely stop at the brick and mortar layer of the epidermis. In many different ways, part of us extends out beyond that border, much like the headlights coming out from the car. The headlights might correspond to the subtle electromagnetic energy field that emanates from out electro chemical makeup, or to our emotional
nature which attracts and repels others.

We emit chemicals as odors, we breathe and bacteria and other microbes surround us in a kind of haze. We talk of people getting into our space, or getting into our face, when they get too close. And we stay away from infected people because of what they cough and breathe out, and what is on their skin.

Some people concretize this outer layer into an “aura”, and there are some people who claim to be able to see and describe the auras around other people.

Still, the most agreed upon location where it stops being outside or other and starts being you is the outer layer of the skin. And that’s where I work.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


No Time to Eat, Less to Digest

6a00e55255b4628834019b00502860970c-200wiOur busy life styles make it hard to take the time to sit down and enjoy thinking about the food we are about to eat, and fully appreciate it. Often, we eat on the run, or while focusing on work because we cannot step away from the office during the period of work activity.

The normal process of digestion cannot take place well in that kind of rush, so we do not break down foods as well as we should. That leaves large particles which look more like the food we ate than the amino acids and other building blocks we need.

Those larger particles can get recognized as foreign invaders and excite the immune system to react against them and parts of the body tissues that look like them. Proper digestion starts in the mind. The thoughts of food that make
you salivate when you walk into a restaurant or food store, activate your entire digestive system for the process of breaking down and absorbing your food.

The more you are pre-occupied with other thoughts, or upset or angry, the less you do a good job breaking down
and absorbing the right stuff from your food, so enjoy your food.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Blessed with Appreciation

6a00e55255b462883401901b97f278970b-200wiAs I stood in a grove of flowering trees at the feet of a cherry tree, the entire ground under it covered with pink flower petals, I had a welling up of emotions, felt a few tears in my eyes, and heard my inner voice say:

“You are blessed with appreciation, and being appreciated to go forth and heal yourself and the world.”

I hope that most of you have a chance to stand at the edge of a flowering tree this Spring, and feel, even for a brief moment, the blessing of being in a universe with such beauty in its cycles, to heal your spirit and carry you through barren times, so that you, too, can heal yourself and the world.

Notice, that as a visiting person of importance, the Universe has scattered flowers at your feet in anticipation of your arrival and this moment.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Holistic Medicine and Toxins

6a00e55255b4628834017eea953a25970d-200wiFor me, alternative medicine involves discovering and helping individuals find out what molecular mimics are getting their immune systems so riled up that they attack their own tissues with inflammation. I look at causes and treatment as a doctor, and then I
look again as an alternative physician with a kind of “pre-knowing” that attempts to peer through the collective mind fog with a more sensible view on what the human body can tolerate.

I understand that learned authorities in powerful positions are extremely wary of my
thinking because of the lack of adequate randomized control studies. To them, I am the one with fuzzy thinking. But maybe, like video cameras that can create a clear picture from a shaky camera, I have the fuzzy logic. I respect their knowledge of medicine, but do not wish to follow them into the collective mind fog.

For example, some really crazy thinking is going on about continuing to allow mercury fillings. Dentists can’t throw it down the sink, because it is hazardous waste, but they are allowed to put it inside your teeth. While mercury fillings are still legal in the United States, they’ve been banned in countries in Europe.

When mercury enters the air from coal-fired power plants and the water from mining operations, it accumulates in fish to levels that make fish unsuitable for consumption by pregnant women and small children more than once a
month. What makes it ok to put it in your mouth?

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Is Junk Food Addictive… on Purpose?

6a00e55255b462883401901b96b2cd970b-320wiAn article came out in the New York Times recently titled The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, by Michael Moss. The article is about a book that discusses the systematic addiction to unhealthy “foods” in the past couple of decades.

An interesting part of this is that this technology was originally created for a good purpose; in order to get our troops to eat the food that they were given. Food that had to survive in war zones. Non-perishable food. The same technology, however, has since been applied to testing and developing snack foods for the express purpose of addicting people to these foods.

Junk foods contain elevated amounts of high-temperature heated fats and oils, salt, sugar, and other chemicals that we now know are really bad for our health. It’s most interesting that food industry has, starting with a good purpose, evolved to producing foods that are generally harmful for the population.

Even more interesting is the fact that these companies are operating not only according to the law, but are obligated legally to produce the maximum income for their wealthy shareholders, but with very little legal responsibility to the actual people eating the food, which is marketed especially to children and to people of lower socio-economic status. So, we have created a completely legal monster in society that satisfies our deepest food cravings and also our financial cravings.

Unfortunately, the effects of these foods are leading our entire nation to poor house because we can no longer afford the cost of so much diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other junk food-related illness. Not to mention skin diseases like acne. Because of this, we’ve created an amazingly “free” society, which has essentially set itself up to self-desctruct.

No longer simply a physical disease, this is also a social and cultural disease, and the solution lies in us educating one another as well as finding pleasure in foods that make us feel great and not just taste good for a few moments.

What if this same technology were applied to make healthy foods more appealing?

To your Health,

Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
New York


Dairy and Acne. A connection?

6a00e55255b4628834017d432086eb970c-200wiBack when I started my dermatology training, there were still a number of older dermatologists who had trained before the era of widespread use of antibiotics, who told their acne patients to stop drinking milk to improve their acne condition.
That advice became unpopular for about 30 years, with the easy use of tetracycline to calm acne and avoid the issue.  

But during the past decade, a study on nurses and then two subsequent studies on their sons and daughters (published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2005-8,) demonstrated a definite association between drinking milk, and especially skim milk, and acne occurrence.
The fact that skim milk had a greater association suggested that it was not the fats, but possibly the hormones in milk, which were causing the problem.  Milk contains hormones like progesterone, because 80% of the cows producing milk have recently been pregnant.

But milk also possesses a number of androgen-related hormones that go on to influence the sebaceous gland unit to form an acne lesion. Dr. William Danby, who was involved with these studies and lectured on this subject at the recent American Academy of Dermatology meeting, pointed out that the androgens in cows’ milk cause acne, but are different than human androgens.

As a result, the production of the body’s own androgens are not turned off by their presence, as in a normal feedback loop situation.  That would be like having another heater in your house not wired to the regular thermostat, and wondering why it was getting so hot.  So cow’s milk androgens turn up the male hormone activity that is driving the acne.  I will discuss other ways milk may aggravate acne in future blog.
Do your own dairy experiment by cutting it out of your diet completely and see if it has any effect…

 

 

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Dr. Dattner invited to Adivsory Board of The American Botanical Council

6a00e55255b4628834017d41a03d1f970c-320wiI am pleased to announce that I have been appointed as a member of the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council, a leader in providing objective information on the various uses of herbs in both healing the body and in commerce I will act as an expert advisor on herbs and the skin.

Herbs are very helpful for a variety of skin issues. Many of the herbs I have been using for years are just now appearing in products on the exhibit floor of the American Academy of Dermatology national meeting. For example, licorice and curcumin are being incorporated into anti-inflammatory herbal preparations. Green tea extract and red wine resveratrol are being used as part of the antioxidant mix in anti-aging products applied to the skin.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the future on natural and herbal skin care.

To your Health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York

From the ABC:

ABC Welcomes New Advisory Board Members

The American Botanical Council (ABC) announces the addition of several new members to its Advisory Board. These esteemed individuals — with diverse academic backgrounds ranging from analytical chemistry, oncology, and pharmacognosy to environmental science, aromatherapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine — are committed to promoting healthier living through herbal and plant-based medicine. Advisory Board members volunteer their time to peer review articles that appear in HerbalGram, HerbalEGram, HerbClips, and various ABC publications. Additionally, HerbalGram editors seek feedback and advice from Advisory Board members on issues such as research questions, article ideas, ABC policies, book reviews, and much more.

The new Advisory Board members include an oncologist, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, a dermatologist, a nurse/aromatherapist, a nutritionist, a doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, a mycologist, a geneticist, two pharmacognosists, two family practice physicians, two natural product chemists, and two environmentalists.

“We are deeply grateful to include these experts on the ABC Advisory Board,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “For many of these individuals, receiving official ABC Advisory Board status simply formalizes an already established, long-term relationship in which many of these friends and colleagues have been contributing their time and expertise to ABC and many of its publications as expert peer reviewers. The wide spectrum of scientific and clinical expertise held by these individuals as a group reflects the increasing complexity and sophistication of the modern herbal movement and of ABC’s vital nonprofit educational mission.”