What is “Holistic Dermatology” or “Integrative Dermatology”?

drdattner_headshot_hiresWhat is Holistic Dermatology or Integrative Dermatology?

I have been incorporating principles of holistic practices into Dermatology for the past three decades.

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE FOR THE SKIN

A variety of names have been given to this approach, including functional medicine, because it addresses the function of the underlying organs involved; complementary medicine, because it often includes methods which add to or compliment conventional medical techniques; alternative medicine, because it’s an alternative to some of the currently employed conventional techniques, and finally, integrative medicine, because when done well, it integrates the best aspects of conventional medicine with techniques which lie outside of those routinely practiced by MD physicians.

I have also called it Nutritional Dermatology, because much of my work involves dietary elimination, additions, and nutritional supplements. However it is called, I blend conventional and alternative techniques, I address other systems, besides the skin, and I evaluate the whole person.

BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGY

As a board-certified dermatologist, I begin by seeking and making a conventional dermatologic and medical diagnosis. I then go on to find out, for the individual involved, what exactly was specific to their situation that caused them to develop the illness.

Most important in this quest is a carefully recalled story history from the patient about the events that preceded the onset of the illness. Knowing how hard this is to do on the spot, I recommend that anyone seeking good holistic care with me, or anyone else, should sit down with a calendar and try to identify when their problem began and what infections, exposures, stresses, new medications, vaccinations, or other foreign materials entering the body could have preceded the event in a matter of days, weeks, or months before the onset.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
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 diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

 


My Top 5 Tips for Great Digestion

6a00e55255b462883401901bb9043d970b-200wiParents frequently tell their children, “Chew your food!  You don’t have teeth in your stomach!” In fact, we have lots of enzymes in the body that break food down like very tiny teeth. But enzymes can’t break down big particles of food.

One of the main underlying diseases in my holistic dermatology practice is allergy. Food allergy, in particular, is aggravated and sometimes caused by improper digestion. To keep digestion at its best, follow these top five tips that will help your complexion as well as your digestion:

  • When you eat, you are literally re-creating your body with each bite you consume, incorporating new molecules into your being. Eat your meals sitting at a dining table (not while reading, watching TV, or driving) Chew your food completely, enjoying each bite with each of your senses.
  • Boost your digestion by taking “bitters” before you eat, ginger tea, or enzymes after you eat.
    1. Avoid liquids one half hour before and one hour after meals, sipping water sparingly if you’re thirsty.  This is because liquids kill the “fire of digestion” in the stomach, diluting enzymes that break food into usable components.
  • Your mood matters almost as much as your food. Find a way to eat in a peaceful mood, avoiding eating when angry, sad, or fearful.
  • After a brief rest, take a walk after your meal. This helps the body keep the metabolism up.

To your health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology
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 diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


What’s Your Skin Have to Do with The Earth’s Surface?

6a00e55255b4628834017eeab67088970d-200wiWe have an opportunity, to champion the health of the skin of the planet on which we live. The health of that layer affects all life on Earth, and subsequently the health of humans.

Many parallels can be drawn between the health of our environmental “skin” and the skin of the individual.  By drawing on these parallels, we can make it easier to have a clear overview of environmental issues that affect the health of the human body and the skin in particular.

For example, we can look at how a “chemical burn” to the Ozone layer of the earth results in more danger of a sunburn to various layers of the skin. Exploring the causes of the “chemical burn” and the different ways to prevent it, educating ourselves and the public, and engaging everyone in finding a win-win solution to the problem makes this into an exciting game.

The goal is to improve health and well-being by improving conditions in the surface of the earth in which we live.

To our health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology
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 diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Natural Anti-Cancer Treatment: Eat This Food!

6a00e55255b462883401a3fcd5dbc9970b-200wiIf you’re looking for a way to balance out some of the negative effects of environmental toxins, a good way is to start eating more vegetables in the broccoli family.  This includes cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, arugula, and brussels sprouts among others.

Recent studies have demonstrated that broccoli’s chemical composition could help reduce the risk of cancer and, I believe, acne as well, because of the neutralizing effect these chemicals have on acne-triggering estrogen.

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, carotenoids (vitamin A-like substances), fiber, calcium, and folate as well as phytochemicals that may have anti-cancer properties.
For example, broccoli contains several compounds called isothiocyanates, including sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which are being explored for possible anti-cancer agents. Some studies have also suggested they
may alter body estrogen levels, which might affect breast cancer risk. Some studies have shown these substances may act as antioxidants and may boost the body’s detoxifying enzymes.

Another chemical in broccoli called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), seems to alter estrogen levels and may also raise levels of protective enzymes in the body. Lab studies have shown it may slow or stop the growth of breast, prostate, and other cancer cell lines.

Some early studies in animals have shown similar results. Small studies in humans have found it may prevent the development of precancerous growths in the cervix, as well as growths (papillomas) in the throat. While more, larger studies need to be done to confirm and expand our knowledge of the benefits, I recommend that people eat more broccoli and foods in the brassicaceae family for good health.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

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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.


Want Beautiful Skin? Look inside…

6a00e55255b462883401901b96b474970b-320wiFrequently, people come to me wanting to know how to make their skin beautiful. What I tell them is that the skin is a direct reflection of what is occurring, both inside you and in the world around you.  Among other functions, the skin is an organ of excretion, which takes over when your other organs of excretion are overwhelmed.

Your skin reflects when you are “toxic,” excreting what the rest of the body cannot.  What I want you to really get from this book is that the best way to maintain a healthy, youthful exterior is to care for the whole person.  This is what I help people learn to do as a holistic dermatologist.

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.


Probiotics and… Ahem, Diarrhea

6a00e55255b4628834017eea943b50970d-200wiFor nearly 3 decades, my colleagues in the world of Integrative Medicine and Holistic medicine have been warning about the consequences of excessive antibiotic use, calling for the use of more probiotics and other measures to prevent the consequences of antibiotic use in the digestive system, including yeast overgrowth.

Protocols suggested include probiotics as the foundation for treatment of gut issues. Use of probiotics by physicians for problems associated with antibiotics goes back much further than our three decades, but during the recent 30 years or so, probiotics use seems to have been forgotten by the majority of doctors practicing in this country.

The traditional medical establishment seems to have rediscovered probiotics an article printed in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association)–at least for the condition of diarrhea, which would be a more obvious manifestation of antibiotic overgrowth of yeast and other resistant organisms.

I welcome this study in a popular journal, even though it lacks a prominent mention of the possible relationship to yeast overgrowth from antibiotic use and the other synergistic measures that would help with this problem. Perhaps someday, integrative physicians like myself will be recognized as clinical pioneers than as quacks. And to the authors of the article who have recently explored this treatment, I must add, “You don’t say; what a surprise!”

 I’ve included the abstract from the study below.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

 

Continue reading…


Integrative Dermatology & Holistic Medicine: What is it?

In this newly posted video, Dr. Dattner discusses the differences between traditional dermatology and natural, holistic treatment of the skin.  


 


Speaking about Holistic Dermatology in India

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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. 6a00e55255b4628834016761a22a45970b-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016300ac855b970d-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6a37e3f970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016300bab713970d-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6a37f92970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016761a2439d970b-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6b18784970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016761b04fbb970b-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016761a22a45970b-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016300ac855b970d-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6a37e3f970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016300bab713970d-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6a37f92970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016761a2439d970b-320wi6a00e55255b46288340168e6b18784970c-320wi6a00e55255b4628834016761b04fbb970b-320wi


You Light Up My Life: The Mystery of DNA

6a00e55255b462883401901b96d12e970b-200wiThere is a possibility that some of our internal processes are being controlled by light–emitted by the DNA in our cells and transmitted in our own “fiberoptic” channels. The processes controlled may include everything from our symmetrical development in the embryo stage to signals being sent down acupuncture meridians.

A Korean doctor, Kim Bonghan, made these discoveries during the 1950’s and 60’s, and studies during this decade have identified these channels within lymphatic vessels using the latest scientific staining and microvisualization methods.

These channels may in fact be a vast, subtle communication system in the body that explains our reaction to light and acupuncture treatment. So when we say, “I see your light,” we may be visualizing a pattern of flowing light energy from our DNA’s activity down these light-transmitting channels described by Bonghan.

To your health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology

New York

 

Source: Lymphat Res Biol. 2006;4(4):181-90. Lee C, Seol SK, Lee BC, Hong YK, Je JH, Soh KS.


Food Allergy and Eczema (and Pregnancy)

6a00e55255b4628834017eea94c580970d-200wiAccording to an article published online ahead of print Oct 26 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, there was a significantly increased incidence of both food sensitization and filaggrin mutations in children who went on to developeczema and asthma.

A filiggrin is a protein related to penetration of foreign materials through the skin that has been found to be defective in a proportion of patients with atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema. The risk of being allergic to foods was up to 5 times as great in association with eczema as compared with those who did not have eczema.

Here’s what I have to say about this: despite the naysayers over the years who have claimed that eczema is not related to diet, this study from Germany shows an association between food allergy and eczema and asthma. I want to emphasize that in my experience, it takes more than food sensitivity testing and elimination to control food allergy manifestations.

Working with digestion, gut flora, and gut health, helps to reduce food allergy, and has proven to be helpful in reducing the incidence and severity of atopic dermatitis in infants, children and adults, as well as the severity of other inflammatory skin diseases.

Especially sensible is in normalizing these factors before starting pregnancy, if this planning is possible, and there is a history of atopy (asthma, hay fever, eczema) in you or your family. More about this important issue in a later blog.

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.