Written by: Anne Gabarre, Homeopath
How important is skin?
In 2014, the global skincare market was worth £74 billion, in 2015 that figure will, according to market experts, increase to £77 billion. Skin that most visible of markers, tells us a lot about our state of health, emotional and physical. Those clients who come to see me with skin complaints have often lived with them for a long time and are desperate to find a solution that is not short term.
As a homeopath I see the symptoms as clues to underlying causes. I will seek to understand whether the skin or nail or hair condition, is a manifestation of a more general imbalance, hence a lot of questions which might at the outset appear to have no relation to the condition being experienced.
When someone complains of very dry skin, one of the first questions I’ll ask will be about digestive health. By looking at the cause, in this case, the gut, we can treat the underlying problem. Open sores might also be a sign of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract — the healthier the gut, the healthier the skin.
If I see puffiness around the eyes, it will alert me to potential kidney issues. Dark marks under the eyes will lead me to check the state of the adrenals and how the person is affected by stress, while overall painful puffiness could indicate an issue with the lymph system.
Rashes that breakout on various parts of the body are among the most common of symptoms, especially for those going through adolescence. While the causes can be complex, location and intensity provide vital clues: breakouts exclusively on the forehead and chest may point to issues with the liver, those on the chin, a hormonal imbalance. Depending on their precise location, the very same symptoms could also be linked to an overabundance of stress hormones.
Applying cortisone cream on your skin will not result in healing. If the medication is withdrawn the symptoms return. In the vast majority of cases, the person who is taking medication is not undergoing a cure but controlling the symptoms. In homeopathy, the aim is to return to a healthy state of well-being that is not dependent on medication. It is important to make the distinction between treating symptoms and finding a cure.
Understanding the relationship people have with their skin ailments is as important as the client’s physical well-being. A teenager’s emotional relationship is likely to be different to that of a middle-aged man or women with the same skin complaint. Being comfortable in our skin an intrinsic part of our well-being. Our relationship to our skin is both physical and emotional.
Not all skin problems are treatable. Some are genetic and in many cases the aetiology unknown. Symptoms can last for years, or in some cases a lifetime.
Dermatographia is a rare skin complaint marked by an imbalance of histamine. The slightest abrasion, scratching or rubbing and the skin swells and reddens. An estimated 4% to 5% of the world’s population are affected by dermatographia. For some, it will be a lifelong ailment.
Ariana Page Russell is one of those 4% to 5%. An artist, she has turned, what for many is a socially disabling, even shaming, condition into a work of art. A woman who is fully in her skin. Ariana has redefined her relationship to dermatographia and in doing so reframed what it means to be healthy. You can find more about Ariana and her work here. www.skintome.com
Written by: Anne Gabarre, Homeopath
I have been talking a lot about Toxicity: to the general public, to several therapists groups as well as preparing a lecture on the subject to students learning about homeopathy.
It seems that the issue of toxicity is becoming more and more important in practice. I am seeing more clients suffering from some sort of toxic overload, mainly due to long-term medication and where the symptoms are linked to a specific organ or system weakness.
As a general term the word ‘toxins’ relates to the accumulated waste products in the body that are detrimental to our health.
Some are substances foreign to our organism that may be harmful if they accumulate in cells (chemical wastes from foods/drugs, pollutants…also called Xenobiotics or Exogenous wastes).
Others are produced inside the body either because they are part of normal metabolic activity (Carbon dioxide, urea, lactic acid…) or as by-product of bacterial or viral activity (Endogenous waste).
When we produce too much of these naturally occurring wastes or cannot cope with them naturally the symptoms can, in cases such as gout, where the system produces too much uric acid, cause a great deal of discomfort.
When toxin build up becomes chronic it can lead to further symptoms and in some cases aggravate a disease process. Subtler toxin accumulation can reduce the efficiency of a vast array of physiological activities by altering intracellular and extracellular pH and disturbing the functions of numerous enzymatic and other reactions. Functionally, poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function and poor elimination can also contribute to a toxic state.
So toxins can cause organ overload, which turns into organ dysfunction, which then increases the build up of toxicity – a vicious spiral. It is therefore not surprising that many disease processes either occur or are aggravated by accumulated toxins or wastes.
Our first line of defence against Toxaemia is through our body ‘detox pathways’: Gastrointestinal, Urinary, Lymphatic, Respiratory and Skin.
The good news is that the majority of us manage to cope quite well despite a certain level of toxicity. Indeed it is not always toxins themselves that are the problem but the way in which our bodies process these materials.
In France and Switzerland there is a long tradition in the way homeopathic doctors endeavour to help the body address toxicity. Used alongside classical homeopathic treatment, organotherapy works to support and strengthen those organs that are struggling to eliminate toxins, through what might commonly be referred to as organ drainage.
Interested in finding out more?
For more information on Organotherapy I suggest Dr Joe Rozencwaig book (Organotherapy: drainage and detoxification, Emryss publishers) and also the excellent book by Dr Jean-Lionel Bagot (Cancer and Homeopathy, Unimedia) where he describes how 1 in 4 cancer patient in France benefits from homeopathy while undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.