What’s our largest body organ? The skin you’re in, of course. Our skin is the mongo-network of transaction points between what’s kept inside and what’s kept at bay. It’s the home of most of our tactile receptors for pressure, pain, heat, and cold, the home of our most ancient and basic sense: touch.
I happen to have sensitive skin. There’s always some inflagration burning somewhere on my surface or just underneath – fungal infections, rashes, chemical allergies, random pigmentation blotches that come and go with the seasons and the temperatures. As a naturist, I expose my skin as often as I can, convinced as I am that fresh air, water, and sunlight (the latter in moderation of course) are good for it.
I don’t mind shedding my clothes in front of doctors. But I’ve noticed that trips to the dermatologist involve zones of demarcation. The dermatologist wants to see only those spots that have spots, or only those particular inches that itch. Perhaps this has to do with the structure of HMO bureaucracies or some equally ominous malevolence.
I would much rather have a holistic consultation. Off with the clothes – let the dermatologist lift arms and separate toes and get a whole-body evaluation, all the better to make recommendations regarding, say, diet, sunlight (heliotherapy), and textile considerations (natural or synthetic fibers, laundry detergent brand, etc.) Sure, the poison ivy or the ringworm or the eczema needs to be treated, but I bet that a good dermatologist can evaluate skin qualities, “connect the dots” or spots and make some overall comments that could be most useful. It may be important to know, for example, whether the lip anomaly is related to the foot anomaly, or to know that a particular kind of seemingly unrelated rash always follows a fungal infection treated with Medicine X. Maybe I just need to switch dermatologists – perhaps some advertise a holistic approach? Time to look around.