Our Skin, Our Bodyguard - Protection Inside and Out

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By: Dr. med. Olaf Koob

"No illness is healed without the participation of the skin," said Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-­1836), a well-known German homeopathic physician, who also treated Goethe.

In recent years scientific research has produced a wealth of fascinating details on immunity, but sometimes details make the larger more complete, picture all the more diffi­cult to grasp.

In this article we will turn our view not to the minute cells or organisms, but to the largest organs in the body and see how they relate to immunity. The skin, the lungs, and the mucus membranes of the digestive tract form protective bound­aries to the world outside and to our inner environment. Their importance for im­munity is beginning to become the focus of new research.

Every element within the warmth/airy/watery/solid domains also finds its reflection in the skin. If the skin is a "mirror" of the whole human being, then external skin diseases are mirrors of in­ternal pathological disturbances.

As an important part of the nervous system, the skin has an intimate relation­ship to the soul and to the brain. It also relates to two other inner organs: the lungs, and the large intestine. Generally, pathology recognizes that skin diseases which are suppressed, and forced back into the organism can lead to lung prob­lems (like asthma) or intestinal problems (like colitis). If the skin is not able to eliminate the body's toxins via its sur­face, then we become seriously, or even deathly ill (so-called "eczema death").

Research today knows that the skin is not just a pas­sive surface or­gan, but a very active immune participant which, among other things, takes over the function of the thymus gland at puberty. (The thymus is one of the most important organs of resistance.)

Step by step, the immune system responds to an attack from outside, using specific cells. This immune response has an intelligence similar to what is found in the brain and nervous system. Invasive substances or processes are recognized, assimilated and brought into a logical context, stored, remembered (so-called "immune memory"), and cast off. Today, we know there is an intimate correspon­dence between the immune system and the nervous system.

Because of the universal importance of the skin as a border and an immunological organ, skin care is to be taken seri­ously from the earliest days of life. Ways to strengthen resistance (immunity) via the skin from an early age:

-Wear non-synthetic clothing not; impregnated with poisons, like formaldehyde, often found  in cot­ton and other fabrics.

-Stimulate perspiration with saunas, herbal or sulfur baths. This also encourages the skin to breathe.

-Protect yourself against excessive exposure to the sun.  American dermatologists warn not only about short term UV light, but also the long wave light found in tanning salons.

-Rub on your skin only the best, sun-formed oils like olive oil or jojoba oil.

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