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Presenter: Philip Shenefelt. MD. ABMH
Skin and skin disorders have had spiritual and religious dimensions often derived from induced altered states of consciousness experiences since ancient times. Skin, hair, and nails are visible to self and others. The skin is a major sense organ for touch, pain, itch, heat, cold, pressure, and vibration. Skin also expresses emotions detectable by others through pallor, coldness, ?goose bumps?, redness, warmth, or sweating. How much skin is covered with what kind of coverings, scalp and beard hair cutting, shaving, and styling, skin and nail and hair coloring and decorating, tattooing, and intentional scarring of skin all have had and continue to have spiritual and religious significance, often derived originally from visions or other altered state of consciousness experiences. Persons with visible skin disorders have often been stigmatized or even treated as outcasts. Spiritual and religious interactions with various skin disorders such as psoriasis, leprosy, and vitiligo are discussed.
The attendee can become more aware and attuned to how altered states of consciousness experiences and their derivatives with spiritual or religious significance can affect the patient?s personal and cultural beliefs with respect to what is meaningful and appropriate display of skin, hair, and nails, what clothing and decoration is meaningful and appropriate, and their beliefs about others based on what they see. The attendee can also become more aware of the personal and cultural beliefs about skin disorders and what spiritual or religious meanings may be attached to them.