SHARJAH: The hair and scalp speak volumes for one’s health and so consider going for a medical check-up when the crowning glory is not as it should be.
The advice came about when The Gulf Today interviewed trichology and homeopathy practitioner Dr Akshay Batra at his clinic at Dubai Healthcare City (DHC) on Sunday.
A third generation homeopathic physician from his father’s side, the Trichology Society-London president said he chose to finish the three-year course of trichology (the branch of medicine that studies the health of the hair and scalp) in the UK as he observed that a big number of patients in his parents’ clinic in Mumbai, India, consult for hair and scalp concerns.
“There are 30 to 40 types of hair problems and almost all are related to stress or medical cases,” Dr Batra said.
He answered in the affirmative when asked if trichologists could also spot signs and symptoms of illnesses even if the hair was dyed.
“The hair tells many stories,” Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic managing director said.
He did not take up homeopathy only to follow in his father’s footsteps but more importantly because of his belief that homeopathy is the solution to all medical and health issues, which are revealed through the condition of the hair and scalp.
Explaining further Dr Batra said homeopathy, which has origins in Germany through Samuel Hahnemann centuries ago, “strengthens the immune system by ridding it of all forms of infections without any side effects.”
On trichology, Dr Batra, who is going to release his book on hair loss in September this year, mentioned about a scientific study a few months back about the thinning of the hair shaft as a sign and symptom of Type 1 diabetes “five weeks before it is known through other means.”
A Harvard Medical School study showed there is a relation between balding and heart diseases with “balding men three more times likely to have a heart condition.”
Other ailments that could be easily known through the condition of the hair and scalp are iron deficiency, infertility-related polycystic ovary syndrome and the skin disease vitiligo.
Dr Batra explained that pemphigus vulgaris, another skin disease, could easily be spotted through the hair and scalp “before this shows on the mouth and skin,” while patches of hair loss or hairfall indicate thyroid gland problems.
Sign of stress
On the emotional aspect, he pointed out a few studies on hair loss and balding as being signs and symptoms of depression.
A research Dr Batra had conducted disclosed the prevalence of trichotillomania, the hair pulling disorder arising from anxiety or stress, leading to Rapunzel Syndrome.
Rapunzel Syndrome happens when trichotillomaniacs eat their hair and this gets stuck in the intestines.
Trichotillomania may affect any person of any age who could be as young as age one and more persistent among adolescents who are stressed out due to dysfunctional families and bullying.
Adults diagnosed with the disorder are severely affected by personal or relationship as well as career and job crises.
Dr Batra Homeopathic Clinic manager Dr Shivani Sharma said that based on their data since they opened at the DHC in 2009, trichotillomania patients are children as young as age three.
Patients’ backgrounds showed they were either verbally abused or terrorised by either adults and other children or both.
Other top concerns of their patients (60 per cent Indian, 20 per cent Emiratis and several Filipinos and Lebanese) are the auto-immune illnesses like psoriasis, vitiligo, diabetes, respiratory problems such as asthma and thyroid gland issues.
Terming it as “integrated medicine,” both Dr Batra and Dr Sharma argued for the inclusion of homeopathy in all hospital and health facilities in the UAE.
Sharma said this has been recognised in the country in the past 10 years.
“Homeopathy has a very solid and strong foundation and which has been recommended by even the other medical doctors, particularly in France,” Dr Batra said.
It was in 2007 when the DHC authorities claimed on the basis of a research that 45 per cent of the UAE residents were in favour of homeopathy, he added.
“What is needed are clear and standardised protocols or guidelines for all the practitioners in the UAE,” Dr Batra said.