Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
ALL OVER the world there are clinics that treat specific parts of the body, whether it's the ear, nose, throat, heart, foot, joints, among others. But have you ever heard of a melanin clinic? If not, right here in Jamaica, in Mandeville, Manchester, there is The Melanin Clinic, which takes a holistic approach to health and wellness.
Operated by Khensu I-Em-Hotep, holistic nutritional counsellor, its mantra is: "Holism is our aim, holism is our objective and holism is our intention." "This method of healing understands that the body functions as a whole," the nutritional counsellor said.
At the clinic, Hotep said the whole person is treated, not only the physical, but the psychological, emotional, mental, and spiritual. "The Melanin Clinic will introduce you to a level of holism (including all parts) seldom seen or heard of in the world today ... . At The Melanin Clinic we realise and acknowledge that an illness or disease of the body is also an illness or disease of the mind and spirit."
As for black people, Hotep maintains that an illness or disease of the mind may be a result of displacement, and forced acculturation, including the eating of certain types of food. The displacement of African people through slavery and colonisation has forced them to accept a foreign culture, Dr Hotep said. "Whether one is aware of this or not, the displacement of a people irritates and agitates the spirit and mind. This inflicted mindset is causing people of African descent to seek comfort and soothing in non (junk)-food substances."
Impact of racism
The psychological impact of racism on some black people and the junk food they eat affect their emotions and cause them to be emotionally and spiritually unbalanced, he said. "If I do not consider the effects of racism and the displacement on you as the individual, then that's not holistic," he argued during an interview with Rural Express on Monday. Thus, in his approach, he said he has to deal with the effects of racism and melanin levels in his clients. But what does melanin have to do with health and wellness?
Melanin is the pigment found under the epidermis, the outermost layer of the human skin. The level of melanin determines the darkness or fairness of the skin. But it is also found in the hair, the iris of the eye, the inner ear, the brain, the digestive and reproductive systems, and the adrenal gland. Hotep said melanin is very essential to certain functions of the body, and, as such, illnesses should be treated after melanin levels are measured.
In essence, people with very high levels of melanin must be treated differently from those with very low levels of melanin. "African people have different needs, psychological, and otherwise, from other races because they have more melanin in their system," he maintains. "If you have a higher level of melanin, you have a higher nutrient density, so that means everything is different ... . So you have different needs and requirements."
It's all about ethno-medicine, medicine to address the issues of a particular ethnic group. People must be treated based on their race. African people need African medicine; Europeans need European medicine; Asians need Asian medicine. Yet, he said, "Doctors are working by the European template of health. All of the blood tests and results out there are calibrated to lower-melanin people."
This ethno-medical approach to wellness is very much a part of the holistic assessment and treatment at The Melanin Clinic. Blood pressure, urine, saliva, et cetera, are tested. Body language is also observed and assessed, and even the amount of acid and alkaline in the body are tested to evaluate emotional and spiritual dispositions.
"This approach fosters a path to wellness that is far beyond just dealing with the initial symptom. It empowers the individual to seek a lifestyle that promotes healthy living and an overall feeling of well-being," the clinic says.
Seven days after consulting Hotep, the client gets a full assessment report and treatment pack, which may include dietary supplements, herbs, and essential oils. Massages and exercises are also recommended. The spiritual and emotional imbalances are also addressed, but he said he treads carefully with these.
Hotep said he was trained by the most renowned holistic naturopathic doctor in the world, Dr Llaila Afrika, and certified by his Holistic Therapies and Education Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He still does work as a naturopath in the UK, where he resided for many years.
To sensitise people to the importance of what he is doing, he participates in radio and TV shows and gives presentations at festivals and seminars. He will be appearing at Bess 100FM's 'Easter Old Time Sinting Family Fun Day' on March 24 at Brooks Park Recreational Complex in Mandeville (live at 3 p.m.), as well as at the Optimize Your Perfor-mance Health Expo, May Pen Medical Centre, on March 30 from 12 to 6.