Film Review: Under Our Skin (2008)

Have you ever been told “it’s all in your head”? Under Our Skin, a classic big-pharma conspiracy tale, is the story of what some call an epidemic of misdiagnosed and undiagnosed Lyme disease in America. It follows the lives of several Lyme patients as they seek controversial treatment for their illness by a few doctors whose livelihoods are continuously under fire for believing in the existence of chronic Lyme.

You would think that as someone who spends large amounts of time in the woods, I would be worried about contacting or having Lyme disease, but I never have been. My interest in this film came from my interest in medicine in general, especially those mysterious conditions which baffle  modern medical doctors including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and even Autism. Lyme, often confused with or concurrent with other diseases, seems to fall into the same category as these, having widely variable neurological and immunological symptoms often written off as psychosomatic. As an attractive woman with chronic back pain, I particularly related to the female characters in the movie whose pain was discounted and difficult to convey because they “looked good”.

Much like Autistic Parents have organized around DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors, Lyme patients have organized a list of LLMD’s (Lyme Literate MD’s).  I was surprised however that the film focused almost entirely on conventional medicine for Lyme which includes ongoing doses of antibiotics. For an example of an alternative protocol see Steven Harrod Buhner’s book Healing Lyme.

The movie seemed to insinuate global climate chance might be the culprit behind the rising incidence of Lyme. I find myself more concerned with increasing environmental toxins which overwhelm the immune system’s ability to cope with additional invaders and are implicated in many of the diseases discussed above.