Bothered By Psoriasis? Try Acupuncture

Treatment of psoriasis through acupuncture can seem a bit unusual, and indeed, this type of acupuncture treatment is not used in China since the Chinese themselves rarely get psoriasis. Nature and science, however, have still yet to find a cure for psoriasis. Besides this, the fact that some sufferers depend on acupuncture to help soothe the lesions and plaques associated with psoriasis makes this safe natural healing remedy worth trying.

In the US, extreme forms of psoriasis affect about 2% of the population. Another 20% of the population suffer from mild to moderate forms of this disorder. Moreover, thousands of new cases are recorded each year making psoriasis a worldwide global problem. The real cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is believed that it not only affects the skin’s upper layer, it is also is connected to the malfunctions within the immune system that cause some cells to become overactive.

The main tool of the acupuncturist is the needle. The needle used is a solid slender and thin as the hair in your head. Usually, more than one needle will be utilized and stuck into the body at acupoints along a web of signal channels that relate to the problem area. Sometimes needles are inserted into points that are remote to the problem area.

Despite the fact that there’s not enough scientific evidence to support acupuncture treatment for psoriasis, Western acupuncture adherents and practitioners still advocate its practice. It may be due to individual differences in how the symptoms of psoriasis vary from one person to another.

Psoriasis acupuncture treatment may require several sessions depending on the severity of your condition and how well you respond to the treatment. It is not a fast cure. One of the best things about it is that it has no side effects, except perhaps an anxiety attack or a rise in your blood pressure if you have an aversion to needles. If you are scared of needles, you may be pleased to know that the practice is often now carried out using small probes and electric currents instead of needles. This latest acupuncture technique is as equally effective as the traditional Chinese needling acupuncture.

Thrive Wellness Center is an acupuncture clinic in Boca Raton, FL providing Chinese medicine treatments for many health conditions.

Skin Disorders Such as Psoriasis and Alopecia Can Be Treated With Acupuncture

Acupuncture and herbal therapy have been used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners for thousands of years to treat a wide range of maladies from internal health diseases to skin conditions such as alopecia, psoriasis, acne, eczema, and others. A lot of practitioners these days still utilize these modalities to treat their patients who choose a safer, less invasive and drug-less treatment.

Good health is deemed by Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a balance between the environment we live in and the body’s internal systems. Balance displacement in yin and yang, blood and Qi (energy) lead to the rise of diseases. The impact of dryness, dampness, cold, heat, wind, and other environmental conditions also aid in the development of the illness. Furthermore, TCM considers the mind as a powerful influence on the health of the person.

Dermatology has four realms where TCM is used: Hsa Bing (gangrene, stomach conditions, and other disorders), Gan Men Bing (anus or rectal disorders such as hemorrhoids), Pi Fu Ling (warts, eruptions, and other disorders of the skin), and Chang Yang (skin sores).

The herbal formula San Wan Hsi Ji (Three Yellow Cleanser) is utilized by Traditional Chinese medicine to treat around 60% of skin disorder including psoriasis, rashes, dermatitis, eczema, and acne. Used for many hundreds of years, the Three Yellow Cleanser, is made up of four cleansing herbs with “cold attributes” that prevents Shou Se (secretions) from oozing further, halts Shi Yang (itching), and dispels Qing Re (internal heat). The name of the formula is derived from the yellow hue that three of the four herbs possess.

The four herbs – Wang Qin (Skullcap), Wang Bai (Phellodendron), Ku Shen (Sophora), and Dai Wang (Rhubarb) — were scientifically scrutinized and were discovered to possess antiviral, antifungal, and anti-bacterial attributes. Clinical studies suggest that Wang Bai (Phellodendron) is totally effective in resolving eczema.

TCM recommends acupuncture besides the liberal use of Chinese herbs, as a parallel therapy for skin conditions. Acupoint stimulation activates the endocrine and immune systems, and adds to the production of endorphins simultaneously. Acupoints or acupuncture points are specific nerve endings that provide certain access to the energetic meridian systems, which perform a number of functions depending on their location.

Acupoints located on the torso, legs, and arms are stimulated to treat skin disorders. Single use, surgical high-grade and fine steel needles are used by acupuncturists to stimulate the acupoints. Depending on the desired effect, the needles are left inserted in the skin for as short as 5 minutes to as long as a full hour. Electricity or heat may be added using small alligator clips or heated needles (three fire needles) connected to the needles. A light electrical charge travels to the needles from a small power source.

A number of small-scale clinical studies focusing on acupuncture’s capacity to resolve skin disorders were cited in the 2002 publication of the WHO (World Health Organization) although there still has yet to be a long-term comprehensive study to corroborate the positive results of acupuncture cited on the WHO published studies.

Most of the WHO studies were random clinical trials showing acupuncture’s ability to treat neurodermatitis, pruritus, herpes zoster, and chloasma. One cited study done in 1996 involve 60 patients with chloasma who got well after being treated with acupressure and auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture). The treatment showed superior results compared to vitamin C and E therapy.

The healing effects of laser acupuncture on a viral infection (human alpha virus) was such that it brought about scar tissue formation and relief of pain quicker than a treatment of polyinosinic acid according to a study reported in the 1994 edition of the World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion.

The 1987 publication of the British Journal of Dermatology cited a study that proved acupuncture’s viability as an anti-pruritic modality. The 1998 publication of the Journal of Guiyang Chinese Medical College showed how the three-step seven-star needling technique can be used to effectively treat neurodermatitis.

Besides acupuncture and herbs in Portland, TCM also suggests modifications in one’s diet. People suffering from skin maladies should abstain from crab, shrimp, fish, and alcohol. Highly recommended for eating are fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Removing Psoriasis with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Asian healing procedure that has been practiced in several eastern societies and cultures for thousands of years. In the United States, this treatment only gained popularity during the past several decades. Acupuncture has been used to treat psoriasis and acne since it has been proven to be a very effective treatment for these skin conditions.

A study done in 1992 was for evaluating acupuncture’s efficacy for the treatment of several skin allergies and conditions. Done in China, the study involved 61 subjects who did not respond to the common treatment protocols. The conductors of the study performed controlled acupuncture on nine separate sessions compared to the mainstream treatment protocols.

They stated that the acupuncture treatment was a success. More than half of the test group given acupuncture showed remissions in their illnesses and in certain instances has led to the complete cure of their illness. The study also showed that the majority of the subjects showed a substantial improvement of their quality of life and conditions.

Based on acupuncture medicine, the body possesses special sections known as meridians. Meridians, according to eastern medicine, are known to help rectify energy dispersal restore balance and bring back balance throughout the body. Practitioners of eastern medicine believe that by targeting affected meridians, they help remove nervous conditions and blockages and restore natural function that may result in a number of skin allergies.

In western countries, studies involving acupuncture have also been done although most of them failed to produce solid outcomes to prove that acupuncture works. Be that as it may, individual cases consistently have proven that acupuncture helps improve conditions and should not be ignored as an alternative to conventional medicine. Some individuals suffering from psoriasis and acne who have tried acupuncture have shown a huge improvement in their symptoms after getting this non-invasive therapy.

Acupuncture has shown to be very effective in treating a condition known as psoriatic arthritis. This condition is a disease that causes the joints to become inflamed. It leads to severe pain for the poor sufferer. Acupuncture has been used to remove the pain by controlling the problematic meridians.

Acupuncture as a stand-alone treatment may not be potent enough in treating major conditions. A growing number of western medical doctors are now using it as an adjunct therapy to conventional treatment procedures. So, if you happen to be suffering from skin irritation or allergies you need to consider getting acupuncture combined with a mainstream medical therapy.


Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

Psoriasis Risk Factors

The likelihood of developing psoriasis can start in your genes. A lot of people carry defective genes conveying bad information that can lead to abnormally rapid cell growth. However, you may also need some type of trigger that could be stress, injury or certain illnesses to truly come up with psoriasis.

There are certain risk factors that can enhance a person’s likelihood for psoriasis. These factors may include:

  • Stress – There are people who suffer from psoriasis due to stressful situations.
  • Alcohol – People who are heavy drinkers often experience flare ups. Moreover, their alcohol drinking lessens the potency of the medicines they are taking.
  • Smoking – Smokers who also have a family history of psoriasis have a very high chance to get this condition that may even be more severe than typical cases of it.
  • Obesity – The heavier you become the more likely you will develop psoriasis. Psoriasis symptoms like plaques often occur in skin folds. If you want to get rid of these symptoms, consult with your physician about exercise and weight-loss programs you can try.

Risk factors that can arise from psoriasis

If you have psoriasis, you might be at risk for the following health problems:

  • Cardiovascular disease – Heart disease can arise in people with severe psoriasis.
  • Depression – About a quarter of people who report a complaint of psoriasis also report suffering from depression.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – A third of psoriasis sufferers eventually acquire psoriatic arthritis that is characterized by long bouts of joint pain and inflammation and stiffness in the morning. Other symptoms of this condition can include nail problems, swollen, toes and fingers, lessened range of motion and fatigue among others.

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Psoriasis Lifestyles and Home Remedies

Psoriasis comes about from a fundamental problem within the skin’s cells. Restoring balance to the skin cell problem is the number one treatment goal for any psoriasis patient. Some suggestions for the remedy of the causes and contributions to psoriasis are presented below.

Protein digesting enzymes – Impartial digestion increases the number of undigested protein in the bowel causing the development of compounds termed polyamines. The polyamines accelerate the production of skin cells. High levels of this compound are found in people with psoriasis. To address this problem, proper digestion is needed and taking protein digesting enzymes can help restore balance in skin cell production.

Low saturated fat, low sugar and high fiber diet – People with psoriasis are also found to have elevated levels of toxins produced by bacteria in the gut. The toxins contribute to accelerated skin cell production as well. To fight this issue, a low saturated fat, low sugar and high fiber diet is needed to establish a healthy gut. Sarsaparilla is a very good product that is purported to lessen toxins from the bowel. Probiotics can also help in limiting these bowel toxins in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids– Leukotrienes are compounds that also contribute to the overproduction of skin cells and are found in high levels in people with psoriasis. This compound also causes the inflammation during psoriatic flare ups. Leukotrienes are derived from arachadonic acid that is often found in animals fats. Fatty acids like Omega-3 have been found to lower the levels of animal fats that contain arachadonic acid. Psoriasis sufferers have also low omega-3 fats in their body. Products that are rich in these beneficial fatty acids include onions, garlic, vitamin E and quercitin to mention just a few. Adding these products in your diet can aid in the reduction of psoriasis inflammation and in the psoriasis itself.

Milk Thistle and cessation of alcohol intake – Alcohol drinking weakens the liver and can worsen and/or bring about psoriasis. Alcohol can even add to toxin absorption from the gut and makes it more difficult for the liver to detoxify. Milk thistle has properties that strengthen the liver and help treat psoriasis.

Food allergy testing – Allergies can trigger psoriasis and allergy testing can be helpful for psoriasis patients in order to identify the foods and other factors that trigger their allergies. This will help them avoid these foods and other factors and help prevent psoriasis flare ups in the process.

Vitamins and minerals – Low levels of specific nutrients can bring about psoriasis. Nutrients that should be always in sufficient levels in the body include Vitamin D, vitamin E, glutathione, selenium, chromium, zinc and vitamin A among others.

Ultraviolet light – This has been seen effective in treating symptoms of psoriasis.

Foods to avoid:

  • White refined carbohydrates and sugar – These products feed bad bacteria in the gut that only adds to the toxins absorbed from the gut.
  • Red meat and saturated fat derived from dairy products. These foods contain arachadonic acid that causes overproduction of skin cells and psoriasis inflammation.
  • Alcohol – Although not a food product, the regular consumption of alcohol only serves to add to toxin absorption from the gut and weakens the capacity of the liver to detoxify toxins

Foods to increase:

  • Add to your diet more sources of fiber especially gluten-free grains, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruits
  • Make sure you ingest foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids – Taking in foods containing this anti-inflammatory mineral at least three times a week can greatly reduce your psoriasis symptoms and flare ups. Fishes rich in Omega-3 fats include tuna, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring, trout, and salmon. Other sources of Omega-3 include walnuts, hemp oil and flax oil
  • Seeds such as sunflower seeds, linseeds and pumpkin seeds do have a number of anti-inflammatory attributes such as zinc and essential fatty acids that prevent psoriasis and also make the skin healthy.
  • Quinoa, corn, tapioca, amaranth, millet, buckwheat and brown rice and other gluten-free grains
  • Rice milk, oat milk and unsweetened soy milk as well as other healthy alternatives to dairy milk.
  • Fruits that are good to the skin like papaya, kiwi, prunes and figs
  • Herbs and plants containing anti-inflammatory attributes like turmeric, cayenne pepper and rosemary
  • Vegetable juices like artichoke and beetroot, apples and carrots with a base of cucumber and celery, these are products that can help detoxify the liver.

Make sure you thoroughly chew your food – Besides this sit down whenever you eat your meal since this can better the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

As mentioned a while ago, ultraviolet light can help prevent psoriasis so sunbathing can be helpful as well for psoriasis because you get to take in copious amounts of vitamin D. Of course, you need to avoid getting sunburned since it can lead to a far worse skin disease like skin cancer. You can get UV light therapy using 295 to 305nm preferably thrice a week at 3 minutes per session.

Cut down on your stress – Manage well your stress levels by resorting to relaxation techniques and therapies like meditation, tai chi, yoga, moderate exercise and acupuncture.

Psoriasis Coping and Support

Psoriasis symptoms often suddenly develop as a reaction to a number of triggers. This makes it essential for people with this disease to learn coping methods to avoid flares as much as possible.

One good way to start coping well with psoriasis is to monitor your flares so you may connect them with the triggers that start them. Most doctors conclude that based on their received complaints certain medications, infections, stress and dry skin are the common triggers for psoriasis flare ups. Keeping a journal to record your flares and identify their triggers is the best way to address your symptoms.

Making your family and friends sufficiently, or better yet, well-informed about your condition can help you avert the frequency of your psoriasis flares. Relationships are usually affected when your friends, companions and family become loathed by your lesions. You can inform them by telling them that psoriasis is not a contagious condition and they are not at risk of acquiring the disease from you in any way. This will help calm  their fears.

Care for your skin by keeping it always moisturized. Dermatologists state that keeping your skin immersed with moisturizers and emollients after the lesions have subsided is just as vital as when these lesions are at their worst. Use colloidal oatmeal or bath oil to pat your skin with after a warm bath and then immediately place moisturizers on your skin while it is still damp.

It is good to indulge in relaxation techniques or activities like yoga or meditation if you’ve got psoriasis. You can avail of acupuncture or psychotherapy if you are severely stressed out due to some unresolved issues.  You can also join a support group for psoriasis sufferers to find solidarity, comfort and answers with others who may be suffering from the same ailment as yours or have a loved one who does.  One good support group you can join is the National Psoriasis Foundation. This foundation can provide you with materials and support to help you better cope with your disease.

Eating a highly nutritious and well-balanced diet that is low in salt, sugar and fat can help lessen your psoriasis symptoms. Doing so not only neutralizes your psoriasis but also helps you avoid other conditions like obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes. A regular healthy diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to cope with psoriasis as well as to control its flare ups.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.