Psoriasis is an affliction of the skin that is the result of inflammation, although the exact underlying cause is unknown as of 2011. Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions, including skin conditions such as psoriasis, by inserting small, thin needles into the body to elicit a specific reaction. Turning to acupuncture for psoriasis can help relieve stress, reduce inflammation and strengthen the organs that are associated with the skin, according to traditional Chinese medicine theory.
Stress is considered a major contributing factor to psoriasis, and stressful situations can often trigger flare-ups that make the psoriasis worse. When using acupuncture for psoriasis, emphasis will be on inserting needles into points on the head and limbs to help calm the nerves, reducing stress levels. Several key points on the ear are often used because they help stimulate the vagus nerve, which has a profound influence on the nervous system.
Another benefit to using acupuncture for psoriasis is the traditional Chinese medicine principle of cooling the blood. In terms of Chinese medicine theory, blood heat is a cause of skin eruptions like psoriasis, and is comparable to the modern definition for inflammation. Using acupuncture points that cool the blood helps to reduce the inflammation associated with psoriasis by promoting blood flow and helping to eliminate heat. This is particularly relevant if your psoriasis is made worse by exposure to the sun or when eating spicy foods.
One of the key principles in acupuncture is tonification, which is the process of building up or strengthening a specific organ. In the case of using acupuncture for psoriasis, this would entail using points on the body that are associated with the lung, which is the main organ associated with the skin. A qualified acupuncturist will know what acupuncture points will both strengthen the lung and help your skin function more efficiently. Additional points might also be used to strengthen other associated organs, including the kidney and spleen.
Consult your doctor before using acupuncture for psoriasis to ensure it will not interfere with any medications or other treatments you are receiving. A qualified and licensed practitioner should administer acupuncture treatments, so you receive the maximum benefit and ensure the treatment is a safe one. Acupuncturists might also recommend other forms of treatment, including moxibustion, cupping and herbal remedies. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, particularly if you are taking prescription medications.