Naturopathic approaches to psoriasis
With psoriasis think systemic inflammation and auto-immunity
In plain language, with psoriasis it’s not just your skin that’s affected and your immune system starts attacking your own tissues. Though the immune reaction in psoriasis typically starts out as an “allergic” type response, it shifts to an “auto-immune” type response over time.
It’s not just about your skin
In addition to affecting the skin, psoriasis can also affect the joints, the cardiovascular system (the heart), and the digestive system. ten to twenty-five percent of the time people with psoriasis have joint pain due to psoriatic arthritis. Having psoriasis also means you are more likely to have a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke in your lifetime, and it also means you are more likely to have higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and higher blood sugar all of which put your cardiovascular system under added stress. Also, 7-15% of people with psoriasis experience inflammatory bowel disease (ie. crohn’s or colitis). People with psoriasis also have a different stress response, where cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) stays low, but epinephrine and norepinephrine are increased.
Naturopathic approaches to psoriasis vary depending on the root cause in each specific case. Also, because psoriasis can coexist with other conditions or risk factors, multiple treatment options are often combined. Speak to your healthcare provider for more information and for direct and individualized advice.
Naturopathic approaches to psoriasis may include
Stress Management: Whether it’s yoga, individual counselling or something in between. Stress management has been shown to be effective in decreasing symptoms of psoriasis.
Eliminating personal care products with harsh ingredients (eg. lotions, deodorants, laundry detergents)
Eliminating common food sensitivities from the diet or doing a simple blood test to identify food sensitivities can make psoriasis easier to treat by other means
Several herbs, vitamins, and supplements have been found to be effective in psoriasis, either on the skin, taken internally, or both. For example, in some cases, as an alternative to UV therapy, an oil infused with St. John’s wort can be rubbed into the affected area during infrared sauna treatments.
For more information, feel free to call, e-mail or come in for a free introductory visit.
Originally published in the Valley Naturopath clinic newsletter November 2013Related to: naturopath . naturopathic medicine . psoriasis . stress management