Acupuncture: Alternative medicine that works by turning you into a human pincushion.
Skeptical? We understood. But research shows that stimulating specific trigger points with hyper-fine needles * can * actually relieve chronic pain. Some needle nerds also say the treatment works for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis = redness, itching and peeling of your face towards your lower areas. Autoimmune disease can also cause stiff, swollen joints called psoriatic arthritis (PsA for short).
So what can a little needlework do about it?
First of all: acupuncture for psoriasis is aimed at helping you manage your symptoms, * not * cure the disease. He can do this in several ways:
- Acupuncture can relieve stress. People with psoriasis know that stress triggers flare-ups. In a small study of college students with stressed AF, those who received 12 weeks of regular acupuncture reported significantly less stress than those who received placebo treatment for the same length of time.
- Acupuncture can relieve joint pain. The National Institutes of Health hotspot is, “Research suggests that acupuncture can help manage certain pain. A 2018 research review specifically states that acupuncture for arthritis (hello, PsA) “is worth a try.” So if your psoriasis or RP is painful (and when isn’t it really?), Acupuncture can help.
- Acupuncture helps fight anxiety. Want to see a vicious cycle in action? Stress ➡️ flare up ➡️ anxiety on the skin ➡️ stress ➡️ flare up… You see the picture. The good news is that research suggests that acupuncture can drastically reduce anxiety levels, nipping that entire cycle in the bud.
Want to give this thing a boost?
Your first step is to find a licensed and professionally trained acupuncturist in your area. This is essential to avoid injury and infection, especially around delicate and inflamed skin!
Preparation for treatment
Acupuncture sessions are a bit like massage therapy sessions. Just arrive with a clean body and an open mind. It is best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing in case you need to undress and expose large sections of skin.
Before your first treatment session, your acupuncturist should discuss your symptoms and problems.
Your acupuncture session
During the actual treatment, you will likely lie down on a bed or table with a sheet or blanket to stay warm.
Your acupuncturist will gently push sterile, hair-like needles into your skin around the problem areas. Expect the needles to be placed 1 to 2 inches deep.
Then you will rest with the needles in your body for 20 minutes or more. This is when the “magic” happens, in other words, when the treatment is supposed to invoke chi (energy) in the treated area, thereby boosting your immune system.
When the time is up, your acupuncturist will gently remove the needles, throw them away safely (needles are for single use), then send you on your way.
Friendly reminder: acupuncture is not a quick fix. It is normal to attend several sessions before you see improvement in your symptoms. In one case report, for example, a woman had 13 sessions over 13 weeks before seeing a difference in her psoriasis.
When performed by a professional, acupuncture is generally considered safe. But always check with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to find board-certified providers in your area.
Getting killed by someone who * isn’t * a pro can lead to:
- infections caused by dirty needles (🤢)
- perforated organs
In very rare cases, deep acupuncture can cause internal injuries. A collapsed lung is a big deal, so go to the emergency room as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms after your acupuncture session:
- throbbing chest pain
- sudden pressure in your chest
- severe pain that extends from your shoulder to your back
- difficulty in breathing
- cough up blood
Finally, there is the risk that acupuncture will do nothing for your psoriasis. You’ll need to commit to several sessions before you know if it’s effective, and it could make you feel like you’ve wasted time and money.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) combines the practices of the mind and body for a holistic approach to health issues.
TCM fans use a variety of treatments to treat psoriasis, but research is still quite limited on their effectiveness. Here is what we know.
Su Jok therapy for psoriasis
Su Jok (sometimes written “Sujok”) is a type of acupressure. This therapy is based on the idea that stimulating pressure points on your hands and feet can relieve pain in other areas of your body.
A recent study of just 46 people suggests that Su Jok relieves pain, but there isn’t enough research to confirm if this is a placebo effect or something more.
There have also been no studies on the effect of Su Jok on psoriasis in particular.
Reflexology for psoriasis
Reflexology uses pressure points in the hands, feet and ears. Like acupuncture, reflexology is supported by research as a remedy for stress and anxiety.
Researchers are still studying reflexology and acupressure for psoriasis. For the moment, the jury has still not considered its effectiveness.
Absoutely. These home remedies are not a substitute for treatments prescribed by a doctor, but they can certainly play with your medications – or even work on their own for mild flare-ups:
- Stay hydrated. Yes, it’s common because it works. Remember to use thick fragrance-free creams and oils to keep dander away without irritating your skin.
- Take a bath. Soak your body in colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salt. It’s calming * and * relaxing!
- Watch what you eat. What goes in must come out… and sometimes it comes out as a push. Eat fewer flare-ups by eating fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats instead of red meat, dairy, and gluten.
- Try the supplements. Some people with psoriasis swear by turmeric and fish oil. Just check with your doc before trying them out.
- Zap scalp psoriasis with zinc. Do you know those special medicated shampoos? They are infused with anti-inflammatory zinc!
- Be nice. And we mean that in every way. Choose mild, fragrance-free soaps and lotions. Avoid stressful situations that could trigger a flare-up. And be gentle with your emotions. Psoriasis can be frustrating and isolating, so talk to a friend or your doctor when the flare-ups get you down.
Acupuncture and acupressure are alternative treatments used for pain relief, weight loss, labor, etc. Adding acupuncture to your psoriasis arsenal can help, but there isn’t enough research to prove it’s fully effective.
If you are trying acupuncture for psoriasis, remember to be patient. Results may take several weeks.
Let your doctor know if you try new treatments for psoriasis, including acupuncture. When they get the big picture, they can come up with the best treatment plan for your symptoms.