Psoriasis causes and symptoms
Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition which affects about 3% of the population in the UK, causes skin cells to continuously accumulate on the skin’s surface, creating thick patches of dry, scaly skin (1).
Recent research has shown that the psoriasis-causing changes in the skin begin in the immune system when certain immune cells (T cells) are triggered and become overactive. What’s more, there’s increasing scientific belief that psoriasis is linked to leaky gut syndrome (2).
A flare-up of psoriasis can be triggered by a number of factors, such as stress or anxiety, injury to skin, hormonal changes, or certain infections or medications.
Chinese medicine and skin problems
The traditional Chinese medicine approach is to treat the internal root cause of illness, not only its symptoms. From a Chinese medicine point of view, the skin is influenced by any number of issues, from the health of the lungs and heart to poor circulation or excess heat.
Chinese medicine understands that skin problems take root in digestive issues, and Western science now seems to be aligning itself to this ancient thinking. With more and more scientists publishing evidence that psoriasis is linked to a leaky gut, it’s now understood that this imbalance that develops is found in the gut flora and is often caused by stress (2).
Furthermore, according to Chinese medicine, stress and lifestyle can both contribute to heat in the body, causing the symptoms of redness, itchy, dry and scaly skin that are associated with psoriasis. Excess heat also obstructs the flow of blood to the skin.
Can stress and anxiety cause psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety. One of the ways chronic stress creates inflammation in the body is by increasing the production of certain inflammatory white blood cells. In stressful situations, the body reacts by releasing this excessive heat through the skin. It’s a clever way of your body protecting your most precious organs. Whilst additional blood is directed to your lungs and muscles for the ‘fight or flight’ response, less of it reaches your stomach and skin. So the skin is weakened and overloaded simultaneously.
How to control psoriasis naturally
Although the problem is multi-layered, the solution itself is surprisingly simple. Rebalancing your natural circulation process and managing your stress response can greatly help with the effects of psoriasis. This, in turn, will help reduce inflammation and heat, reducing the underlying need to expel it through the skin.
How The Hayo’u Method can help
I founded The Hayo’u Method to enable people to master their health. By practicing simple rituals every day, you can allow yourself to manage anxiety and stress, boost circulation, reduce inflammation, support the skin and strengthen the digestive system. Here are the steps you can take:
1. Beauty Restorer Ritual
Firstly, we need to calm the symptoms of heat and toxicity and restore blood circulation to the affected area. We need to clear the psoriasis at surface level, gently encouraging circulation and reducing that inflammation is going to help. Our Beauty Restorer™ massage tool is made from 100% Xiulyan jade, revered for its cooling and healing properties.
The key is to very gently press-hold on the area – but keep repeating it and allow the jade to pull heat out of the body. Hold one side to the skin, then once the stone has warmed up, turn it over and use the other side. If you can, use two tools. Keep them in a bowl of ice and alternate them. It’s very gentle and the cooling stone feels amazing on hot, angry skin.
2. Rescue Breath Ritual
Considering there is a close link between stress and psoriasis, the more you can manage your stress levels the better. This simple but powerful technique turns off your ‘fight or flight’ reflex and engages your rest phase. It stimulates the Vagus nerve, which connects your brain and your stomach:
• Expel: First expel stale air by breathing in through the nose and purposefully out through the mouth 3 times whilst sticking out your tongue. If you are in public it’s ok to skip this step! In Chinese medicine this technique was traditionally used to physically expel heat via the breath, thus eliminating the need to push it out through the skin.
• Descend: With your eyes closed, inhale deeply for 8 counts, hold for 4 and then exhale for 8 counts and hold for another 4. Calm your mind by letting your mental energy descend and relaxing your muscles.
• Smile: As you exhale, imagine something that really makes you smile. Use your whole diaphragm and completely move the breath through the body.
3. Reset Ritual
Psoriasis is increasingly linked to weakened digestion. The Reset Ritual is a great daily exercise to assist your circulation, heart, lungs and general immunity. It helps to strengthen your digestion and also improve your flow of Qi (energy) and blood around the body – which in turn helps the skin.
• Shake: Shaking from top to bottom invigorates the circulation by loosening stagnated blood and Qi.
• Drum: Drumming invigorates the whole body’s energetic circulation working with the meridians or energy channels in your body. It is also known as stem cell chi gong as it stimulates stem cell production. Pat down the outside and up the inside of the legs and arms, around the abdomen, lower back, head and thymus (in between your breasts).
• Twist: Twisting stimulates the kidneys and balances the digestive organs and adrenals. When you twist at the waist you compress your digestive organs, which stops the circulation. Then when you release, a rush of fresh blood flows in, bringing oxygen and fresh nutrients to the area.
Twist at the waist and swing your arms so your hands slap your front and back at kidney level.
4. Body Restorer Ritual
Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Gua sha both in activating the rest phase of the nervous system, as a powerful anti-inflammatory technique and for its ability to improve microcirculation (3).
Remember, you don’t need to Gua sha directly on psoriasis and never Gua sha on broken skin.
5. Mineral Bathing
The Chinese have known for centuries that combining bathing with aromatic ingredients and minerals along with breathing techniques is hugely effective. If done correctly, this simple form of hydrotherapy is one of the easiest ways to improve health. Passive heating lowers your blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels, allowing the body to repair itself.
Hot water relaxes muscles, sending a message to the alarm centres in the brain that there’s no threat, thus immediately engaging your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
If you suffer from psoriasis, total immersion in water may not be advisable. Foot bathing is a great alternative.
Chinese Medicine believes that soaking the feet is an efficient manner of detoxification, as the slightly raised body temperature unblocks energy channels in the body. Simple soaking can be surprisingly effective. Six meridians (liver, gall bladder, kidney, spleen and stomach) reach the feet, each of which has more than 60 acupuncture points. The feet have points that correspond to many parts and organs of the body.
Soaking in hot water activates blood and energy throughout the body. In herbal foot baths, the skin absorbs elements through the skin and these travel through energy channels to target points.
Please note that this method can and should sit alongside any Western advice. Adding these practices to a clean, balanced diet and ongoing care with topical creams should start to bring back balance to the whole body.
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1. Psoriasis Association: https://www.pressat.co.uk/media/uploads/aec3d9a6488c271f242e92ae0c56fb6d.pdf
2. Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/leaky-gut-syndrome-psoriasis
3. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17905355