If you’re one of the more than one million Canadians with psoriasis, you probably have a few choice words for your condition. It’s stressful, unpredictable (like that platinum blond stunt Kimye pulled for Paris Fashion Week. #MindBlown) and totally not a walk in the park (same reference applies actually, cuz getting back her black locks must have been torture).
To give you the low down, psoriasis likes to rear its ugly head in the form of skin inflammation. We’re talking thickening of the skin and scaly plaques – they can be itchy, they can be painful and they sure as heck can make you feel a little uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s your scalp, knees, elbows and lower back that can be most often affected.
We’ve talked already about some of the many traditional treatment options, so I thought I’d “poke” around about an alternative one - acupuncture for psoriasis - and reached out to a pro: Émilie de Grandpré, acupuncturist. “Poke” – see what I did there?
“With various combinations of acupuncture points, we manage to not only release tensions, but also relieve different PsO symptoms like chronic pain in hands.”
Steph says Émilie, before we get to the tip of the needle, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Steph says Sounds like someone has a sweet tooth! I will try that spot next time I’m in Montréal! I won’t neglect my bagel fix but I can add a few new spots to my list Back to biz, needle-shy friends, you may want to plug your ears and hum a little tune here. I read acupuncture is thought to have been around for 3,000 years. Talk about a #TBT.
Émilie saysYep, it’s quite an old practice and even though it’s gaining in popularity, few people know that acupuncture helps treat psoriasis. It’s more common to see a patient asking about how to treat anxiety issues that triggered a psoriasis crisis. With various combinations of acupuncture points, we manage to not only release tensions, but also relieve different PsO symptoms like chronic pain in hands. Considering that we can use acupuncture for many ailments, it’s important to personalize the treatment according to the experienced symptoms.
Steph saysWow, acupuncture is kind of like the jack-of-all-trades! Can it even treat hangovers? ;) Hehe! For those who are not familiar with acupuncture, I’d like to share this article written with Émilie’s guidance. Warning! Let the experts handle the needle and do not play with sharp objects!
So what is acupuncture and how does it work?
It’s an alternative medicine and kind of a big deal in traditional Chinese medicine. Using thin needles, they stimulate specific points on your body, which are called “acupuncture points”. All this is done to give your chi a boost.
So here we’re not talking chi like chia seeds (though delicious mixed with coconut milk for a quick no cooking pudding recipe), but the energy in the body. Acupuncture is meant to redirect the flow of chi (energy) and get your chi a-flowin’.
One technique they use in treating psoriasis is called “surrounding the dragon”. And those with psoriasis sure do know that it can be like tackling a dragon. Don’t you just wish you could pull a Daenerys Targaryen and just lock ‘er up in a cave? Well these acupuncturists get all knight in shining armor and with their needles (à la swords) surround the psoriasis lesion to promote the flow of chi to the area.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, but it can also be triggered by stress. More stress = worse psoriasis, which of course makes you stress more! Acupuncture can be a great way to decompress and get rid of some of that psoriasis stress. Ohmmmm.....
Psoriatic Arthritis Joint Pain
Up to 30% of people with psoriasis will also suffer from psoriatic arthritis and will experience inflammation of the joints in areas such as knees, elbows, hands and feet. Acupuncture is becoming a popular pain relief option for those with chronic pain, so it can help with the pain of psoriatic arthritis.
Unlike some traditional treatment options, acupuncture has few side effects and can help you release muscle tension. Think of it as a massage with a poke...
Worried that those jibs and jabs will worsen your flare-ups? The needles are squeaky clean (for you germaphobes that means sterilized), and there are lots of acupuncture points to choose from, so they can steer clear of sore spots.
Don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket? Acupuncture can be combined with traditional treatments, plus your healthcare provider or dermatologist can give you a hand by recommending treatments that affect the psoriasis at a cellular level. Think if it as your psoriasis superhero team!
And bottom line?
All this talk of acupuncture may have you on pins and needles. #punny And when it comes to alternative medicine, use your noggin to decide whether it’s right for you. More research is still needed, but some patients have been able to find relief using supplements, herbs, special diets, and, increasingly, acupuncture. Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider first so that he or she has the down low of your treatment plan. After all, a little extra chi may be just what you need.
Have you tried treating your psoriasis with acupuncture? Would you? I’d love to hear your experiences!
That’s all for now my friends. There’s a sidewalk sale at my fav store, and I gotta “poke” through those bargains! That joke still isn’t getting old to me… #onpoint
Émilie de Grandpré
Émilie began her career in alternative medicine practicing massage therapy with additional training in Loomi-Loomi and reflexology. Today, she also provides acupuncture treatment to her patients in the Montréal area. Émilie is a member of the OAQ (Order of Acupuncturists of Québec), AAQ (Association of Acupuncturists of Québec) and AMIS-N (Agence pour Massothérapeutes et Intervenants en Santé Naturelle).
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