By Yolanda Smith, BPharm
In addition to the standard treatments for psoriasis, including phototherapy, topical and systemic applications, there are various alternative therapies that may also be effective. The details of these therapies are outlined below.
There are various herbal remedies that are sometimes recommended for use in the treatment of psoriasis. The evidence to support their use is scarce, but individual patients have reported success with each of the following therapies.
- Aloe Vera: the gel from the plant can be applied to the skin to reduce redness and scaling associated with psoriasis.
- Apple cider vinegar: can help to relieve itchiness of the scalp when applied to the area.
- Capsaicin: can be applied to the affected area to relieve pain, inflammation, redness and scaling.
- Dead sea salts: adding salts to a warm bath can soften psoriatic scales and relieve itching. Should be followed by the application of moisturizer.
- Oats: application may help to soothe inflammation associated with psoriasis
- Tea tree oil: shampoos contain tea tree oil have antiseptic qualities and can help to relieve itching of the scalp due to psoriasis.
- Turmeric: can be taken orally to alter TNF cytokine expression in the body and improve symptoms.
- Mahonia Aquifolium: can be applied in cream form to the affected area to reduce symptoms of mild to moderate psoriasis
Acupressure is an ancient form of healing that was developed in ancient China more than 5000 years ago. The therapy involves the application of gentle pressure to key healing points in the body to manage symptoms of various health conditions. It is thought to help relieve pain and stress, in addition to improving circulation and the immune function of the body.
Although some patients report success with the use of acupressure in the treatment of psoriasis, there is no scientific evidence to support its use and its mechanism of action is unclear.
Acupuncture is another ancient therapy that was developed in China and involves the insertion of needles along key meridians in the body to manage symptoms of various health conditions.
Although it has been recognized as an adjunct therapy for other health conditions such back pain, headaches and nausea by the World Health Organisation, there is no research to support its use in psoriasis. Despite this, many psoriasis patients report positive results following treatment with acupuncture.
Specialized massage techniques may also be able to help in the treatment of psoriasis, due to the manipulation of muscular and connective tissue in the body. The movements are designed to relax, loosen and stretch muscles and joints, enhancing the function and lymph circulation. In some cases, essential oils and lotions may also be used.
This may be beneficial for patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis to help relieve the symptoms of the disease.
Reiki is a system of healing that was introduced to Japan and involves the “universal life force energy”. It is a technique that helps patients to relax and relieve mental and emotional stress, thus promoting healing.
Some patients have found that Reiki is beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis, although there is limited scientific evidence to support this notion.
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2015