What is eczema?
Is where the skin becomes itchy, red, dry and cracked. It's common in children, and in adults tends to be a long-term, or chronic, condition - often flaring up at times of stress.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin with silvery scales. It depends on the type of psoriasis exactly what it looks like, and it can affect different parts of the body.
What causes eczema?
There is no single cause, although I find stress is a common contributor.
Certain triggers include
- Animal fur
- Certain soaps or detergents
- Perfume or latex
- Hard water
- Cigarette smoke or pollution
- Cow's milk
- Cold weather
- Washing too much
- Rough clothing
- Sweating or getting too hot
A family history of eczema. You may have a history of asthma or hayfever.
What causes psoriasis?
Again I find stress a common trigger.
Other triggers could include
- A skin injury: cut, insect bite, sunburn
- Some medications
- Following a throat infection (usually in children and young adults)
- Other immune disease
Conventional treatment for eczema
Is based on physical observation and questioning about allergies, asthma, family history, stress levels, etc
Food or other triggers are questioned, perhaps using a food diary to try to identify.
There is no conventional cure for eczema, although medications commonly used are
- Emollients - for dry skin
- Topical corticosteroids - to reduce swelling and redness during flare-ups
- If severe: oral corticosteriods
- If infected: antibiotics
- Topical immunosuppresants
Conventional treatment for psoriasis
Is generally based on physical observation, there is no blood test. Occasionally, a biopsy will be done to establish the exact type of psoriasis.
There is no conventional cure for psoriasis but the GP or dermatologist will recommend what is best for you
- Topical creams and ointments
- Phototherapy: your skin is exposed to different types of UV light
- Injections or medication
How do I treat eczema and psoriasis
Kinesiology for eczema and psoriasis
Allows you to clear identify triggers (foods, chemicals, airborne, environmental) to the flare-ups. You will be given a list of what to avoid.
We also test for pathogens and toxicity, which could be compromising the body, and impairing normal functioning. If pathogens are found, these will be cleared with Frequency Therapy. If toxicity is found this will be addressed - commonly with anti oxidants.
Acupuncture for eczema and psoriasis
Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress (Hui 2010)
Acupuncture may help to relieve symptoms in people with atopic eczema and psoriasis by
- Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007);
- Regulating mediators of the allergic reaction to extrinsic allergens, for example Ig-E (Rao 2006), serum cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IFN-, IgE) (Okumura 2002), and basophils (Pfab 2011);
- Enhancing natural killer cell activities and modulating the number and ratio of immune cell types (Kawakita 2008);
- Increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling;
EFT for eczema and psoriasis
EFT can focus on the physical sensation, say the itching, or the general complaint (although often this is a little to generalised).
Commonly we will end up with an emotional root. For example Louise Hay suggests, the emotional genesis of eczema might be, "breath-taking antagonism. Mental eruptions." And for psoriasis, "fear of being hurt. Deadening the senses of the self. Refusing to accept responsibility for our own feelings." These may mean nothing to you, or they may prompt another emotional response.
The EFT can help clear emotional patterns, which I commonly find the root of physical complaints.
NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) have recommended that food allergy be considered in treating children with atopic eczema. Kinesiology provides a method to determine the allergens or triggers.
The British Acupuncture Council fact sheet on eczema and psoriasis covers research of efficacy, stating:
There are few published randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic eczema and psoriasis. Two small RCTs found that acupuncture reduced itch in patients with atopic eczema.
Each case is slightly different, so to discuss your symptoms further call 020 7370 4693 or email.
A case study from my clinic
Jessica, 24Treated: low energy, high anxiety and eczema
Jessica didn't actually come for eczema, but this was another symptom on top of her low energy, and high anxiety. In the first treatment we identified her food and environmental sensitivities, which included dairy, sugar, wheat and her perfume! I also used acupuncture to help all her symptoms, including points to help the very itchy skin. We didn't use EFT.
By the next treatment, the eczema had completely subsided, with a vague mark when the skin had been scratched (till it bled!) Jessica may get the odd flare up, if she gets very stressed, but it is rare.
Lifestyle advice for eczema and psoriasis
- Cow's milk
- Citrus fruits
- Gluten (wheat, oats, barley, rye)
- Chocolate, tea and coffee
- Processed food
Eat lots of:
- Fresh veg and fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Oily fish
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
- Change any skin products you are using - or change to natural oils.
- Try eco-friendly detergents
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Fish oils (I like MorEPA)
- Vitamin B
Stress reducing tips
If your skin is worse for stress - which is common in my experience.
- Get good rest, at least 8 hours a night, the more before midnight the better
- Take a walk in nature: the countryside or a park
- Try yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi
- Engage your creativity: painting, playing an instrument, taking pictures, creative writing (start with a journal)
- Avoid over obsessing about emails, texts and the internet
- Anything to provide balance to counteract a busy life
Ask yourself, what do I do to relax? I hope you have an answer! If so, make time for it. If not - play and find out.