Mind and Body Therapies
Because stress has been proven to trigger psoriasis in some people, you may find these techniques helpful in controlling psoriasis.
Aromatherapy is the use of pleasant smells to help you relax and lift your mood. Fragrant oils are extracted from flowers or plants for aromatherapy. Essential oils can be applied in one of three ways: diffused through the air, inhaled with an inhaler, or applied to the skin during massage or bath.
Among the best oils to use in treating psoriasis:
- Tea tree
Essential Science Publishing (compiled by), Essential Oils Desk Reference, 2nd Edition. USA, Essential Science Publishing, 2001.
In meditation, you learn to focus your attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy the mind. The practice of meditation is believed to result in a state of greater physical relaxation, mental calmness, and psychological balance. Practicing meditation can change how you relate to the flow of emotions and thoughts in your mind. It is important to try to come to terms with your psoriasis emotionally so that you don't feel victimized by it.
Mindfulness is a key element in many forms of meditation. Mindfulness is becoming or remaining consciously aware of what is going on internally and externally through the mind, body and senses. Mindfulness practice includes seated meditation and movement-based techniques. Mindfulness seems to be an effective technique for some individuals when dealing with chronic pain. A 2011 study in the Clinical Journal of pain found that mindfulness based approaches played a small but significant improvement in pain perception for individuals.
Mineral waters have long had reports of therapeutic benefit. Several known therapeutic spas are located in Israel on the Dead Sea, in France, Egypt and the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. In the US Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming all boost mineral springs. You also can create your own home spa. It is believed spa therapy helps psoriasis because minerals in the water help the skin trap hydration and soften the skin, breaking down the plaques that characterize psoriasis.
Regular contact with people who understand what you are experiencing can relieve stress and improve health. That's why the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) launched its new Patient Navigation Center. We are the world's first, personalized support center for psoriatic disease, and we can help you connect with others in your community through NPF programs. For free and confidential assistance, contact our Patient Navigators »
You can also sign up for Psoriasis One to One, our mentoring program or a Psoriasis Coach who can help you set lifestyle goals and are available on a more long term basis. Join our online message board Talk Psoriasis or our Facebook community.
If there are times when you feel you are unable to cope with life with psoriasis, consider reaching out to a cognitive-behavioral therapist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external issues, such as people or events. The advantage of this idea is that you can alter the way you think so that you feel or act better even if circumstances do not change. You can find a cognitive-behavioral therapist through the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists.