Psoriasis is defined as a range of skin disorders with the chief symptoms being a painfully itchy rash taking the form of red and white scales on the body, with some types also presenting the appearance of pustules. It may occur in small areas, concentrating on the limbs, stomach or head, or be widespread across many parts of the body including the nails. Most psoriasis patients are suffering from psoriasis vulgaris (or plaque psoriasis), and the onset is usually in the late teenage or young adult years. The condition is spread across both genders, but interestingly is more prevalent among the white European populace than other social and ethnic groups.
Psoriasis and its treatment
What is psoriasis?
Despite being far from uncommon, with an estimated 125 million sufferers worldwide, non-sufferers are not well informed about this skin condition. Despite its appearance, psoriasis is not at all contagious, being a purely genetic condition that results in patches of skin inflammation. The degree to which the symptoms are apparent can vary for different people – for some it is a largely seasonal disorder, for other it may be stress, other illnesses and their medication, damage to the skin, or even simply heat and dryness that can exacerbate the symptoms. Severe cases of psoriasis require care and attention in treatment, since they may inhibit some of the skin’s important organ functions, such as keeping the body at the correct temperature. Also, psoriasis sufferers have increased risk of arthritis, diabetes, heart problems and, rather regrettably, depression.
Treatment for psoriasis
Common medical opinion is that psoriasis does not have an all round standard cure. This does not mean however that it cannot be managed, as treatments abound to help sufferers, most of whom have a particular method that they know works for them. Creams made from corticosteroids and vitamin D analogues are a common method for taming down the chief symptoms and removing plaques, with a typical course of treatment lasting a couple of months. However, some sufferers will make do with all purpose remedies such as Vaseline or flavour of the month skin products such as coconut oil, which can help moisturise and nurture the skin. In addition, ultraviolet light, either from the sun or from a targeted treatment at set wavelengths can help in the correct doses, as can the salt in spa waters.
However, despite the very physical nature of psoriasis, topical treatments are not necessarily the be all and end all. Some psoriasis sufferers resort to oral or injected medicines that attack the condition from the within, correcting or combating the very agents that cause the skin to flare up in this way. Like much medication however, there can be unwanted side effects or growing tolerance to the treatment which end up making it counterproductive or plain ineffective. Others feel that adjustments to their diet has paid off, increasing the intake of omega oils or decreasing gluten, as measures to ensure that deficiences or intolerances are kept out of the equation.
Just as important as the physical side to treating psoriasis, the emotional side to psoriasis must also be addressed in tackling it. For those with severe cases of the condition, the discomfort may be significant, if not debilitating, affecting movement, sleep and ability to care for themselves and others. Growing up with the condition and the reactions of less informed members of society, may lead to long standing issues of self-consciousness and anxiety when out in public, plus feelings of rejection and depression. A genuine treatment of psoriasis should therefore assist with building back the sufferer’s self esteem, rather than simply addressing the skin issue alone.
It is little wonder then that new systems for treating psoriasis outside of the doctor’s surgery have come onto the market to provide a more holistic solution to this skin condition, beyond slapping on creams and hoping for the best. The real treatments for psoriasis should relieve symptoms naturally and harmoniously, whilst giving the sufferer a sense of confidence and energy once more. To look healthy and feel healthy is really the end goal, without relying on creams and such treatments as one’s prop through life.
As you can see from what has been recounted above, psoriasis sufferers are confronted with a whole range of treatments, and when you dig into the detail of the available literature, a determined researcher will be launched into a debate of conflicting arguments for and against particular treatments, and unable to evaluate how genuine claims and dismissals are when there is so much invested interest from pharmaceutical organisations and their advertisers in promoting their products.
This is indeed where alternative therapies then come into play as strategies to try tackling the condition from all angles. A cream or light treatment will only provide relief at skin level, however as we have seen above there are many factors at play with psoriasis. Indeed there are those who can attest to methodologies that have turned their lives around and are ready and willing to share their experiences. These methods are rooted in resolving the imbalances in the body that and providing holistic relief, rather than simply focusing on clearing patches of affected skin and hoping it won’t come back.
The curious case of Dan Crawford
One example of a grass roots researcher and advisor in this field is Dan Crawford. His website tells an intriguing story of how he succeeded in his battle against psoriasis, making his methods available to other sufferers of the condition. You can read the full account of his story over on his site, but I will try and summarise it here.
He is (or in his words, was) a psoriasis sufferer who has developed a system for keeping psoriasis at bay after 12 patient years of trial and error testing. His childhood was blighted by outbreaks of the condition which would flare up when playing outside, driving his parents crazy from the constant crying from the burning pain, and his doctor nonplussed by how to treat it. His teenage years were lonely and by the time he was ready for college, the side effects of strong medication were only making his skin more vulnerable. However, going to college was his first breakthrough, in finding sympathetic and mature colleagues who introduced him to the science library where he devoured all the literature from around the world on the subject of his skin condition.
Dan was at the age in life where he was well aware of how society viewed his condition, and how the psoriasis was eroding away his physical health and mental state, plus also imbedding increasing worries about his long term opportunities. Feeling that he had been given the runaround by doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, he was determined never to give up and kept working away on his psoriasis research, broadening his studies out further to include other skin disorders, and learning about the role of the immune system, hormones and diet in maintaining strong health. He hooked up with other psoriasis sufferers and authorities on the subject, not just in the medical field but even branching into the alternative therapies world. Having exhausted schooled dermatological advice, he was now going for homeopathy, crazy diets, treatments with magnets, reflexology, even miracle men healers – the lot!
Did any of this help? Well, let’s just say that the journey made Dan wiser and stronger, but his skin? At every potential breakthrough the excitement of discovering a new cure was routinely banished as the psoriasis still raged away. However he reported that a turning point quite unexpectedly occurred as he connected with a holistic therapist in another part of the country. Their dialogue left a lasting impression on Dan who tried out the therapist’s advice, adding a few twists of his own from his own earnest research. He tells us that much to his amazement, steadily over the weeks, and quite unbelievably, his psoriasis began to fade away…
The hard work and dedication to the cause paid off. But wasn’t this just some sort of coincidence or a temporary lapse? He decided to approach another of his contacts who was a long time severe sufferer, and see how she fared with the techniques and advice that worked for him. Having spent her adult life lonely and unemployable from the effects of the illness, she was also able to cast herself free from psoriasis in a matter of weeks. Dan was clearly on to something with a method that had now worked on two people. He rolled out the treatment to other long suffering friends who were desperate for help to study the effect on a group basis.
The results from this larger test were extraordinary. Dan reports a general pattern in the treatment – the nasty sensations from the condition were first to go, and for the following 3 weeks the plaque and scales characteristic of psoriasis fell off or receded, to be replaced by healthy skin. As the treatment continued, the general health of group members showed improvement as the other symptoms of the illness wore off, and of course with better skin and health the group members enjoyed a new sense of confidence and positivity without the constant stress and self consciousness of psoriasis. According to Dan, his methodology has now helped over 160,000 sufferers, and his website gives a long run down of case studies and before/after pictures, which make for very interesting reading.
The conclusion that Dan reached was that the pharmaceutical companies are making a fortune from marketing potions that they themselves know are ineffective in treating psoriasis for the long haul. All they want is for you to come back to them with more money for more inadequate pills to treat the first line symptoms. Dan’s view is that rather than attacking the body with steroids and drugs that meddle with the immune system, you need to be working with your body to naturally address the root causes, rather than filling it up with chemicals that will over time introduce all sorts of new problems. Psoriasis isn’t so much a skin condition as a warning sign that there is something wrong with your body, and it is that which needs addressing, not just the surface level symptoms, painful though they may be.
As such, Dan’s advice covers various aspects of the sufferer’s wellbeing. As a (former) sufferer, he knows about the frustrations of side effects and has taken measures to avoid these. His principle focus is to help others take action to combat their psoriasis, turning over diet and lifestyle, and honing in on the emotional patterns representative of the disease. All his findings and insider tips about little known supplements that take quick action against psoriasis, and commonly found chemicals that you wouldn’t have thought would be making your condition worse, are all revealed. Dan puts it all together demonstrating how psoriasis is more of a vicious circle of events that can be finally broken when you wrestle control.
Dan Crawford’s position puts an interesting perspective on psoriasis, and sufferers will undoubtedly find a lot of value in what he has to say. It is perhaps best at this stage to click through to his website, which goes into greater detail on what his methods actually consist of, and further interesting case studies of those who have finally found relief in his treatment program.