Psoriatic arthritis is a joint disease that affects people who suffer from psoriasis. A chronic and recurrent condition, psoriatic arthritis can have periods of remission with little to no symptoms present. No matter what state the disease is in, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide relief. During times of remission, acupuncture can help strengthen the immune system and reduce the duration and severity of the next episode.
The flagship symptom of psoriasis is hard to miss—angry, red patches on the skin with scaly, shiny pieces on the top. This occurs when the body's production of skin cells becomes overactive. Instead of 28 days for normal cells to migrate from the deeper layers of the skin to the surface, where they are sloughed off, it takes only 3 or 4 days to complete this process.
The most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, swelling and redness. Any of the joints in the body can be affected. This includes the toes, fingers, neck and spine. When the spinal column is affected, a condition called spondylitis may ensue, making movement difficult and painful. When the hands or feet are affected, they may become moderately to severely physically deformed.
There's no reason to be tentative or fearful of utilizing acupuncture and Oriental Medicine during a symptom outbreak. Acupuncture needles will never be inserted directly into the areas afflicted with arthritis and the needles are completely safe and sterile. They leave their protective package, enter the body and then are immediately discarded into a medical waste container. Furthermore, there are many acupuncture point combinations available, so avoiding areas of inflammation is not a problem.
A psoriatic arthritis patient may be diagnosed as having Bi-syndrome. This is a class of disorders that form when meridians become blocked and interfere with the quality and flow of blood and Qi. Qi is the energy necessary to animate all life and a meridian is the invisible line on which this healing energy traverses. It is the Qi in the meridians which acupuncturists use to help heal the body and mind.
Patients suffering from Bi-syndrome easily succumb to outside forces such as heat, cold, dryness, dampness and wind. For someone suffering from hot, painful knuckle joints, the predominant pathogenic agent is heat. Therefore, treatment may consist of reducing heat in the area by nourishing the blood and encouraging the free flow of Qi. When the area is free of stagnation, heat is less prone to build up.
One such acupuncture point combination with the power to bulk up the blood quality and improve circulation is called (quite poetically) the Four Flowers. Two points found on the Urinary Bladder meridian enhance each other's ability to affect the blood quality when needled together. They are located on the upper back, near the spine, and traditionally have been used for a wide and varied array of issues involving blood.
Pain and other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may begin to fade away with regular acupuncture treatments and healthy changes in eating habits. Dietary suggestions include avoiding sugary, spicy and fried foods. According to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, these types of foods contribute to a sluggish blood circulation system and may therefore generate pathogenic heat in the body.
Consider an appointment with a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine if you suffer from psoriatic arthritis. You can receive help for your arthritis and work on managing the symptoms of psoriasis you may have.
Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.