Paul A. Goldberg, MPH,DC,DACBN,DCBCN
Psoriasis is a common reason patients come to the Goldberg Clinic. The ongoing scaling, itchiness, embarrassment, and systemic symptoms such as joint pains many patients experience makes psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis serious concerns. Our patients regularly experience both the disappearance of their psoriasis with the emergence of healthy new skin and overall improvement of their health without dangerous health destroying treatments. Having said that, we never treat psoriasis. How is that possible?
The skin is the largest organ of the human body covering us from head to foot. It is, however, more than a mere covering…it is living tissue interacting with both the outside world and the inner world including the immune, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems. The skin is reflective of a person’s state of health.
Skin issues are health and appearance issues. We care about the way we look. The billions of dollars spent on cosmetics, face-lifts, tanning beds, facials, and millions of office visits to Dermatologists every year attest to this. Most of the dollars spent, however, only go to the application of lotions, creams and dangerous pharmaceutical agents that have, at most, only superficial effects. The skin’s health depends on the health of the entire body from which it derives its blood and nerve supply... its sustenance and direction.
We applaud Dermatologists for identifying skin cancers and other pathologies. Dermatological Care, however, as in other areas of Medicine involves the treatment of symptoms as opposed to causes. The medical treatments employed for psoriasis neither improve nor address the patient’s overall health nor do they identify the causal factors as to why the psoriasis is present. Steroids and Biological drugs such as Enbrel, Humira and Remicade are the mainstays of medical treatment today. Both fail to address causes and both entail very serious potential side effects as well as failing to obtain long lasting results.
It is rare to find a patient with psoriasis who does not have other health complaints.
Indigestion, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, joint pains, backaches, allergies, are all just a few of the complaints that accompany skin disorders (watch the video interview with our patient to the right who suffered with digestive issues and Psoriasis). Determining what the causes of these problems are and addressing them serves us best in eliminating the psoriatic lesions and bringing the entire body back to a good state of health. It is of no surprise that patients who come to us complaining of psoriasis are commonly delighted not just at the improvement of their skin but also in seeing other health issues dissipate and their vitality increase.
Our patients learn that in the process of reversing psoriasis as with other chronic health issues, the body has to go through stages of healing. Digestive disorders involving carbohydrates, fats and proteins must be corrected. Lifestyle habits such as rest, sleep, and emotional stress must be addressed. Toxic materials that have been stored up in the body manifested through the skin must be identified and eliminated. Since the skin is an eliminative channel it is not difficult to understand that in the recovery process a patient’s skin may at first go through an increase in symptoms as wastes are discarded and the patient’s metabolism is restored to normal. This temporary exacerbation is generally followed, however, with a dramatic improvement in both the patient’s overall health and their skin. Discipline is critical to get the job done.
Those patients who have taken years of steroids, antibiotics, immunosuppressive and other drugs will have the greatest challenges to overcome. We have patients who have taken such drugs for five, ten or more years prior to seeing us. They need to address the original reasons for their skin issues and the task of dealing with the toxic effects these pharmaceuticals bring with them. With care and patience this too can be accomplished.
With psoriasis there are some basic steps all patients must have addressed:
Identify the reasons for the psoriasis. Naming a skin disease as “psoriasis” does not accomplish this. It is our long experience that each patient will have different reasons for having psoriasis.
Address the causes identified by guiding the patient through the steps needed to create the conditions for the restoration of health.
Psoriasis like other chronic health issues requires work on the part of the doctor to identify those causes and the dedicated work of the patient in addressing those causes with the doctor’s guidance.
The rewards of not only seeing the psoriasis fade away but of obtaining a high level of vigor and vitality, of real health, makes the work well worthwhile.
Part II of this article, “Psoriasis: Questions and Answers”, will be posted in one week.