WHAT IS PSORIASIS?
Psoriasis is a noncontagious skin disease that afflicts over 5 million people in the United States.It is highly variable in its symptoms and severity.In its most common form (plaque psoriasis), it is characterized by inflamed, swollen skin lesions covered with silver-white scales.Other forms of psoriasis display pus-like blisters (pustular psoriasis), sloughing of the skin (erythrodermic psoriasis), smooth, inflamed lesions (inverse psoriasis), and drop-like dots (guttate psoriasis).
Psoriatic lesions appear most often on the scalp, knees, elbows, hands, and feet. Although it rarely affects the face, no area of the body is exempt.
The pain of psoriasis is more than skin deep. Emotional scarring is also common with this disorder, as people have to deal with disfiguration, embarrassment, frustration, fear, and depression. A loss of self-esteem and self-confidence may complicate matters, leading to social withdrawal and interpersonal problems.
CAUSES OF PSORIASIS
From a medical perspective, the cause of psoriasis is unknown.It probably has a genetic component which increases the chances for developing the disorder.Approximately one-third of all persons suffering from psoriasis report a family history of the illness.
Psoriasis is an excellent example of the concept of "diathesis/stress."Some individuals are born with a genetic predisposition toward psoriasis, which is "triggered" into the clinical manifestation of the disease by stressors, such as systemic infections, injury to the skin, vaccinations, and certain medications.Flare-ups of the symptoms are often preceded by stressful events.
Whatever the source of the illness, the outcome is a growth of too many skin cells.The immune system may play a role in triggering excessive skin cell reproduction which produces the psoriatic lesions.
COURSE OF PSORIASIS
The course of psoriasis is highly variable. Symptoms may come and go, but usually do return.On average, the onset of psoriasis occurs at about 22 years of age.However, it may be seen at birth and as late in age as 90. From a medical perspective, psoriasis is generally considered to be a lifelong, incurable illness.Yet, some individuals with psoriasis experience spontaneous remissions.
THE TREATMENT OF PSORIASIS
Because medical treatment does not cure psoriasis, therapies are directed at symptom management.Topical (external) and systemic (internal) treatment provide varying degrees of temporary relief that can clear psoriasis for periods of time.Treatment is often expensive and time consuming.Experimentation may be required to determine an effective treatment for each individual.A vast array of therapies, including medicines, ointments, creams, lotions, and phototherapy are used with varying success. However, these interventions can be cosmetically unpleasant and make the patient vulnerable to additional health risks.
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE ON PSORIASIS
The Edgar Cayce readings, while recognizing the wide variability associated with psoriasis, consistently maintain that this disease most often can be traced back to problems with eliminations. Many of the readings on psoriasis refer to a "thinning" of the walls of the intestines, particularly in the area of the upper small intestine between the duodenum and the jejunum.According to the readings, substances can "leak" out of the intestine and be picked up by blood and lymph circulation.
The body has four primary routes of eliminating toxins from the body: the colon, kidneys, lungs, and skin.In psoriasis, the other eliminating routes are not able to completely eliminate the toxicity.Thus, the skin pathology associated with psoriasis represents the body's desperate attempt to cleanse itself.
Here is an exemplary excerpt from the Cayce readings on psoriasis, which describes the intestinal pathology and the treatments to heal it.
"Q.Please give me the cause and cure for the so-called psoriasis with which I am troubled.
"A.The cause is the thinning of the walls of the intestinal system, which allows the escaping of poisons - or the absorption of same by the muco-membranes which surround same, and becomes effective in the irritation through the lymph and emunctory reactions in the body.
"An effective cure for same is first being mindful of the diet, during the periods when these necessary elements would be given for creating those activities within the system to close such conditions:
"In the system we would use elm water and saffron water.These would be taken in the ordinary drinking water, during periods of one, two to three weeks at a time.All the drinking water, carrying, then, either a small quantity of elm or the Saffron.For this adds to the assimilating system those properties that become effective to the aiding of building within the system itself those conditions that will overcome such activities in the system.
"The diet during such periods should be more of vegetables than of meats or sweets, so that there are those reactions that make for better unification in the membranes' reaction within the body."(289-1)
EDGAR CAYCE'S THERAPEUTIC MODEL
Edgar Cayce's therapeutic approach to psoriasis is summarized in the following excerpt:
"The conditions that exist through the thinning of the walls of the intestines allow the poisons to find expressions in the lymph circulation; thus producing the irritation to and through the epidermis itself....
"Q.Is there an absolute cure for psoriasis?
"A.Most of this is found in diet.There is a cure. It requires patience, persistence - and right thinking also." (2455-2)
Consistent with the above quote, the treatment suggestions in the Cayce readings rely heavily on patient, persistent application of dietary recommendations and a positive, expectant mental attitude toward healing.The rationale of treatment is to decrease the amount of toxicity in the intestines, improve general eliminations, and heal the "thinned walls" of the intestines.Also, the cause of the thinned intestinal walls needs to be addressed.
Here is a basic treatment protocol for psoriasis:
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily, enemas or colonic irrigations, and cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- HEALING OF THE INTESTINES: Herbal teas were recommended in the readings to assist with healing the gut.Typically, the slippery elm bark tea is taken in the morning before breakfast and the American yellow saffron tea is used in the evening.
- DIET AND NUTRITION: The Cayce diet for psoriasis is basically fresh fruits and vegetables.Certain foods (which tend to increase intestinal toxicity) must be eliminated from the diet.Taboo items include red meat, fried foods, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, and dairy products that are not low fat.Dr. John Pagano has also identified the nightshade group of vegetables(tomatoes, tobacco, eggplant, peppers, white potatoes, and paprika) as particularly harmful for persons with psoriasis.
- SPINAL ADJUSTMENT: One of the primary causes of thinned intestinal walls identified by Edgar Cayce are problems with the spine. Pressures on certain spinal nerves (particularly the mid-dorsal area) can compromise the nerve energy to the intestinal tract.Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment can help correct the misalignment of spinal vertebrae and improve nerve functioning.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are very important.Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is essential ("right thinking").Positive mental attitude is necessary for following this healing regimen. Doubt (or lack of conviction) will make it almost impossible to stick with the dietary and cleansing treatments, which are a lifestyle adjustment for most individuals.A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (ideal) for being healed.