Psoriasis
36 Case Studies
20 Member Stories
6 Research

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells, and got its name from the Greek word meaning,'itch'. It induces cells to build up quickly on the surface of the skin. The excess skin cells form scales and red patches which are itchy and sometimes painful. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that often goes and comes. The main objective of treatment is to block the skin cells from growing so fast. [1]


Psoriasis is an obstinate skin condition in which red patches of various sizes develop on the skin that is covered with dry, silvery scales. In psoriasis the skin becomes inflamed and red eruptions appear on the surface of the skin that starts to itch excessively. These regions form thickened areas that are covered with silvery scales over the reddened lesions. The skin at the joints may crack.There's no cure for psoriasis, but you can manage the symptoms. Lifestyle measures like moisturizing, not smoking, and lowering stress, may help.

How does Yoga help Psoriasis?

Does the  scaly, red, painful patches on your skin destroying your physical appearance and  harming your inner peace? Can yoga therapy will be helpful to get a naturally healthy and beautiful skin? Practicing yoga asanas can actually prove to be a better treatment therapy when it comes to treating Psoriasis.  


Stress is a known risk factor or trigger for many illnesses, and psoriasis is just the same. Stress can lead to psoriasis flare-ups, and psoriasis flare-ups can cause stress. But rather than becoming caught up in this vicious cycle, you could kill two birds with one stone: find relief for the stress and the skin disease through the practice of yoga.


When you think about psoriasis, you might think of the scaly, painful patches it causes. You probably don't consider stress. But it's a well-known fact that managing stress plays an important role in managing this skin condition. Psoriasis can have a substantial psychological and psychosocial impact on a patient's quality of life. It is a chronic, recurrent, cutaneous condition affecting around 1-2% of people all over the world.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results due to the overactive immune system that In turn speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It is characterized by symptoms that include and thick, silvery-white or red patches of skin that appear flaky and swollen due to inflammation. There are many factors involved behind the generation of psoriasis, and the most important factor includes stress that in turn gives rise to a variety of disorders like dysthymia, depression, and anxiety, especially in patients with psoriasis.


The basic treatment regimens include steroid-based creams, calcitriol, coal-tar ointments and shampoos, retinoids, all of which tend to provide symptomatic relief from the psoriatic skin condition. However, there are other treatment strategies one can follow to get rid of Psoriasis which involve stress-reduction strategies, such as meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda. There is a connection between psoriasis and stress, especially relating to psychosocial, psychological, and emotional stress. Yoga involves a holistic approach to skin diseases involving not only calming your mind but also have cutaneous effects related to psychological stress.


 One may have heard about yoga having a plethora of benefits when performed regularly, but have you ever noticed a person’s skin who has inculcated yoga in their daily life? Their skin looks naturally beautiful, healthy, and glowing. Yoga as a therapy for good skin involves detoxifying your body from harmful toxins that steal away your glow and make your skin look dry and dull. It also promotes healthy circulation throughout your body and nourishes your skin. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that is aggravated to stress reaction, and yoga provides long term benefits in dealing with psoriasis by limiting these stressors that have been found to alter skin disorders condition such as psoriasis.

Best yoga asanas for Psoriasis

Practicing yoga asanas is found to be beneficial in increasing the blood circulation to the head and face area. Whereas, certain postures like inverted yoga poses can help fight stress by stimulating the nervous system, bringing more oxygen and blood flow to the brain, and upregulating the energy levels.


List of yoga asanas for Psoriasis-

1.     Deep Breathing/Bikram Yoga/ Pranayama

Stand straight with your feet close together, and arms in the air over your head, and face posing straight. Then slowly bend your elbows and bring them together beneath your chin, with your palms open and facing opposite sides. It looks as if you are supporting your chin on both your hands. Exhale and inhale deeply and slowly in this position for about 10-15 times. One can perform this pose while sitting on the floor in a yogic posture.

Benefits: Breathing practices can fill your body with fresh air, and transports oxygen to the deeper tissues which in turn purifies your blood and boosts your circulation. It helps calm your mind, relieves stress, and detoxifies your body.

2.     Child’s Pose/ Balasana

Sit down on your yoga mat with your knees bent and bow your head down with your arms overhead and the palms on the floor. While in this pose try to breathe in and breathe out deeply, and repeat the posture at least 2-3 times. 

Benefits – It is a pose of yoga for Psoriatic arthritis in which there is a good amount of stretch in the hips, knees, ankles, and thighs. It reduces stress and fatigue, calms, and soothes the brain, it can also help relieve neck and back pain.

 3.     Salutation Seal / Anjali mudra

This is a very simple yoga posture that includes sitting on your yoga mat cross-legged, and bringing your palms together, firmly pressing against each other with both your thumbs gently pushing into your sternum. While into this position on should take deep breaths and feel the peace in your mind for a few minutes. There are variations in this pose which involve sun salutation and enchanting ‘OM’ word while breathing.

 Benefits – Reduce mental stress like anxiety, depression and also improves flexibility by promoting stretch and improves  blood circulation in the fingers, wrists, arms, and hands.

 4.     Twisted seated pose

 Twisted seated pose starts with sitting on a mat cross-legged, and your hands kept on sides. Breathing deeply and slowly bringing your left hand on your right thigh by twisting your torso. Hold onto this position for thirty seconds and then do the same with next side.

Benefits: This pose helps cleanse the organs by promoting blood circulation to deeper tissues. Structural benefits include strengthening of the musculoskeletal system and also improve consciousness.

5.     Corpse pose

Corpse Pose, also known as Savasana involves lying down on your back and eyes closed, and hands-on either side of the body. It involves relaxing your body and mind and removing all the negative thoughts.

 Benefits:  Helps relax your body muscles, calms the brain, reduces blood pressure, and helps relieve stress and mild depression.

Some other poses that can do wonders to your skin, if practiced regularly may include Headstand Pose, shoulder stand pose, Sarvangasana,  Dhanurasana, Plough Pose, Marichyasana, The Cobra Pose, and The Camel Yoga Pose

Scientific Studies in Yoga for Psoriasis

1. Although meditation and yoga have been used for stress reduction with reported improvement in inflammation, little is known about the biological mechanisms mediating such effects. A March 2013 study study study examined if a yogic meditation might alter the activity of inflammatory and antiviral pest management pathways which form immune cell gene expression. They confirmed that a short daily yogic meditation intervention could reverse the pattern of increased NF-κB-related transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreased IRF1-related transcription of innate antiviral response genes previously observed in healthy people confronting a significant life stressor. [2]


2. Stress and quality of life in psoriasis: an update.[3].

As previously discussed, increased levels of stress can aggravate psoriasis by activating the immune system. Stress reaction can cause immunologic effects in patients with psoriasis which is regulated by the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It involves increased levels of autonomic neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Yoga is known to produce a significant effect in ameliorating the endocrine, autonomic, and psychological changes that are brought about by any type of stress. 


3. Research named ‘Effect of integrated yoga practices on immune responses in examination stress - A preliminary study.[4]

In this study,  sixty medical students were included to evaluate the effect of integrated yoga practices on immune responses due to examination stress. They were randomly assigned to two groups, each group containing 30 students. One group underwent integrated yoga practices daily for 35 minutes. Whereas, the other group was a control group and did not receive any treatment. The duration of the treatment lasted for around 12 weeks. Physiological parameters like respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure were measured along with anxiety score and serum cortisol levels at baseline and during the examination. Psychological stress was found to be a highly significant difference in the control group compared with the yoga group. The results found showed that Yoga can resist the autonomic changes and impaired cellular immunity in individuals with stress.

References

1.    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840

2. David S.Black, Steve W.Cole, Michael R.Irwin, Elizabeth Breena, Natalie M.St. Cyrb, Nora Nazarian, Dharma S.Khalsa, HelenLavretsky

Yogic meditation reverses NF-κB and IRF-related transcriptome dynamics in leukocytes of family dementia caregivers in a randomized controlled trial

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.06.011

3. Basavaraj KH1, Navya MA, Rashmi R. Stress and quality of life in psoriasis: an update. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Jul;50(7):783-92. 

4.     Aravind Gopal, Sunita Mondal, Asha Gandhi, Sarika Arora, and Jayashree Bhattacharjee Effect of integrated yoga practices on immune responses in examination stress - A preliminary study. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jan-Jun; 4(1): 26–32.

5.  Satyapal Singh1 , J. S. Tripathi , N. P. Rai.Potential application of yoga therapy in psoriasis. WJpps. Volume 4, Issue 10, 1959-1966 

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