The ABCs of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an Autoimmune Disease and an inflammatory skin condition characterized by frequent episodes of redness, itching, and thick, dry, silvery scales in discrete patches on the skin. It’s most commonly seen on the trunk, elbows, knees, scalp, skin folds, or fingernails, but it may affect any or all parts of the skin. When the patches are on the scalp and in body fold areas, the skin is often itchy, but some people with Psoriasis do not feel itchy at all. 

In Psoriasis, patches grow much quicker than normal skin. Normally, the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) grows continuously from its outer surface, and a new layer is reformed each month. In Psoriasis, the skin reforms a complete layer every 3-4 days, so that extra skin sheds in scales. This process is similar to the healing of the Epidermis after an injury – except that normal skin knows when to slow down and Psoriasis skin does not.

The main problem caused by these patches is the scaly shedding leaving a red and raw looking surface underneath. It can be visible on the hands, arms, legs, back, abdominal area and even the genitalia. Psoriasis can show up in the scalp and the neck, particularly behind the ears which can make it nearly impossible to hide during daily life interactions. Psoriasis sufferers can have a difficult time trying to camouflage this condition. Self esteem issues can arise while trying to hide, treat and cope with this Autoimmune Disease.

Psoriasis is not infectious in any way. It cannot be transferred to other people by any form of contact. Of course this does not stop people from worrying about Psoriasis if they see it, fearing that it may infect them. Because of this stigma the disease comes with, or lack of others understanding this disease, it can leave the Psoriasis sufferers feeling isolated. This can negatively impact their self confidence which can carry over into their relationships with others. 

The Five Types of Psoriasis 

1) Plague – The most common of all. In this type, patches are raised, reddish skin covered by silvery- white scales that appear on almost all body parts. 

2) Guttate – Small red spots appear on the skin. 

3) Pustular – White pustules surrounded by red skin appears on the skin. 

4) Inverse – Smooth red lesions are formed in the folds of the skin. 

5) Erythrodermic – There is itching, pain and redness of the skin. 

Theories On The Cause of Psoriasis 

-Heredity

-Severe emotional stress

-Abnormality in the metabolism of proteins and amino acids

-Various infections

-Food Allergies/intolerances-this may include Gluten

-Inflammation 

Psoriasis: Digestion, Infection, Arthritis and Liver Function

Dyspepsia / Poor Digestion: Incomplete protein digestion or poor intestinal absorption of protein breakdown products can result in elevated levels of amino acids and polypeptides in the bowel. These are metabolized by bowel bacteria into several toxic compounds. The toxic metabolites of the amino acids have been shown to be increased in individuals with Psoriasis. Polyamines contribute to the excessive rate of cell proliferation. Lowered skin and urinary levels of Polyamines are associated with clinical improvement in Psoriasis, so digestive function should be evaluated and could be key. 

Yeast / Candida Infection: A number of gut-derived toxins are implicated in the development of Psoriasis including Endotoxins (cell wall components of gram-negative bacteria), streptococcal products, Candida Albicans, yeast compounds, and IgE or IgA immune complexes. These compounds increase the rate of skin cell proliferation dramatically. Chronic Candidiasis may play a major role in many cases.

Psoriatic Arthritis: Approximately 1 person in 20 suffering from Psoriasis can experience joint troubles, with a degree of arthritis affecting the back, and large or small joints of the body. This Arthritis is rare, but worth looking into if you have Psoriasis and an aching spine or joints. 

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement: Correcting abnormal Liver function is of great benefit in the treatment of Psoriasis. The connection between the Liver and Psoriasis relates to one of the Liver’s basic tasks (filtering and detoxifying the blood). Psoriasis has been linked to the presence of several microbial byproducts in the blood. If the Liver is overwhelmed by excessive levels of these toxins in the bowel, or if there is a decrease in the liver’s detoxification ability, the toxin levels in the blood can increase and the Psoriasis can get worse. 

Biologic Drug Treatment Options

These medicines target the Immune System response that causes the symptoms of Psoriasis. Medications can have both short and long-term effects on the body, all of which should be carefully examined. Several drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Psoriasis and are approved for the treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis, but may be trigger some negative side effects. Side effects can include problems with the Liver, as well as other organs, and a compromised Immune System. Serious infections have been reported with people taking these types of medications such as Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B, and infections caused by bacteria and fungi that can spread throughout the body. These meds may increase the chance of getting a Lupus-like Syndrome as well as Lymphoma and other types of Cancers. Fillers and dyes used in the pills, along with enteric coatings can also exacerbate Psoriasis if the person is sensitive to certain chemicals.

Alternative Treatments

As always, check with your doctor and holistic practitioner before entering into any alternative healing program. 

1)      Coconut Oil – An antibacterial and antifungal agent. Some practitioners recommend 1 teaspoon ingested 2x’s daily or used topically (on the skin). 

2)      Colloidal Silver Liquid – 100 ppm (parts per million). An antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral treatment. Some have found a ½ oz daily dose helpful or as suggested by your healthcare practitioner. 

3)      Vitamin E  – Studies have shown that 200-800 IU’s have been helpful and may reduce itching. 

4)      Cayenne Pepper – In a double-blind study, application of a Capsaicin Cream to the skin helped relieve both the itching and the skin lesions in people with Psoriasis. 

5)      A Healthy Fat/High Fiber Diet – A “moderate” diet is best in coping with Psoriasis, without an excess of rich, fatty, starchy or spicy foods, or alcohol. Using healthy fats is recommended. 

6)      EPA (Eicosapentanoic Acid) – Several double-blind clinical studies have demonstrated that supplementing the diet with EPA, equivalent to a small volume of mackerel or herring, resulted in a significant improvement. Keep in mind that the presence of DHA in fish oil may reduce the effectiveness of the EPA. A high EPA, organic fish oil is recommended. 

7)      Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been recognized to improve some of the important abnormalities present in Psoriasis skin, but ingestion of even only slightly above the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D can lead to problems with Calcium metabolism in the body (possible kidney stones and irregular heart beats). 

8)      Lecithin – Some study subjects have shown improvement using this daily. 

9)      Omega Supplement – Individuals with Psoriasis have been found to be deficient in Omega 3. Omega 3 fats and minimizing sources of Arachadonic Acid (Omega 6) in the diet may help reduce inflammation and the Psoriasis. There is a delicate balance between these 2 types of Omegas. 

10)  Zinc – Zinc deficiencies have been found in people with Psoriasis. Also a Zinc deficiency can cause slow wound/skin healing. Taking a powdered Zinc supplement mixed into water could be beneficial and is easily absorbable. This is key for people with Psoriasis since many have a compromised digestive system, which may include a sluggish liver. 

11)  Probiotics – To replace healthy bacteria in the gut. There are many types available, however, refrigerated probiotics with a bacterial count in excess of 13 billion are best. 

12)  Liver & Gallbladder Detox – This can be a useful but complex process. Work with a well-credentialed Naturopath Doctor or other qualified healthcare professional for the directions and practice of this. 

13)  Colonics – Colon Hydrotherapy is a more extended form of colon cleansing. This cleansing procedure removes feces, retained gas and mucus due to insufficient mastication (chewing), as well as metals, and existing parasites and infectious material. In addition, the filtered water bathes the cells of the colon and dilutes bacterial toxin concentrations. Therapeutic effects of the bathing process with an alternating temperature of the inflowing water results in improved tone and peristalsis, promoting optimal absorption of nutrients from the Cecum and Ascending Colon. Colon Hydrotherapy is not proposed as a cure-all, but an important adjunctive approach in the overall health of the client. 

14)  Psychotherapy – The use of a qualified therapist has been extremely helpful in many cases. Emotional stress can cause “flare-ups” as well as blockages in the various parts of the body. By addressing and releasing past and painful memories, it allows the mind, body and spirit to be rebalanced. Focus topics can be unconditional love, courage, forgiveness of oneself, and others, compassion, patience, and acceptance. 

15)  Low Intensity Exercise – Examples like weightlifting, biking, yoga & walking that focus on frequency rather than intensity. Sweating can be very uncomfortable for people with Psoriasis and may sting the skin surface. Qi Gong and Tai Chi can be beneficial for cleansing/detoxifying as well as having a meditation component for relaxation and focus. 

16)  Reiki/Energy Healing – Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is a Japanese word representing “Universal Life Energy,” which is called “Chi” or “Ki” in Martial Arts or “Prana” in Yoga.  The art and science of balancing and healing the body, mind, emotions and spirit. The treatment takes place on a massage table in a quiet room while soft, soothing music is played. The practitioner places their hands very gently above and on designated areas of the client’s body, starting at the head. Their hands remain on each position for as long as is needed. The client remains fully clothed; there is very light pressure on the body and no manipulation. Some benefits of Reiki treatment are the release of physical tension and mental/emotional stress, detoxification, dissolving of energy blocks, balanced energetic systems, and enhanced immunity. It also helps to change negative thought patterns into positive ones & can help heal injuries and relieve pain. Reiki is used in hospitals to comfort patients and add to their overall wellness. Reiki treatments are offered at Spas, Wellness Centers & Medical Facilities all over the world. 

17)  Phototherapy – Regular exposure to the sun or artificial ultraviolet lights can cause Psoriasis symptoms to subside. Approaches include UVB (exposure to ultraviolet B light) and PUVA (exposure to UVA combined with the drug psoralen, which increases the light sensitivity of the skin). Newer techniques include lasers, which are a means of giving a highly concentrated UVB light exposure to a small area. 

18)  Infrared Sauna Therapy – The lights and heat detoxify and stimulate the Immune System. Allowing the capillaries to dilate improves circulation, thus stress levels are reduced. 

Conclusion

It is important for someone suffering with Psoriasis to first take responsibility for their own well-being and become their own health/wellness advocate. The patient should look at the pros and cons of each medication and alternative treatments, and discuss them all with experts before making any big decisions. For many, a combination or complementary approach will be best. 

Through educating themselves about this Autoimmune Disease, learning to read their own body and trusting their intuition when making important decisions, Psoriasis sufferers can move closer toward the relief of their pain and suffering. Eliminating unnecessary stresses, being at peace with themselves, and being assertive when it comes to questions and treatments, leads to empowerment and true healing on all levels.

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Thriving Through Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain is now classified as a disease. It is very sad that many of us suffer each day with Migraines, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease (affecting joints & muscles), along with Autoimmune Diseases that cause debilitating pain affecting all aspects of our lives.

Chronic Pain is a complex subject.

Many physicians, by the nature of their practice, do not specialize in pain management. Some doctors may dismiss our claims because they can’t actually see our pain in physical examinations or within test results. To make matters worse, many patients go to the doctor to get pain scripts for powerful meds when not absolutely necessary. This is often obvious to Physicians and may understandably impact their attitude toward all of us, as a population, making it tougher on those who truly need assistance.

Also, many people suffering from Chronic Pain become depressed from the constant stress that comes along with unrelenting pain. These people may be misdiagnosed as clinically depressed and prescribed antidepressants, which may mask the symptoms, but may not necessarily address the root cause or help with long-term pain management. As a woman, I can speak from experience on this next point. Sometimes women are stereotyped as “weak” or “complainers”. Interesting enough, many women are more in tune with their bodies than men and have a much greater tolerance for Chronic Pain.

The short of it all – never give up! There are solutions.     

As a Wellness Coach and Health Advocate, I team with my clients to help them identify the root cause of their pain, by assessing them on many different levels. I look at every area of their lives, their physical and emotional challenges, and also screen them for specific vitamin, mineral, and other nutritional deficiencies which can be linked to chronic pain. If necessary, I help match them with the best Pain Management Doctor for their particular issues. I research their pain management training and how supportive they are of alternative options of treatment as opposed to only prescribing medications, to ease the patient’s suffering.

Client education is critical. My clients learn how to effectively communicate with their doctors, with confidence. Patient Empowerment is my number one focus with clients. Asking the right questions, getting the right answers, taking notes and reflecting back on the experience to improve upon future visits, are all critical components. Questions like, “How long should it take to experience relief?” and “What is the total cost of the treatment?” before getting started down a particular path. Of course, this is often a daunting challenge, when out-of-your-mind in pain. Teaming with a Wellness Coach can help keep your train on the tracks, when you’re not at your best.

Educating ourselves, with alternative methods such as Acupuncture, Medical Massage, exercise and Reiki, is an important step. Options such as these, perhaps in combination with traditional Western medicine, can be the difference between “surviving” and “thriving”. Emotional pain should be considered and is often linked to the physical pain. Our bodies carry around memories from the past which can affect us in the present. Working with a Therapist or a Hypnotherapist to address the subconscious element has been known to bring about positive results.

Chronic Pain should be examined and treated on a body, mind, and spirit level for the best possible results. Whether teaming with a qualified, experienced coach or going it alone, please educate yourself, keep an open mind to various options, organize your thoughts and plan your approach in advance of your doctor visits, and take action from a position of confidence…and never, ever give up.

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Understanding Functional Medicine

A primary focus of Allopathy (Traditional) medicine is to diagnose and “label” diseases. There are over 12,000 diseases and they are categorized according to a person’s test results and symptoms. They focus on the “what.” Functional Medicine looks at the “why.” Why did this happen in the first place? Some typical causes of Dis-Ease are toxins, allergens, infections, malnutrition and stress. 

Functional Medicine doesn’t treat just one symptom. It’s approach addresses everything, because everything about us is connected. Just like the mind, body and spirit of a person. All the things that we see as separate diseases are all connected by the same underlying mechanisms. We need to look for these patterns in our own personal data. Surveys show 81% of Americans take at least one medication a day. Meds are not the only solution. For example, before starting on a long-term regimen of antidepressants, consider the following. Depression is a diagnosis or “label.” What is the root cause of your depression? Could it be a combination of complex causes? Here are some examples of root causes behind common ailments that we often opt to medicate, without deeper consideration: 

Do you have a sensitivity to Gluten which can fuel Autoimmune Disease and lead to Thyroid dysfunction? Explore the many Gluten-free food choices now available at your local grocery store. 

Are you taking an acid blocker for acid reflux? Acid Blockers can cause Vitamin B12 from being absorbed, leading to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and low energy. Consider dietary adjustments and stress management. 

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?  Depending on your climate and your diet, you may have a deficiency leading to low moods and muscle weakness. Supplements, proper diet and 15 minutes a day in the Sun can “keep the doctor away.” 

Do you frequently take Antibiotics? Long term use of Antibiotics can lead to inflammation in the gut which can lead to Systemic Inflammation in the brain and mind-fog. Proper hygiene, hydration, diet and regular exercise can boost your immune system and help you avoid illness, reducing the need for antibiotics. 

Do you love to eat Sushi? Mercury poisoning may become a factor in your health. Get checked for metal toxicity. There are treatments called Chelation Therapy to remedy this, before this issue fuels various medical conditions. 

Do you love sweets and consume lots of refined sugar? Insulin Resistance can lead to anxiety and depression. Organic Xylitol made from Birch trees as a substitute, not over-eating, and mini-meals throughout the day can help balance your blood sugar levels (and your energy level and mood). 

What painful memories from your past remain unresolved? These can impact judgment, stress management, and contribute to various medical conditions. Consider talk therapy or spiritual guidance to address the root cause, before physical manifestations slow you down and make you ill. 

What is your present state-of-mind right now? What stresses you? Have you looked at ways of addressing these, to come up with a plan of action and make positive changes in your life, BEFORE illness takes hold and meds are required? 

Do you play? Do you participate in positive activities that are good for your spirit and allow you to be creative and release stress. Dancing, drumming, walking are examples of things that produce “feel good” chemical reactions in the brain that are natural antidepressants and increase mental and physical energy. 

Do you surround yourself with positive people who are loving, accepting and compassionate? Energy can heal or it may “hurt”. Be mindful of your emotional environment. Avoid energy “vampires” and think positive thoughts to avoid negative repercussions. 

Do you have a pet? There have been studies that show people who own pets have happier and healthier lives. Re-focusing the attention on a pet or loved one, can help you regain perspective on yourself and the world around you. 

Do you spend outdoors breathing in fresh air and connecting with nature? Do you live where there is pollution? Connecting regularly to the Earth can be both rejuvenating and healing, on a mind, body and spirit level. 

Before you take medications and settle for being labeled with a disease, step back and look at the “why” did this happen and consider the Functional Medicine mindset. As a Health and Wellness Coach, I fully support and follow the Functional Medicine approach that everything about the person must be looked at and the “whole person” must be treated for true, long-term healing to occur.

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The Importance of Intuition in Life, Work and Total Wellness

As a Wellness Coach, when teaming with my clients, I actively listen, collect data, use my intellect and often most importantly pay attention to my gut instinct or intuition. Intuition is a potent inner wisdom that goes beyond the linear mind. I use my intuitive abilities to complement hard science and my medical background to develop a wellness treatment plan best suited to that particular client. By exercising this blend, I can offer my clients the best of both worlds. Why is intuition so important? Who really believes this stuff? In recent years, the worth of intuition has been recognized more and more in general business and leadership. The Harvard Business Review indicates that nearly half of corporate executives now rely on instinct instead of just facts and figures to run their companies. Forbes magazine calls intuition “the golden gut.” Luminaries from Conrad Hilton to Bill Gates to Oprah have declared it essential for success. In fact, Donald Trump has stated “I’ve built a multibillion-dollar empire by using my intuition.” Intuition is our universal legacy, a language that everyone can learn. I often teach my clients how to listen to what their gut tells them. Never underestimate the power of your intuition. Take time out to slow down and listen to your inner voice. Exercise, spiritual practice, Yoga , and meditation are great ways to develop your intuition. Often times the answers you seek are already there, hidden just behind the noise of daily life.

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Jack LaLanne: Farewell My Superhero

Many kids look up to a Superhero. I’d like to take a moment and pay tribute to a man who laid out the foundation for health and wellness and still is a personal superhero hero to me. I can remember as a little girl watching black and white exercise shows, wide-eyed in amazement, seeing this 5’6″ man perform all types of exercises and stunts using a dining room chair. He was lean yet powerful, friendly, confident and kind. Intuitively, I knew I wanted to be like him. He wore no fancy costume, his powers involved making wellness his permanent lifestyle by choice and being self-disciplined. He rescued others by inspiring and teaching them. Mission accomplished Jack. Fitness icon Jack Lalanne a man who pushed Americans to pump iron, eat better and lose weight for more than 70 years, has died. He was 96. The “godfather of fitness” died of respiratory failure from pneumonia in his Morro Bay California home several weeks ago, his long time agent Rick Hersh told The Associated Press. LaLanne underwent a successful heart valve surgery two years ago and bounced back as strong and active as ever. LaLanne started watching how he lived at the age of 15. Born Francois Henri LaLanne in San Francisco (his parents were French immigrants), he felt the effects of sugar and bleached flour in his diet. After hearing a health lecture, he devoted his life to following a diet of raw, unprocessed foods. His dietary routine: two meals a day and no snacks. He was also known for his extreme fitness stunts. The body-building fanatic churned out 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the television show “You Asked for it” at age 43, in 1957. LaLanne was a fitness pioneer. He focused on weight-training at a time when the idea of pumping iron was not so acceptable, especially for women. “You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights. It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out,” he once said. “Athletic trainers believed bulking up would slow athletes down and women were supposed to look curvy and feminine, not athletic and toned. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights. I guess I was a pioneer,” LaLanne said. He became a household name after he launched a televised exercise program in the 1950s that aired until the 1970s. He would forever after be known for his dedication to healthy living and his signature one-piece belted workout suit. “This is a nation of tired people,” he said, in an effort to encourage people to exercise. “Everyone is suffering from that chroinc disease that I like to call pooped-out-itis. Inactivity is a killer,” LaLanne once said. “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it and I never think about my age, never. I could be 20, I could be 100. I never think about it, I’m just me,” LaLanne said in 1990. At age 60, noted The New York Times he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf while pulling a 1,000-pound boat – and while handcuffed. At 70, shackled again, he pulled 70 people in 70 boats 1½ miles through Long Beach Harbor. As for keeping body and soul together, “It’s got to start with young kids,” LaLanne told PEOPLE magazine. When discussing young people going through emotional and physical problems, he said “They need to develop pride and discipline and watch what they put into their bodies,” or as he put it: the right fuel in the machine. As he liked to say, “I can’t die. It would ruin my image.” LaLanne opened the nation’s first modern health club in California’s Oakland, in 1936, and it featured exercise equipment, a juice bar and health food store. Eventually this developed into a 100-strong Jack LaLanne gym chain across the country. He would also market a highly successful juicer. Check out: www.powerjuicer.com. His syndicated The Jack LaLanne Show, which opened with his performing jumping jacks under the credits in his signature belted jumpsuits, debuted in daytime in 1959 and ran for 34 years, solidifying his reputation. After more than 3,000 shows, LaLanne, who owned all rights, repackaged the program and leased it to ESPN Classic. LaLanne is survived by his wife and workout partner Elaine, his two sons Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne. “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for,” Elaine LaLanne said in a statement. The two had been married for 51 years. Rest in peace my Legend & Superhero. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to making a difference. You did and will continue to for generations to come. You have impacted this world in such a positive way, you have no idea.

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Hormone Management for Women

Our body’s hormone balance is very delicate. Throughout our lives, our hormone levels increase and decrease. They even fluctuate at different times of the day and night. Too much or too little, at any point in time, can dramatically affect our overall quality of life. Proper levels are important for our daily coping, productivity, and long-term emotional, mental, and bodily health. Some individuals may be perimenopausal and menopausal, and not even know it. Individualized Hormone Replacement Therapy* or HRT is something you may benefit from. I recognize that HRT should not be “one size fits all” and that every person has a unique blueprint that is just right for them. I know that people may become overwhelmed when learning about HRT and confused about what to do next to improve their situation. I can personally relate to these challenges myself. Can you? Are you interested in learning more about HRT and other approaches to hormone management?

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