Western medicine has yet to clearly identify the cause of psoriasis, but evidence is growing that psoriasis is likely caused by systemic factors including immune system factors and stress factors; this new view is quickly replacing the view of psoriasis as a simple skin disorder where cells reproduce unchecked. In Chinese medicine, all disorders have a root imbalance, and the immune system is just one of the systems and strategies recognized by Chinese medicine; this is likely why TCM is so effective at addressing psoriasis.
Psoriasis due to Wind Heat
Plaque psoriasis presents with lesions that are red at the base and covered by silvery scales that are very itchy with this type of Wind-Heat psoriasis. Internal Heat can begin to affect the Blood Level as it worsens and becomes more chronic, Internal-Wind develops.
Psoriasis due to Blood Heat
Erythrodermic psoriasis is indicated with widespread reddening and easy scaling of the skin. Activity leading to overheating of the body often triggers this type of psoriasis with a worsening condition of ‘Blood Thick’ and Blood Stagnation in Chinese medicine.
Psoriasis Due to Damp-Heat
Inverse psoriasis presents with elements of Spleen Qi Deficiency and Internal Dampness with smooth, red patches that generally develop in folds of the skin around the genitals, under the breasts, or in armpits as well as other areas that become damp with sweat. Another Damp-Heat type of psoriasis is Pustular psoriasis where blisters of pus appear on the skin; this is often triggered by medications, infections, stress, or exposure to chemicals.
Metal Element Lung Deficiency Leading to Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis lesions are small, drop-shaped lesions that appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is most often triggered by upper respiratory infections due to weak Lung Qi according to Chinese medicine.
Skin Problems and TCM
Skin inflammation and disorders can be caused by hundreds of different conditions, so diagnosing skin condition requires an examination of skin sells under a microscope in contemporary western medicine. For the Chinese medical practitioner, diagnosing skin ailments depends on the presenting symptoms and signs of imbalance in the body. Because Traditional Chinese medical techniques (TCM) and herbal medicines can address the root of the imbalance causing skin problems, TCM is very effective at alleviating them.
The causes of all skin issues according to Chinese medicine is an energetic imbalance in the Metal Element, as the Metal Element governs over the Lungs, Large Intestines, sinuses and skin. It is not uncommon to see adults, who had asthma as a child which was not addressed properly or suppressed, and who now have chronic psoriasis or eczema; according to Chinese medical theory, the two are directly related. Likewise, the ‘Law of Natural Healing’ requires that in resolving skin disorders, the original imbalance (asthma in this case that was suppressed with steroids) will likely resurface and have to be addressed; what may be seen as regressing is actually progressing in TCM, as the goal is to address the root imbalances of any disorder and bring balance for true wellness.