Psoriasis According to Chinese Medicine (4 of 4: Disharmony of the Ren and Chong Vessels)
I know what you are asking: What the heck are the Chong and Ren Vessels? (and what do they have to do with psoriasis?)
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the energy (Qi) in the body circulates through a network of vessels (also called “channels” or “meridians”). The Chong and Ren vessels are particularly important in woman’s health because fertility and the menstrual cycle depend on the flow of Qi and Blood through these channels. In women whose psoriasis seems to be related to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy or childbirth, there is probably Disharmony in the Ren and Chong Vessels. (This pattern of disharmony is not exclusive to women, but it is much less common and less obvious to diagnose in men).
In this pattern, the psoriasis lesions often appear before pregnancy but disappear during pregnancy only to reappear after giving birth. In some patients, the condition becomes aggravated before the period (or possibly immediately after). The lesions are typically bright or pale red with silvery scales. They are widely distributed over the body. Itching is usually not as severe as in other patterns. Accompanying signs and symptoms can include PMS, painful or irregular periods, general malaise, or dizziness. The tongue can vary but usually will be red or purplish with a thin coating. I might also suspect this pattern in women who are perimenopausal or when there are fluctuations in hormone levels that seem to affect the psoriasis. This pattern can combine with other TCM patterns, too.
The four TCM patterns related to common psoriasis that I have discussed in these recent posts are not the only possible pattern differentiations for this stubborn skin ailment. But they are the most common ones encountered in the clinic. You may have more than one pattern present at the same time or your condition may phase from one pattern to another over time. Other forms of psoriasis (pustular, erythrodermic and psoriatic arthritis) will have different TCM patterns associated with them and they can be more complex to treat. Don’t fool yourself: no form of psoriasis will be cured by applying topical treatments (well, I suppose I can’t rule out miracles, but…). So it is important to get a clear diagnosis from your dermatologist and if you seek out complimentary care, your TCM practitioner will most likely prescribe an internal herbal formula. In the next blog entry we will cover some helpful things you can do for yourself to manage your psoriasis. If you have some tips that you are already doing that seem to help, I would love to hear about it – email me or post a comment below…
Publish Date: July 9, 2010 *Articles may include updates since original publishing.