In their 1998 research, “Influence of a Mindfulness Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Intervention on Rates of Skin Clearing in Patients with Moderate to Severe Psoriasis Undergoing Phototherapy (UVB) and Photochemotherapy (PUVA)” Kabat-Zinn et al. report on the highly interesting relationship between stress reduction and skin clearing. In this particular instance, the focus is on moderate to severe psoriasis, a condition which plagues those who have it physically and emotionally. For those who have the condition, it can be a seemingly life-consuming battle, as it is disruptive to psychological well-being and an ability to be present, as stressors like pain, irritation, and changes in physical appearance can mandate that the focus of the thoughts goes to these experiences. Where the attention is brought to the negative impact of psoriasis on the self, it may also breed to more serious conditions like depression and anxiety. But, guided meditation, the research found, alleviates psoriasis symptoms.
Psoriasis is linked to psychological stress
In a study where the researchers had already concluded that psychological stress was a driving force behind flare-ups of psoriasis, and that, in general, the skin is an organ which reflects the stress level of a person through physical reactions such as psoriasis, there was the possibility for tremendously supportive findings by incorporating mindfulness into the treatment of this ailment, as it has been proven to reduce and alleviate the experience of stress. The participants in the study received their normal course of light therapy, excepting that while it was happening, they listened to audio recordings of guided mindfulness relaxation.
Meditation helped clear psoriasis in 20 sessions
Out of 37 people with moderate to severe psoriasis, 19 achieved a ‘clearing’ of their condition after 20 sessions with the guided meditation tape. The researchers gainfully concluded that “the results suggest that the rate of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis can be accelerated when subjects engage in an audiotape-guided, meditative stress reduction exercise during their UVB or PUVA treatment sessions.” Using mindfulness relaxation techniques in conjunction with light therapy for psoriasis has been proven to be supportive and potentially lead to a more rapid alleviation of symptoms.