Plaque Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition that appears on the skin in the form of thick red patches. As per the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), plaque psoriasis is among a few common forms of psoriasis. Over 6.7 million people in the United States are affected by plaque psoriasis.

Acupuncture for plaque psoriasis

When we talk about acupuncture, we know of it as a holistic treatment for any condition. Treatment this way requires trained professionals to insert multiple fine needles into your skin to stimulate various specific points within your body to initiate certain reactions.

Acupuncture is widely used as an alternative treatment means for many existing conditions and psoriasis is one of them. Turns out acupuncture are quite an effective way to treat and manage the symptoms and flares of psoriasis.

What causes plaque psoriasis?

A person with plaque psoriasis usually has multiple patches of rough, red patches on their skin along with silvery-white scales. These patches start building up when the skin receives a signal to produce new skin cells at a rapid pace.

These new skin cells keep building up and start shedding in patches and scales and cause pain as well as irritation. When scratched, these patches can lead to bleeding and infection.

Getting started with acupuncture

Acupuncture is known to help psoriasis in different ways. It is a highly effective way to relieve stress, which is a common trigger of many medical conditions, including psoriasis flares. Acupuncture helps relieve pain post scratching the scaly skin and in the case of psoriatic arthritis.

While there is still required more research, acupuncture can effectively treat psoriasis based on strong anecdotal evidence. It works by reducing the symptoms and slowly takes psoriasis into remission.

A 1992 study found that over half of the psoriasis patients (31 out of 60) got complete clearance of lesions after just 9 sessions of acupuncture. Out of these, 14 participants got clearance in just 2/3rd of the lesions.

This study was followed by another study in 2004, which included 80 people with psoriasis. These people got over 91% rate of effectiveness in terms of alleviating the symptoms of psoriasis after just 5 sessions of acupuncture.

A 2016 study also found improvement of lesions, as the treatment of psoriasis involved acupuncture.

How is acupuncture done?

To start with an acupuncture treatment, you have to tell exactly where you feel the pain along with the symptoms. Acupuncture involves inserting sterile needles into those parts of your body, which are as thin as a strand of your hair.

Based on the technique your acupuncturist uses, he/she will insert those needles at different depths into your body. Generally, this depth ranges from 1 to 2 inches and these needles remain in there for up to 20 minutes. You start feeling numbness or deep heaviness, which signifies that your body is responding to the treatment the way it should.

All the visible psoriasis flare will be surrounded with needles to bring more Chi (vital life force) to these areas and, therefore, to balance your immune system. This process is called “surrounding the dragon.”

Risks associated with acupuncture for psoriasis

While acupuncture is backed by strong anecdotal evidence and research that found it as an effective treatment for psoriasis, this treatment may not be effective for everyone.

Some individuals experience soreness after a treatment session, which should go away quickly. As acupuncture is performed in a clean environment, it has only a few side effects, such as using non-sterilized needles can cause infections. Also, choosing an experienced acupuncturist matters for efficient treatment without pain.

The biggest downside here is that you need to avail of the treatment regularly to get those flares under control. As many insurance companies won’t cover acupuncture, it can be an expensive affair for anyone. Moreover, if you have bleeding disorders, you should avoid acupuncture because it could greatly increase your chances of bleeding or bruising.


Psoriasis becomes unresponsive to medications when trying for a long time. Acupuncture is the best alternative treatment that you can try and expect results as early as within 2 to 4 weeks. Look for an experienced acupuncturist and get ready for the treatment.