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Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of illnesses. Some people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have utilized acupuncture to relieve pain and other symptoms of the disease.

No drug or treatment can cure psoriasis. If you choose to try acupuncture, it is important to maintain the drug regimen established by your doctor. Drug treatments have been proven effective in rigorous, scientific trials.

What does it involve?
When looking for an acupuncturist, make sure they are licensed. You can contact the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) to find a licensed practitioner near you. You may ask whether the practitioner is experienced in treating psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Your doctor may be able to refer you to an acupuncturist.

During an acupuncture treatment, you will lie still on a table. A trained acupuncturist or TCM practitioner will insert fine needles into the skin or connective tissue just beneath the skin. The needles are left in the skin for up to 30 minutes. Different regions of the skin are targeted during acupuncture depending on the condition being treated. The practitioner may gently twist or move the needles. Heat or electricity may be applied to the needles. Acupuncture is usually painless.

In TCM acupuncture is believed to work by balancing and correcting the flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”), throughout the body. Some Western researchers have proposed that acupuncture works by stimulating nerves and increasing blood flow.

Intended Outcomes
The goal of acupuncture as a treatment for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is to reduce skin symptoms and joint pain and stiffness, helping you feel your best.

An article published in 2012 reviewed existing scientific literature on the use of acupuncture to treat chronic pain. The review included data from 29 clinical studies with a total of 17,922 participants. Researchers concluded that acupuncture by a trained practitioner was an effective treatment for chronic pain.

There have not been any clinical studies to investigate the benefits of acupuncture specifically for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. However, some people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have reported that acupuncture improves their symptoms.

Acupuncture is not effective for everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

If acupuncture is effective for you, it may require six to eight sessions before you see significant improvement.

You may require regular acupuncture treatments to maintain your results.

Some insurers will cover acupuncture, but others may not. Out-of-pocket costs for acupuncture may be expensive.

Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find or travel to an acupuncture provider.

Some people have an extreme fear of needles.

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