Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease in which the skin cells divide 1,000 times faster than normal, resulting in a discomforting and unsightly pileup of cells. The lesions appear red and inflamed and are often covered with silvery scales. By some estimates, psoriasis affects 1 out of every 50 people.
When doctors at a university hospital in Norway surveyed psoriasis sufferers, they found that more than 40 percent had used some type of alternative therapy for their skin condition. The reason? Most turned to the therapies because conventional medicine failed to offer relief.
Alternative medicine aims to do two things for psoriasis patients: 1) lessen the pain and the lesions and 2) prevent the skin cells from malfunctioning in the first place. One alternative therapy, light therapy, has met with some acceptance with conventional doctors.