“Psoriasis healing from inside out” is a book, written by Heather J. Ferris. This book elaborates her journey of psoriasis healing. Born in South Africa in 1946, she got psoriasis at the young age of 17. Initially, her armpits and gradually various parts of her body were covered with psoriasis lesions. At the time of writing this book, she is a mature lady in her early 60s.
Read more: Summary of the Dr Pagano Book for Psoriasis
Despite of psoriasis, she completed her education and became a teacher. She never let psoriasis dictate her life. She accepted the fact the psoriasis is a part of her life and she has to live with it anyhow. Maintaining good eye contact with people when they point out her psoriasis and explaining them about it without getting emotional- these things helped her a lot.
After the struggle of many years, she found a way to heal her psoriasis by listening to her inner self and healing the inside body matters. This practical approach of self healing completely transformed her life. Now, psoriasis is no more a matter of concern for her. Now, she is a certified counselor in Canada, helping other people to sort out their life issues with the help of self awareness and self help.
What causes Psoriasis
It is not the case of faulty genes for Heather. No one in her immediate family ever heard of psoriasis before. Just like all of us, she is not sure about the exact cause of psoriasis in her case. But, she strongly believes that various stressful events and situations happening at various points in her life played a significant role in developing psoriasis.
- During her initial college days, two things were making her uncomfortable:
- She was younger than most of her classmates
- She was taller than her age
She was desperate to get her peer approval. She was considering herself a “misfit” among them. With very little self love and self esteem, she was suffering from the feeling of “poor me”. This was the time when she experienced the very first breakout of psoriasis.
- She got married at the young age of 24. Just after two years of the marriage, her husband was diagnosed with brain tumor and after the struggle of a few months, he died. After his death, Heather experienced a severe psoriasis attack.
- After a few years, she got married again and migrated to Canada from South Africa. She gave birth to three daughters within a few years. Her husband used to be out of the town most of the times for work. Cold weather, loneliness and the stress of raising three young kids- she experienced the worst psoriasis flare up. Later on, her second marriage ended up in a divorce.
Heather recalls various events of her life where she found herself unable to express her emotions. The fear of “getting hurt” was restricting her from expressing herself fully. She believes that the lack of self love (self esteem) and inability to express her emotions made her gone through serious emotional traumas at various points of her life. And, her whole attention was outwards- to treat the physical symptoms of psoriasis. When she stopped listening to her inner self and disturbed the body-mind-spirit co-ordination, then the inner body screamed at her by developing psoriasis lesions on her skin. These psoriasis lesions were the anger of her inner body towards her because she was continuously ignoring it.
Getting attracted towards Alternative healing
When her first husband was diagnosed with brain tumor, the doctors almost gave up and declared that he would die within 3 weeks. Then, he started grape juice fast, also known as grape therapy, to get some relief from the pain. Surprisingly, he lived for almost 5 months and during that period he had very little pain and headache. Although this grape therapy didn’t cure his tumor, but let him live a healthy life for far more time than predicted by the doctors. At that time, for the very first time, Heather realized the power of alternative healing. During all those 5 months, she also ate a very healthy diet to support him. Together, they meditated and did creative visualizations. Due to all this, she was psoriasis free for the very first time since its appearance on her skin. Although it was back after a few months of his death.
After this experience, she continued doing a “10 day grape juice fast” every year for the next two or three years. She hasn’t mentioned juice fast anymore in the book. Hence, I assume that she gave up on juice fast after that. Further, she mentions that – grape juice fast is not a cure for psoriasis, but, it is a part of the internal body cleansing process which is essential for psoriasis healing.
Getting over with conventional steroidal medicines
After her second marriage, when she was facing a severe psoriasis attack, she visited a local dermatologist. At that time, 80% of her body was covered with psoriasis. The doctor prescribed her methotrexate and vaseline. She was told that they would do blood test regularly to monitor the health of her liver and methotrexate dosage would be changed accordingly. Methotrxate, when taken in the long term, hampers the liver. She opted out of this treatment because she had no intentions of impairing her liver.
In another incident, when she suffered from sciatica (nerve pain related to spinal cord), the surgeon advised her a back surgery. Before taking this extreme step, she thought of giving a try to physiotherapy and yoga. Yoga helped her a lot. She recovered fully, without any surgery.
These two experiences compelled her to give up on conventional pharma medicines and to search for an alternate route to manage her psoriasis.
Psoriasis Healing from inside out
After losing confidence on conventional treatment, Heather decided to take the natural healing approach to clear her skin. Her goal was to listen to her body and understand the nature of psoriasis. She started to observe that how her psoriasis react to various emotions and foods. She made efforts to identify her psoriasis triggers.
At the same time, after her divorce with her second husband, she decided to make a career in mental health and counseling. She enrolled in a university and started to read books on psychology and personal growth with keen interest. Now, she had decided to help others in healing their lives. She was amazed by the power of self awareness. She understood that when a person starts to listen to his/her body, then the process of self healing begins. When you listen to the messages that your body wants to convey to you- then the disturbed body-mind-spirit relation gets established to make you healthy in a natural way.
Gradually, she became aware about her psoriasis triggers- the foods and the stressful events. Then she made a commitment to improve her skin by making suitable lifestyle changes- healthy food, regular exercise, massage and emotional healing with the help of yoga, meditation and creative visualizations.
Now, psoriasis is no longer the main focus of her life. She is a professional counselor and life coach for past many years and she is enjoying the feeling of helping other people to heal themselves with the concept of self healing.
Most importantly, she believes that there is no ultimate cure for psoriasis. But, yes, we can manage it to an extent that it doesn’t drive our lives anymore. She is not a big fan of immediate solutions like methotrexate and cortisone (a conventional topical treatment)- methotrexate damages liver and cortisone makes your skin thin.
Heather now accepts her skin, her body and her life completely. Now, she is proud of herself. She considers psoriasis as a blessing of her because due to psoriasis only, now she has become a life coach and helping others. Also, this healthy lifestyle has made her lose some weight to become more attractive.
Her Psoriasis treatment
Before starting the inward journey, she tried a variety of the conventional treatments- coal tar, cortisone, phototherapy- with very little success. Sometimes, the sticky topical treatments brought a lot of embarrassment for her She used to avoid wearing dark colors to deal with scalp psoriasis.
Apart from common psoriasis triggers like unhealthy diet and stress, she found synthetic (chemical based) bathing bars and nylon clothing as skin irritants.
Read more: How to select a Soap for Psoriasis
Heather’s 4 point program
Heather’s self healing program is divided into 4 sections
- Physical health
- Intellectual health
- Emotional health
- Spiritual health
Let us discuss them in detail:
- Physical health
A healthy diet, regular exercise, proper sleep and a keen observation to identify food triggers.
For diet protocol, she followed the advice given in the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch. She eliminated alcohol, dairy, eggs, citrus fruits, red meat and refined sugar from her diet. Due to chronic sugar craving, it took her a lot of failed attempts and discipline to get rid of sugar from her diet.
In supplements, she would take primrose oil, spirulina and multivitamins (vitamin A, B complex, C, D and E). She added calcium and magnesium tablets also in her daily diet regimen. Heather says that your immune system needs vitamin C, but, your body doesn’t like citrus fruits. Hence, you need to look at supplements or other foods to make up for vitamin C.
Read more: Omega 3 fatty acids for Psoriasis
Fried foods, junk foods- rich in salt, sugar, saturated fats and cholesterol- should be avoided. Consumption of regular coffee and tea (milk tea) should be minimized.
It is crucial to identify the food culprits and then minimize their consumption. Your overall digestive system would be thankful to for you this. Overall digestive tract (including colon and liver) is directly connected to your immune system and skin.
She advises to drink a lot of water because psoriasis can make your skin to lose water very quickly- at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Apart from a healthy diet, it is very vital to listen to the body’s demands and reactions. Your body is your teacher, constantly communicating with you. When you eat something unhealthy- it gives you the feedback in the form of gas, bloating, heartburn etc. When you overeat, it again gives you the feedback. But, unfortunately, we hardly listen to it. And, later on, we pay a heavy price for this ignorance.
Regular exercise and monthly massage also helped her a lot.
- Intellectual health
Reading good books and literature, training and courses to upgrade self knowledge and worth and most importantly, to have a company of positive people.
Read more: Books for Psoriasis healing
- Emotional health
To connect with our feelings and express them adequately. Journal writing is a very good option to express the unresolved (and unsaid) emotions. Self talk, physical exercises and sometimes, crying- these are other ways of liberating the emotions. A person with sound emotional health would be cheerful, fun loving and playful in the life.
Heather has given special emphasis on the benefits of journal writing. Journal writing is a way of emotional detoxification. Along with the elimination of physical toxins from the body, release of deep buried unresolved emotions is also very important. Release of these unexpressed emotions can be done by – hiring a counselor or talking to a friend or writing a journal. The first two options would need a second person to help you, but, journal writing is completely an individual act. Also, when you talk to the other person, sometimes, you don’t open up completely due to the fear of judgment. But, journal writing is a private exercise involving only you and your emotions. Journal writing can make you completely burden-free if you let go all the unsaid emotions on the paper. In journal writing, you have to remember just one rule- complete honesty. This is your private world. No one is going to judge you. So, don’t bother about- how idiotic or weird your emotions are. Just write them as they come into your mind. Don’t bother too much about the correct grammar. Just let the words flow. If you feel, you can share your writings with someone who is very close to you. Heather mentions that journal writing had helped her to take a lot of correct decisions in her life when we she was really confused. For example, when the dermatologist told her that methotrexate is the best available option and she was hesitant due to its side effect, she wrote down all the pros and cons of methotrexate. Also, she noted down all the other options available to her including alternative healing. Writing everything on the paper brought up the clear picture in front of her and finally, she took the right decision of not taking methotrexate.
When we talk about the elimination of toxins for psoriasis healing, it is not only the body toxins.
- Spiritual health
Spiritual health stands for- understanding the meaning of life by rising above the physical sufferings of life. We are not all about psoriasis or any other problem, life has a lot more to offer us. We need to understand that we have bigger goals to achieve in life. Meditation is the perfect way to attain sound spiritual health.
Heather has illustrated few meditation (relaxation) techniques in her books which are easy to practice and seems to be quite effective. I can conclude that basis of all her meditation techniques is Vipassana. Vipassana meditation is re-discovered in India by Gautam Buddha. Vipassana means to see the things as they are. In Vipassana meditation, the practitioner simply observes the breathing pattern- breathing in and breathing out.
The brief explanation of all the relaxation techniques mentioned in this book is below:
- The Full Breath– Full breath or belly breathing is an ancient relaxation technique. It means- breathing like a baby, always from the tummy and not from the chest. When you breathe from the belly, the belly goes up and the shoulders also. Your whole body takes part in the breathing process. It is the ideal breathing pattern. On the other hand, breathing from the chest is shallow breathing. You tighten your chest, stomach and lower abdomen and take small breaths. It makes you stress and anxious. Take some time out of your daily routine to do this wonderful exercise. Lay down and loosen up the body muscles. Let the body relax. Then slowly take a deep breath from the belly. Feel the intake of fresh breath through various body parts- nostril to chest to belly. Imagine that the positive energy is getting infused in your body and it is splitting all across the body parts from head to toe. Then, breathe out slowly and imagine that all the illness and negative energy is draining out. Do this exercise regularly and you would feel the gradual change in your breathing pattern throughout the day. You would observe that whenever you are angry or stressed, you breathing gets shallower. The moment you observe this shallow breathing, you can correct it by taking few deep breathing and gradually the stress would dissipate.
This full breathing technique can be very helpful in dealing with the urge of itching. As we all know- scratching never helps. It only intensifies the itching. Still, it becomes very difficult to cope up with the urge of itching. If you practice this full breathing technique regularly, then, the next time you feel scratching your lesions- just try to shift the focus of your mind from itching to breathing. Gradually, with practice, you would feel a sense of self control over the urge of itching.
- Quietening the body and mind– Lay down on a bed or floor comfortably. If lying on the floor, use a mat. Make your body fully relaxed. Concentrate on the natural process of breath in and out. Try to focus on the breathing pattern. Whenever this focus is disturbed by the thoughts in your mind, try to again focus on the breathing pattern. Your mind is just like an unguarded beast- revolving around the past experiences and future anticipations. Initially, you would find it very difficult to concentrate on the breathing pattern even for a very short time. Gradually, you would see that the traffic of thoughts in your mind would slow down and your mind is becoming quiet and peaceful. Then, you would start enjoying the peace of mind and body.
- Creative visualization and Positive affirmation– While practicing the above explained full breathing and mind quietening exercises, do incorporate creative visualization and positive affirmations. Visualize that you are having a disease free soft and clear skin which is very attractive. At the same time, repeat positive affirmations in my mind. Few of the affirmations that you can try are:
- I love myself, I fully accept myself and I am proud of my achievements in the life.
- I am the most beautiful person in this world and I love every part of myself.
- I am enjoying a healthy and fit body with radiant skin. I have a peaceful and cheerful life full of laugh and fun.
Let us revise
- Pay attention to your body. When it feels tired, you should sleep. When it feels full, you should not eat any more. Giving due attention to the body’s messages would help you identify your triggers.
- Whatever you are doing to heal psoriasis- diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, massage or anything else- don’t do it with grim determination, rather enjoy it. Your healing process should not be a burden otherwise it would further increase the stress level to further complicate the issues. Enjoy the journey of natural healing of psoriasis. It would not only clear your skin, but it would improve your overall life.
- If your overall lifestyle is good- healthy diet, proper sleep, regular exercise, mental peace, healthy relationships- your psoriasis would automatically improve. Improvement in your overall well-being would automatically relieve psoriasis symptoms.
- Avoid irritants- scratching the lesions and use of chemical based synthetic soaps, nylon clothing and perfumed beauty products.
- Sunlight and loss in body weight helps.
Read more: Sunlight and Vitamin D for Psoriasis
- Your thoughts have a great healing power. “What you think, you are.” Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Take charge of your life. Identify the situations which need to be changed and make efforts to change them. The more risks you would take, the less fear you would have.
- Be playful. Have fun in your life. You deserve a beautiful body, mind and spirit.
- Your first responsibility is towards yourself. Don’t make unrealistic targets to please everyone around. “Let go” of the situations that are beyond your control.
- Be thankful to the God for whatever you have- lovely family, friends, a healthy body (including your skin), a good career and just everything you have.
From where to buy the book
I have made a sincere effort to highlight each and every aspect of this wonderful book. But, it is really very difficult to thoroughly summarize this 104 pages book in a blog post. Also, as we all know, psoriasis healing is a long term journey and good books can become our ideal companions in this journey. Hence, I would suggest you to check this book at Amazon: –
|USA readers||India readers||UK readers|
|Psoriasis healing from the inside out||Click here||Click here||Click here|