An Hypothesis Explaining the Successful
Treatment of Psoriasis with Thermal Biofeedback:
A Case Report
This is a single case report of a 56-year-old Caucasian female referred for biofeedback by her dermatologist after seven years of failed standard medical treatment for psoriasis. Patient's presenting complaint was the embarrassing psoriasis lesions on her arms. Following 13 weekly one-hour finger/hand thermal biofeedback treatments, all 11 presenting psoriasis lesions (2-6 cm) had disappeared. Interestingly, any new psoriasis lesions that surfaced during our treatment disappeared without leaving palpable or visible scarring~ unlike lesions that were present prior to biofeedback treatment. Patient was unmedicated for psoriasis during our treatment and continues to be unmedicated and asymptomatic at 12-month follow-up.
Descriptor Key Words: psoriasis; thermal biofeedback.
Psoriasis is a noncontagious chronic disease marked by epidermal proliferation
of the skin. Its lesions usually appear initially as small erythematous
papules and enlarge or coalesce to form red elevated plaques with silvery
scales at various anatomic sites (Diseases and Disorders Handbook, 1990).
Psoriasis is characterized by recurring remissions and exacerbations often
related to unpredictable systemic/environmental factors such as pregnancy,
cold weather, and emotional stress.
The patient was a 56-year-old widowed Caucasian female (Ms. S.),
referred for biofeedback to our service by her dermatologist as a "last effort"
at successfully treating her 10-year history of unremitting psoriasis.
The patient was primarily interested in the amelioration of psoriasis lesions
on her arms that would allow for reduced embarrassment when wearing
short-sleeved clothing. The patient reported physical abuse from her husband
for 25 years, which ended when her husband died and coincided with
the onset of psoriasis. This association was one of several topics reportedly
discussed in counseling following the death of the patient's husband. Her
presentation did not fit PTSD criteria, but was viewed as the result of a
chronic sympathetic hyperarousal syndrome. Her medical history was noncontributory
except for osteo-arthritis, which responded weil to treatment
with 800 mg of ibuprofen daily.