Psoriasis and Massage

topic posted Tue, October 9, 2007 - 6:48 PM by  Goofball Jess
Any tips on massaging a client that has Psoriasis?
posted by:
Goofball Jess
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

    Wed, October 10, 2007 - 9:06 AM
    As a massage therapist who has psoriasis, it is not a contraindication. I have found for the most part a little extra oil is needed but otherwise completely safe to work on as long as the skin isn't broken. It is in no way contagious and when other therapist completely ignore the areas I have a current patch or some scales, it's really frustrating.
    • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

      Wed, October 10, 2007 - 3:43 PM
      So what kind of work would you recommend? Is the skin super sensitive so that deeper work would be painful? Any suggestions for oils? I have organic pressed calendula oil and I read somewhere that this may be good for psoriasis. I suppose it will depend on each individual.
      • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

        Wed, October 10, 2007 - 5:05 PM
        It's great that you're looking this up! What lucky clients you have, to have a therapist who puts in that extra bit of effort to find out how to keep the client's best interest in mind!

        From what I've heard (please help me out here if I'm off-base folks) is that psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis go hand-in-hand, and some people report their outbreaks exacerbate each other... so keep any stretching gentle, etc...

        The flakes and scales might benefit from something moisturizing or containing vitamin E? How about dry rubs too, like with a towel to exfoliate? Is that more likely to relieve itch or break skin?
        • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

          Wed, October 10, 2007 - 6:26 PM
          Psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis can be related, but aren't necessarily always present together. Your client would know if they have both and it should be spelled out on their medical intake form.

          I would keep it to gentle stretching and lots of communication. It's hard to give real specific advice because it really depends on the person and how inflamed the area is at the time.

          Personally, I would want something moisturizing. A dry rub would just irritate an inflamation more or possibly break the skin if it pulls up a lot of scales. The reason psori is so red is because there is a lot of red blood cells up at the surface.
      • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

        Wed, October 10, 2007 - 6:29 PM
        Deeper work would not be out of the question. I have it all over the back of my neck and often *need* deeper work. I often use calendula oil myself because it is good for psori. Emu oil also has unique healing qualities. Ask your client what they use and it might help you determine what to use based on their current pattern. Psori mutates and often what helps one week suddenly stops working and has to be switched.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Psoriasis and Massage

          Wed, October 10, 2007 - 7:47 PM
          YL recommends:

          Psoriasis Blend of PURE essential oils, not plant essences in oil.
          *2 drops Patchoulie
          *2 drops Roman Chamomile
          *2 drops Lavender
          *2 drops Melrose
          note on Melrose oil blend.
          Melroseâ„¢ is a blend of therapeutic-grade essential oils with powerful antiseptic properties. It can be used topically for cleansing cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes and stressed tissues.

          The oil blend can be added to pure/non-irritant/chemical massage oil (6-10 drops in skin lotion). Applied Neatly with 2-4 drops to the affected area, twice daily or in a warm compress over the affected area 3 ties a week.

          To create a compress...

          Rube drops on affected area, diluted or neat, depending on skin sensitivity.
          Cover location with hot damp towle.
          Cover the moist towel with a dry towel for 10-30 minutes.

          Alternatively for children or sensitive skin, place 5-15 drops in a basin of warm water. About 100 degrees.
          Mix water well with oils.
          Place a dry cloth over bowl or basin to soak up the evaporating water, for about one minute.
          Wring out excess water and apply over affected area in the same manner as the rub mentioned above.

          Notes about the oils mentioned.

          Patchoulie: Anti-inflamatory, antimicrobial, relieves itching.
          Roman Chamomile: Used as an aid for skin regeneration, anti-inflamatory, antiparasitic, regenerative and blood detoxifier.
          Lavender: We know this is great for skin and has been used for skin conditions for a long time.
          Melrose Oil: is a strong topical antiseptic that cleans and disinfects cuts, scraps, burns, rashes, and bruised tissue. It also helps with the regeneration of damaged tissue and reduces inflammation. Melrose oil is a blend of:

          Melaleuca, Naouli, Rosemary and clove.


          On another note...

          Speaking with the client directly is always the first course of action. We do not diagnose, we help and assist with a wholistic process. Psoriasis and it's outbreaks should be carefully considered as oils and topically applied agents may do more harm than good. Ask the client what sort of medications and practices they are currently using and skin test a non affected area with any oils you may think to apply.

          Any condition is never just the condition. Meaning that if something is affecting the skin, like Psoriasis, it is probably more than skin deep. It could be diet, interactions with something in the environment... in fact there is no one diagnosis of where Psoriasis comes from.

          There are five types of psoriasis.

          Plaque: Most common form of the disease
          Guttate: Appears as small red spots on the skin
          Inverse: Occurs in armpits, groin and skin folds
          Pustular: White blisters surrounded by red skin
          Erythrodermic: Intense redness over large areas

          Grow with the flow,

          Scott K Smith

          Our Group!

          *email for an invitation...

          "Life is a bowl of cherries... Never mind the pits."

          ~Shirley Maclaine
  • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

    Thu, October 11, 2007 - 7:28 AM
    I have a client with pretty severe spotty psoriasis who uses massage to keep it in check. If he goes more than a couple of weeks without massage, it starts to get worse. Typically, his patches aren't too bad to work over gently. He likes very deep tissue work, I haven't felt comfortable doing deep tissue over his really bad patches, where the skin is cracked I just lighten up to glide over those spots or change my stroke to work around it.

    My training and pathology manual told me that those affected areas may be irritated by some oils, so I personally would keep the oil/lotion simple to start.
    • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

      Thu, October 11, 2007 - 9:49 AM
      I have a couple clients with psoriasis and the subject never seems to come up because I use rhythmic compression through clothing... Maybe that's another solution to approach? Use compression rather than eff/pet on areas of outbreak or inflammation?
  • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

    Thu, October 11, 2007 - 9:29 PM
    wow! Thanks, everybody, so much for all of your suggestiions, this is why i love tribe, it can be so helpful at times. My client will be thanking you too!
    • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

      Mon, October 22, 2007 - 8:05 PM
      remember if your client has any chemical sensitivities (read chemical as any compound that is not water) or allergies the application of complex mixtures could well end up as an impromptu skintest gone bad. At least one of the mixtures mentioned above would put my fiancee in the ER and most would serve to lower my ability to function well or put me in a coughing fit from an asmatic reaction.

      simple is best
      if you're afraid of breaking the skin press don't slide
      if you're concerned with pain ask as you progress just as with any other client
      also consider a talc or powder massage to break friction instead of oil
      I always recommend against scented or fragranced products as the liklihood of reactivity goes way up in proportion to the fragrance.(for chemically sensitive individuals)

      good luck
      • Unsu...

        Re: Psoriasis and Massage

        Mon, October 22, 2007 - 8:47 PM
        I don't know what compound would put your fiance in the ER but she sounds abnormally sensitive. Not that it isn't possible, but even the most highly sensitive people I have worked with who suffer from severe allergic reaction to chemicals, did not even turn red on some of the most potent essential oils I have.

        However, A doctor can perform a skin test, which is a tiny amount of anything that you could potentially be allergic to, and that almost never throws someone into emergency. It is good to see your physician and ask for this type of test that should be part of your medical care if you are one of those people who seem to have reactions to many things. I know two.

        If you work with a professional, or have professional guidance and take advantage of your many healing resources (both eastern and western) one would have a better understanding and view.

        Grow with the flow, don't let fear be your guide and always be open to any path that leads to your healing.
        • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

          Mon, October 22, 2007 - 11:29 PM
          Yes, Scott she is abnormally sensitive;

          Pine-sol puts her flat on her back
          Peppermint oil causes an asthmatic reaction
          Some purfumes give her a migrain

          but she's not alone:

          Essential oils, especially used on compromised epidermus (thin or broken skin) will have a much greater chance of causing a negative reaction than if used on intact skinand I was responding to a question about Psoriasis.

          I'm sure you don't spread these potent essential oils on their broken skin nor on thin skinned areas such as genitals, lips or eyelids.

          I'll get off my soapbox now.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Psoriasis and Massage

            Tue, October 23, 2007 - 8:12 AM
            I'm fairly certain it stated NOT to use on broken skin.

            . I try to come from a place of compassion. My friend K is highly highly allergic to most chemical compounds, rest assured that I understand what the news reports, but more importantly I understand as a long time healer -over 14 years in work and training- that the body system is different for everyone.

            I think the links are great resources:

            Essential oil and a sensitive skin

            Certain essential oils are more inclined to cause skin irritations than other oils, especially if you are predisposed to allergic reactions and generally have a sensitive skin.


            If you have a sensitive skin, care should be taken when applying a new oil, or oil blend, and it is advisable to always perform a skin patch test before use.

            There are also certain oils that cause severe skin sensitizing and sun sensitivity (phototoxicity) and should be used with great care if you are venturing outdoors.

            Some essential oils are known irritants and others again skin sensitizers, and it is not always people with sensitive skins that must be careful of them.

            Should skin irritation occur, immediately cease using the particular essential oil or oil blend that you suspect is causing it."

            Again if you have serious concerns I would ALWAYS contact or work with a serious medical professional who has access to laboratory type medical equipment, one who can test and see what is wrong with your skin and talk about some of the best ways to treat it.

            As an energetic healer, my first no no, is for someone to work on me who has anger. It appears I have opened a bottle of yours. I apologize if you didn't understand what I was trying to say, or I poked an issue.

          • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

            Tue, October 23, 2007 - 12:40 PM
            Chris, you don't sound angry to me. Just informative. I appreciate your mention of this.

            When I was in massage school other students were spreading these essential oil mixtures all over themselves, thinking it is therapeutic and disregarding how it may have affected others in the room. Towards the end of my studies, I left my school with migraines about 70% of the time, sometimes due to the smell of peppermint oil, but there must have been something else going on in the environment of the school to get it happening so often. BTW, my migraines put me flat on my back, as well. They are usually a 12-24 hour recovery process for me.

            I do use essential oils when I do hot stone massage (a few drops in the hot water), but it is something that is always scheduled in advance with special attention to this issue with my clients.
            • Re: Psoriasis and Massage

              Sun, November 4, 2007 - 1:55 AM
              I fully admit to "having anger" regarding the frustrations of chemical sensitivities, I just try to raise awareness in whatever small way that I can.

              <<left my school with migraines about 70% of the time>>

              Astilan(sp) works well for some brain allergies such as pepperment and perfumes that lead to migrains

              but that's way off topic.

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