In more than thirty years of practice I have never come across as many cases of Lichen planus as recently. Although it is by no means a common problem, I am concerned at the increased incidence of this particular skin disorder. Lichen planus is an inflammatory dermatosis which manifests itself in multiple, small, flat-topped patches, with a reddish colour and a horny appearance. This skin disorder affects both sexes, and it is quite likely that its greater incidence is due to increased stress, anxiety and nervous disorders. If not the actual causes of this disease, they are more than likely to be serious contributory factors. Although this condition can be short-lived, I have also seen chronic cases, which are very difficult to overcome once they have been allowed to establish themselves. There is a general belief that improper nutrition and insomnia are also possible factors that aggravate this condition.
Initially I would choose to treat the nervous system and, for this purpose, I would suggest breathing exercises, which exert a relaxing influence. The ‘Hara Breathing Exercise’, explained in detail in my book Stress and Nervous Disorders, is of great help, as are a number of exercises that encourage relaxation. Treatments that produce good perspiration are also helpful. For this reason Turkish baths and saunas are suggested, since they are relaxing, at the same time as encouraging perspiration. When taking a sauna, the temperature of the entire skin increases to between 40 and 43 degrees Celsius. This increase in temperature intensifies the circulation while the increase in perspiration stimulates cell renewal and can eliminate some 20 to 30 grammes of fluid per minute from the body. Showering with cold water and warm foot baths causes the pores to open and the blood vessels to widen, which gives these bathing methods therapeutic value.
It is also a good idea to do some breathing exercises while taking a sauna, as the circulation through the lungs and air passages is excellent at high temperatures. At any time, go out into the fresh air and inhale deeply to fill the lungs with oxygen, thus stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. Due to increased hormone production, stress will be reduced when taking a regular sauna. Centuries ago in Finland, when the sauna was no more than a hole in the ground with some heated stones, saunas were recognised for their therapeutic value. Even though a sauna is taken under more luxurious conditions nowadays, that therapeutic value has not diminished, but take care not to stay in a sauna for too long. It is better to increase the frequency of saunas, with a good rest period in between, than to take occasional saunas for a long time, which may be unwise. I often advise that a first sauna should not be longer than eight to twelve minutes, with a cooling-off period of about the same length of time. During this time apply some Kneipp methods and use a good body spray. Have a warm foot bath and, if accompanied, joining in a conversation will aid relaxation. If possible, try some sunray treatment, but better still if it is possible, go outside to enjoy the sun: any ultra-violet treatment after a sauna course will be of great help for a lichen planus condition.
Infra-red treatment on the affected areas is also beneficial, but mostly I prefer ultra-violet treatment, because under the influence of ultra-violet rays, substances such as ergosterin are converted into vitamin D which is of great benefit to the overall condition of the skin.
From time to time a skin brushing session is helpful. Use a natural brush and allow twenty to thirty minutes to brush every part of the body that is not affected by lichen planus, remembering always to brush towards the heart. It is best to start with the soles of the feet and a dry body. Brush the skin surface with regular movements, avoiding any affected areas, the face, and genital areas. Use clean, upward-sweeping strokes remembering that below the heart all brushing movement should be upwards, while over the heart downward strokes only. Use light and gentle pressure and perhaps a herbal ointment or a herbal oil afterwards, e.g. Symphosan, lemon or orange oil from the Bioforce range. Another remedy from the same source, Petasan, should be taken three times a day, ten drops after meals, and to encourage quick healing, use evening primrose oil and Violaforce. This is the best possible advice to get a lichen planus condition under control.
Because of the influence of stress on this skin condition, I sometimes recommend a juice diet, or even a fasting regime allowing fruit and vegetable juices only. However, I would advise excluding citrus fruit juices in such a regime. A period of fasting will be beneficial to most of the body’s systems and functions, such as digestion, blood circulation, elimination from the bowels and kidneys, nerve vitality, respiration and oxygenation. I recommend fasting courses for diverse purposes, but especially for lichen planus as so many bodily functions and systems are affected by it.
On the first day of a fast there might be some slight discomfort, but a few days of fasting will be extremely beneficial. Better still, if after an initial period of fasting, one selects a specific day of the week on which to fast on a regular basis. Fasting allows the body to rid itself of some of the many toxins that are present, and you will soon recognise the feeling of well-being that takes over after one or more days. Don’t worry if you experience a slight dull headache, because this often occurs when the tissues eliminate toxins, which are disposed of into the bloodstream and work their way to the head.
Many patients report a feeling of cleanliness (inside as well as out) after fasting and most repeat the experience. Simply replace meals with a drink of vegetable or fruit juice. The age-old naturopathic principle that an occasional period of fasting is beneficial, has never held more truth and wisdom than at present.
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