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Profound Effect of Macrobiotic Diet upon Psoriasis and Stress-Related Skin Conditions

by Philippa Brook(more info)

listed in skincare, originally published in issue 189 - December 2011

Psoriasis Case Study
This Case Study by Philippa Brook shows how following a macrobiotic diet can have dramatic effects on the body, both internally and externally. This Case Study demonstrated a massive improvement in the condition of her psoriasis - something that numerous prescribed topical treatments has failed to do (and whilst Chinese herbs have helped a bit in the past, the process was quite laborious and not easy to fit into Philippa's life).

before after

Philippa's Penninghame Diary

Day 1
Arrived feeling terrible. Where I get psoriasis is red and inflamed.  Face was pale with red blotches, spotty and felt totally shattered.  Had to wear make-up not to scare myself, let alone any of the other guests.

Lovely welcome dinner, with everyone who was taking part on the course. Meet Marie and Ray who run Penninghame, and Bill and Marlene our teachers for the week.  Delicious food, my first introduction to macrobiotic food!

Day 2
Chi ball at 7.30am. Earlier than I get up in London for work! Later, an introduction to all the new ingredients (like a new language; umeboshi, tempeh, shoyu, kombu, kukicha) and wholesome whole grains. Had a consultation, and learned that my stomach is tight, and my bottom lip is swollen, indicating bad digestion.  Red chin.  Bad circulation.  Low energy levels, in the past helped by chocolate and booze.  Psoriasis they say is to do with the body getting rid of toxins and it hasn't been able to through digestion as my digestive system was under so much strain.  To correct: my body needs to detox to get rid of toxins and do yoga, chi ball or something equivalent to release the stiffness where the toxins where.  
How I Feel
Shattered.  Left bloated, which is to do with me not chewing, making it really hard for my body to digest my food.  Body in total denial about what is going on.

Day 3
Learned why dairy isn't good for you, and about the stages of sickness and stress.  Also had a seaweed bath today - amazingly soft skin afterwards.
How I Feel
Struggled out of bed again, - am still shattered so went to bed early.  Still feeling a bit bloated.

Day 4
Chi Ball class, Modern Macrobiotics lectures, Oriental Facial Diagnosis and a cookery class on Healthy Desserts. Went for steam and sauna too.
How I Feel
Woke up really stiff after a night of hot sweats.  So bad that I had to actually get up at one point and towel myself down!  Apparently, both of these are to do with my body trying to release all the toxins, stimulated by chi ball and this cleansing diet I am on.  Didn't feel so tired today, feel like I'm getting some natural energy back. Feeling much more clear-headed and also confronted a few work issues that I had been ignoring for the last few weeks, knowing I had to confront them but without the space or clarity to do so.

Day 5
Yoga, more new foods and a cookery lesson on great stir frys, soups, burgers, pastas.
How I Feel
Feel so much better today and my bloating is gone.  Feel energised. Calm.  Everyone is commenting on how much better I look.  Eyes and skin brighter.  Spots have nearly gone and my red chin is dulling too.

Day 6
'Dynamic meditation' this morning - a real experience!  Also learned about food and the relationship to allergies, immune deficiency and natural immunity.
How I Feel
Psoriasis is so much better.  My elbows are my guage as I always have it there and the redness and inflammation has died down and smoothed over, which is a sign that it is on the road to recovery. Feel energized, clear headed and really positive and calm.

Post Penninghame
I feel like I was going down a very destructive and debauched path.  Partying way too much, no off button, and not eating a good diet. Even when I think I am being healthy and cooking something like veggie stir fries, it turns out I have been ruining it by what I have been putting in it (white rice, sugary sauces etc)!  

I was drinking way too much and had far too many really late nights. Body and mind were both exhausted. I left Penninghame with an optional starter pack, which gives you all the new ingredients you need to start cooking the macrobiotic way - straight way.  This gives you time to find out where you can buy all the new ingredients yourself.

My goal is to be really strict with myself and try and eat a totally macrobiotic diet and get rid of my psoriasis.  Once I have done it and programmed my brain into that way of thinking about food, I will be able to relax a bit and find a good balance. This will allow me to still be 'naughty', but because I'm giving my body such a break the rest of the time it will be able to cope with this.

By the end of my week at Penninghame my skin was so soft, I was chattier and had so much more energy - without any chocolate or coffee! Penninghame was so beautiful and so peaceful. It was the perfect place to recharge and I am excited to see what these changes will do to my body in the long term as my psoriasis is already greatly improved and people have been commenting on the difference!

Further Information
For further information please contact Penninghame House on Tel: 01671 401414;


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About Philippa Brook

Philippa Brook lives in London and works in project management and accountancy, mainly in the creative industries. After quitting her last full time employment 2 years ago to escape the extreme work hard, play hard mentality of London, she took a break and went travelling for 4 months in Central America. She returned and spent the UK summer touring around the UK attending parties and festivals until she realized she was putting immense strain on her body; she endured a huge outbreak of psoriasis all over her body. She has lived with psoriasis since she was 17, and the only other time she has had an outbreak like this was back in her 1st and 2nd year at University. Fortunately through a conversation with a friend, she had the opportunity to visit Penninghame House which opened her eyes to a totally new world of food and its medicinal properties and possibilities. As much as she still enjoys going out, eating and drinking, she now realizes that for her body to be able to cope, she has to counter balance her love of a party with a healthy diet that puts the body under as little stress as possible. Philipa may be contacted via


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