Acupuncture For Eczema
Eczema affects thousands of men and women across the US. According to National Eczema, some 31.6 million people in the U.S. have eczema, with 70% of these cases starting in children as young as 5 years old. It’s a similar story across the seas, with Allergy UK finding that the number of prescription medications prescribed by GPS for eczema came in at a cost of approximately £169 million (approx. $129 million) in a single year in 2015.
Although eczema is often referred to as one condition, it actually consists of a group of medical conditions that result in similar symptoms – itchiness, redness, inflammation and occasional blistering and weeping. Doctors can’t cure eczema; they can only help patients to manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
Eczema can be very frustrating to deal with. It can bring discomfort to daily living, and more severe cases can leave skin intensely painful and permanently scarred. The most common treatment for eczema is over-the-counter medications, like steroids. However, these methods of treatment are slowly dying out, in favor of more holistic approaches, like acupuncture.
How Acupuncture for Eczema Works
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine-recommended treatment for eczema. When specific acupuncture points are stimulated, the nervous system triggers the production of endorphins, which activate the immune and endocrine systems. This leads to different bodily responses, such as the release of natural painkillers, as a direct result.
For eczema, acupuncture involves inserting thin, long needles into pressure points along the arms, legs and body. The needles may remain in the pressure points for between 10 minutes and an hour, depending on the planned course of treatment.
During treatment, an acupuncture therapist may also apply heat or electricity to the needles for additional effect. This is a painless process, and won’t cause more discomfort than a slight tingling feeling at the site of the needle.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Eczema
It’s thought that the natural pain-relieving properties of acupuncture are what make it so effective in treating eczema. A number of studies have produced evidence in favor of acupuncture as a method of reducing common symptoms of eczema conditions.
One report highlighted a study in which participants with targeted acupuncture were treated at the point of the elbow crease, and concluded that these participants reported a significantly decreased itchiness, and improvement in skin findings of their eczema.
Another study conducted by researchers at Queensborough Community College, New York, and the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Turkey found that acupuncture could improve symptoms eczema and prolong the duration between flare-ups without serious side effects. The study concluded that as a treatment, acupuncture showed promise for the patient population at large.
The Future of Acupuncture for Eczema
Acupuncture has proven highly effective in treating eczema, and the treatment offers a more holistic approach, with very few side effects, when compared to over-counter prescription medications.
It’s likely that a growing understanding of acupuncture for eczema will see an even bigger increase interest for the therapy and similar therapies in the coming years.