Acupuncture For Eczema
Eczema is an itchy skin condition that is believed to be related to allergies. Many people, who have eczema, also have asthma symptoms as well as symptoms typical off allergic rhinitis—including itchy, watery eyes, stuffy nose, and nasal congestion. Eczema often affects children who eventually outgrow the itchy rash and scales so typical of the disease.
For more than two thousand years, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have made use of acupuncture and herbal therapy in order to treat a variety of diseases, from pain, internal medical conditions, to skin disorders, including psoriasis, acne, alopecia, and eczema.
Practitioners of acupuncture and the ancient Chinese medical practice continue to use acupuncture and herbal remedies to treat patient suffering from skin diseases and who don’t want to take oral or topical medications for their symptoms.
Chinese Medical Beliefs
Practitioners of the ancient tradition of Traditional Chinese medicine see good health as a positive balance between the internal systems of the body and the environment. Allergens that cause symptoms of eczema upset the balance of qi energy in the blood as well as an imbalance of the yin and yang, resulting in the development of various diseases. The environment also plays a role with things like damp air, heat, cold, and wind resulting in diseases like eczema.
The mind is perceived as having an additional effect on the presence of disease. Traditional Chinese medical practitioners use acupuncture and the Three Yellow Cleanser (an herbal remedy) in order to treat about 60 percent of all types of skin disorders, including eczema, acne, rashes, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Three Yellow Cleanser is a combination of herbs that exhibit a cold property to the heat that is believed to be the cause of many skin diseases. Out of the four herbs used in the blend, three of them have a yellowish coloration, which gives it its name.
These four herbs, philodendron, rhubarb, Sophora, and skullcap have been found to have anti- fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties against the skin. Philodendron is particularly effective in the treatment of eczema when combined with acupuncture.
Besides the extensive usage of these traditional Chinese herbs, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine also recommend the use of acupuncture as an alternative treatment for skin disorders like eczema. The acupuncture sites used are those that correspond to the skin and to those related to allergies. When the acupoints are stimulated, there is an increased production of endorphins in the brain, which activates both the immune system and the endocrine system. Both of these play a role in eczema and other skin diseases.
The Acupuncture Treatment Itself
For the treatment of skin disorders like eczema, the main acupuncture sites that are stimulated as part of the therapy include those located on the torso, arms, and legs. The acupuncturist treating these diseases uses very thin, sterile needles that are only used one time in order to stimulate the various acupuncture sites. The needles can be twirled or can have laser or heat
applied to increase their effectiveness.
The acupuncture needles are left in place for anywhere from 10 minutes to a whole hour, depending on what the acupuncturist feels is necessary to affect a cure. Besides heat and laser treatments, electrical stimulation can be used on the needles to increase the effectiveness of the needles at their various sites. The needles are essentially clipped to wires that are attached
to a small battery that gives off an electrical charge.
As of this date, there have been no long-term studies done to see if acupuncture works to treat skin conditions like eczema. There have been a few clinical research projects that involved less than one hundred participants in a publications submitted to the World Health Organization in 2002. One of the publications was entitled: “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on
Controlled Clinical Trials”.
According to the World Health Organization, there were several randomized clinical trials indicating that acupuncture was effective against itching, herpes zoster, eczema, choasma, and neuro-dermatitis. A study in Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion was done on 60 patients who recovered their symptoms after having treatments with acupressure or acupuncture focusing on the ear. These were found to be better treatments than standard Western medical treatment.