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Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

April 25, 2014   

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons individuals see their doctors. It is also one of the most typical conditions that cause people to miss work and other activities. There are many causes for low back pain. The more common causes include diseases, structural deformities and trauma (injuries and strains). Diseases that can result in back pain include osteoporosis and ankylosing spondylosis. Low back pain can be due to structural problems such as vertebral deformities, stenosis and herniated discs that besides pain can develop into serious chronic problems.

Low Back Pain Signs and Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms of low back pain. Pain can be felt in the back’s lumbar area. The pain can be felt as some type of muscular pain and localized.  Pain can also be felt radiating down the legs which is the case for sciatic pain. Patients with low back pain can complain about different sensations of pain including numbness, spasmodic pain, throbbing pain, dull pain and stabbing pain sometimes the back pain that will travel to the toes causing them to become numb. There are serious types of back pain that can debilitate a person making it difficult for that person to walk. There are back pains such as arthritis that are heavily influenced by changes in the weather.

Treatment Choices

For low back pain, a lot of treatment choices are available to remedy your condition. The most commonly availed of treatments are medicines, particularly, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs. Serious cases of back pain wherein the vertebrae have been damaged may necessitate surgery. One other treatment option that traditional medicine calls alternative medicine but one that has proven to be very effective in the resolution of low back pain is Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine as a whole contains a string of natural modalities that includes acupuncture. Acupuncture and some of the other modalities are extremely effective in treating low back pain. The view of Chinese medicine towards low back pain and other health conditions is entirely different than that of the perspective of Western medicine. Chinese medicine is grounded on the belief that life energy exists in a person’s body. This life energy travels all throughout the body like blood and is conveyed on energy pathways called meridians. This life energy is known in Chinese as Qi or Chi. When Chi flow stagnates or is blocked in the meridians, an energy imbalance occurs and the body experiences disease, pain or illness. In the case of low back pain, the person may be experiencing blood and Chi stagnation causing energy and blood deficiency as well as imbalances or external pathogens such as cold and wind in the body that can all lead to pain. The meridians are associated with certain major organs in the body. In the case of low back pain the Kidney meridian is affected.  Acupuncture helps restore balance in the body. It also removes the blockage causing life energy to flow freely once more and allows the body to heal itself.

For acute low back pain cases, acupuncture can readily treat it with just a few sessions of treatment. For chronic back pain, the treatment may take longer and patients may have to come back occasionally for preventative and maintenance treatments.  Acupuncture is vey effective in treating different back pain conditions including arthritis, stenosis, herniated discs and sciatica. If you desire a back pain treatment that is safe, effective and do not have side effects, then acupuncture is certainly a treatment you need to try.

Acupuncture for Infertility

April 25, 2014   

A lot of adults think that the most purposeful and exciting time in their lives is to have and raise a family of their own. Deplorably, however, approximately 25% of adults in the United States are unable to conceive. Their choices then are to resort in treatments and techniques to attain conception which can be distressing and disappointing processes that can eventually result to monetary and emotional pressure.

If couples are unable to conceive for at least a whole year, they are then deemed or diagnosed to be infertile. There can be several complications that can develop or arise during the conception process.  Infertility can strike both sexes roughly equally. For men who are infertile, they comprise approximately 40% of infertility cases. Low sperm count, bad sperm quality, poor sperm motility and some other abnormalities can all bring about infertility among the human male species.

One the other hand, women, on the other hand contribute to about half (50%) of the cases of infertility. The reproductive system of the female is more complex than that of the male. Certain issues arising there like obstructed fallopian tubes, deficient ovarian reserve, and hormone irregularities and other problems can all lead to a woman’s incapability to conceive. Also both the male and female partner can be infertile but in most cases one part of the couple is the one infertile.

About 10% of infertility cases are of unknown cases (idiopathic cases).  This type of infertility is quite a difficult one to diagnose and it often affects couples who are seemingly healthy overall.

Considering the Options

Infertile couples who really want to become parents of natural born children will seek help from fertility specialists to see what is specifically wrong with them. They need to undergo tests that help specialists to know what procedure is best for their condition. Some of the assisted reproductive techniques (ART) for addressing infertility can include GIFT, ZIFT, ICSI, IUI as well as IVF.  Most of the procedures basically require the female to receive hormones that can stabilize and improve the process of ovulation as well as implantation. These procedures can be quite successful although they can take a firm commitment financially and time-wise on couples many of them cannot make.

Due to their costliness, these aforementioned therapies are not often considered. These days, a growing number of couples are opting for natural therapies to help them conceive. These types of therapies can either be used as a standalone therapy or as a complementary modality for IVF as well as other ART procedures.  The most commonly used of these natural modalities are traditional Chinese medicine modalities like acupuncture.

What New Research Reveals About Acupuncture

Even with tons of research done on acupuncture for years, the mystery of how it really works still has not yet been discovered.  Researchers have two theories as to how acupuncture works in treating several conditions. One theory uses TCM’s concept of “meridians” and “vital energy” known as “chi”. The second theory uses modern scientific evidence to explain the physiological processes that happens when acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin.

The Connection between Acupuncture and the Brain

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin, some very interesting changes happen in the body and brain. Newer research has revealed that changes in the brain happen when the acupuncturist uses needles to stimulate these areas. Some of the latest functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have validated this connection. Researchers have observed that acupuncture actually helps release endorphins that affect the gonadotropins FSH and LH when the therapy is used to treat infertility. LH and FSH affect and stabilize the functioning of the ovaries and testes. Furthermore, the needles also seem to improve blood circulation to the uterus, improving the environment that becomes more conducive for implantation. So what acupuncture does is to greatly improve the body’s ability to conceive by regulating the woman’s hormone production, among others. Regulated hormones imply regular menstruation, timely ovulation, good implantation and a perfect environment for conception.

One major cause of infertility is stress. Stress from personal problems, financial stress and work all play a part in hormonal irregularities and so can impact fertility.  Certain women undergo a stressful event that causes them to skip their period.  Fortunately, acupuncture is a very popular stress relieving procedure and has as a positive calming effect for women undergoing stressful fertility treatment processes.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

The benefits of Chinese herbal medicine cannot certainly be ignored in spite of acupuncture being the most studied type of natural alternative therapy for infertility. The use of the correct herbal formula can certainly help regulate the menstrual cycle and provide a great opportunity to achieve successful conception. There are also various kinds of herbal formulas that boost male fertility and treat problems like low sperm count and erectile dysfunction. These herbs can very powerful medicine and as such need to be only prescribed by TCM practitioners specializing in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

IVF and Acupuncture: Great ART Combination

One of the most commonly used ART procedures to attain conception is In-Vitro Fertilization or IVF.  The March 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal stated that the rate of pregnancy and live birth is considerably improved when acupuncture is given along with embryo transfer for women undergoing IVF.

IVF therapies have truly helped a lot of couples realize their dream of being proud parents of their own natural born children. Still, in spite of this wonderful achievement these techniques do not address certain factors which play important roles in our health that can impact our fertility. These factors like stress management, dietary choices, sleep and emotional health are ignored.  The good news is that a lot of medical physicians and fertility specialists are beginning to be aware of new research works and are now seeing the value of acupuncture on couples who want a better integrated approach to their health. If you are seriously considering acupuncture as a way to treat your infertility or improve your chances to achieve conception then you can consult with a licensed acupuncturist or a licensed TCM practitioner to know how acupuncture can be of help in resolving your fertility or conception problems.

Acupuncture for Gastritis

April 18, 2014   

Chronic gastritis may imply certain different kinds of chronic inflammation of gastric mucus caused by several possible factors.  Depending on the pathological changes, there may be three types of chronic gastritis: hypertrophic, atrophic and superficial gastritis. These types have their own unique symptoms although basically the common shared symptoms of chronic gastritis include belching, vomiting, nausea, dyspepsia, anorexia, pain and discomfort in the upper and middle stomach, and recurrent fullness. Gastritis can have symptoms like stomach fullness and epigastralgia that may mimic other conditions. Based on traditional Chinese medicine, this condition can come about due to qi and blood stagnation, stomach yin deficiency, asthenia, longstanding conditions that cause blockages in the liver qi, overstrain, poor diet and emotional upsets.

Differentiation of Syndrome

1. Qi stagnation and liver depression  – symptoms may include a rapid and taut pulse, red tongue with yellow and thin coating, frequent sighing and belching, migratory pain and epigastralgia affecting the sides of the rib.

2. Asthenia (cold in the stomach and spleen) – symptoms for this syndrome include: weak and thin pulse; tongue that is bulgy, light colored, with slippery, thin and white coating; cold limbs; aversion to cold; loose stool; pale complexion; spiritual lassitude; emaciation; preference for warmth and pressure; and a dull abdominal pain.

3. Stomach yin deficiency – symptoms for this syndrome: thin and rapid or thin and taut pulse; red tongue with scanty coating; dry mouth with the urge to drink; hunger without appetite, heartburn-like hunger; and irregular pain in the abdomen.

4. Stagnation of blood in the collaterals – syndrome symptoms: unsmooth pulse; purplish tongue sometimes with ecchymoses; hematochezia, occasional hematemesis, and stabbing epigastralgia with unpressable and fixed pain.

Treatment

1. Body acupuncture – acupuncture points include: ST 36 or Zusanli point; ST 21 (Liangmen point); SP 4 (Gongsun); PC 6 (Neiguan), CV 12 (Zhongwan).

Additions:

For distention and fullness in stomach and epigastrium, the BL 20(Pishu), ST 19 (Bu-rong), and LR 13 (Zhangmen) are also needled.

For abdominal heat, ST 44 (Neiting) is needled.

For stagnation of blood in the collaterals, BL 17 (Geshu) and SP 10 (Xuehai) are needled.

For stomach yin deficiency, P6 (Sanyinjiao) and Kl 3 (Taixi) are needled.

For asthenia-cold in the abdomen and spleen, BL 20 (Pishu) and BL 21 (Weishu) are needled

For liver qi invading the stomach, LR 3 (Tai-chong), LR 14 (Qimen) and BL 18 (Ganshu) are needled.

Performance

For the stagnation of blood in the collaterals and for liver qi invading the abdomen, reinforcing and mild reducing needling techniques can be utilized

For stomach yin deficiency and asthenia-cold in the abdomen and spleen, reinforcing needling technique can be adopted.

For the asthenia-cold syndrome therapy, moxibustion can be applied as an adjunct for acupuncture.

2. Ear acupuncture

Acupuncture points include: AT 4 (Subcortical); TF4 (Ear Shenmen); AH6a (Sympathetic); CO4 (Stomach); CO17 (Triple Energizer); C012 (Liver); and CO13 (Spleen).

Performance:

Per acupuncture treatment, two to three points are treated. The needles stay in the ear acupoint for half an hour and manipulated at specific intervals. Electro-acupuncture can be utilized or Semen Vaccariae (Wang-buliuxingzi) to pressure the ear. Both ears need to be needled albeit in alternating fashion.

Dr. Jack Handlin is an experienced acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and oriental reproductive medicine specialist at Tree of Life Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in Bellevue, WA.

Acupuncture for Anemia

April 18, 2014   

When the body is unable to create adequate amounts of red blood cells (RBCs) to supply oxygen to the other cells of the body for them to function healthily, it suffers from a condition known as anemia.  Anemia is often characterized by tiredness that happens due to the incapacity of the body to function efficiently. This symptom makes anemia sometimes referred to as “tired blood.” Anemia may have several types and they may range from mild or light to extremely severe and can last fleetingly or as long as a person’s entire life. The modalities used by allopathic medicine for anemia are based on the type of anemia the patient suffers from. Alternative medicine specialists such as acupuncturists or practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), on the other hand, utilize acupuncture, different forms of bodywork, herbal remedies or other complementary or other alternative forms of medicine to resolve anemia.

The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treating Anemia

Allopathic doctors are aware of the different types of anemia, including thalassemia, hemolytic anemia, iron-deficiency anemia, vitamin-deficiency anemia, sickle-cell anemia, and aplastic anemia.  Each form of anemia has distinct causes and hence, different treatments.  Contrast that to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine who think that all forms of anemia are signs that the flow of vital energy or qi, the body’s life giving energy force that makes the body healthy has stagnated because of blockages in its flow or it means that the body produces inadequate amounts of good-quality blood. To address this condition, they adopt certain techniques to energize the organ systems to improve the flow of qi and create more and better quality of blood. What treatment to be used will depend on the patient’s manifested symptoms.

Acupuncture for Anemia

Acupuncture is a kind of TCM modality that involves the application of thin, long needles inserted at specific parts on the body known as acupuncture points to restore the normal flow of qi.  For anemia therapy, acupuncture needles are inserted at the pathways of qi known as meridians to help enhance qi flow to the stomach and spleen system.  Needles can also be inserted at other meridians to enhance the flow of qi to the liver. The liver, according to TCM, is the organ system that maintains good flow of blood throughout the body and is also the organ system where blood is stored.

Acupuncturists often needle these common acupuncture points to treat anemia:

Stomach 36 – The Stomach 36 point is found on the meridian of the stomach system and is known as Foot Three Mile or Zu San Li; this means that treatment of this point can help treat fatigue enabling you to walk much farther, maybe for an extra 3 miles more. The point strengthens both blood and qi and also helps improve the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients and to enhance digestion.

Liver 8 – This is the liver meridian and is known as Spring at the Crook or Qu Quan. This point is a commonly treated point to help tonify the liver system which is usually associated with disorders of the blood. Liver 8 nourishes the blood and strengthens both the blood and yin of the body.

Spleen 10 – this spleen meridian acupuncture point is known as Sea of Blood or Xue Hai and is needled to tonify and invigorate the blood that can result in the treatment of many types of disorders of the blood.

Anemia Therapy Using Chinese Herbal Medicine

For the resolution of anemia using Chinese herbal medicine, single herbs and herbal compound mixtures may be used.  Different kinds of herbs can help boost or improve the production of qi and high quality blood. They may include:

White peony rhizome or Bai Shao – this remedy is to astrnge yin and nourish blood.
Rehmannia or Sheng Di – this formula in its processed form is known as Shu Di. Rehmannia helps generate fluids and nourish yin.
Deer antler or Lu rong – used for tonifying qi and blood and for strengthening yang
Astragalus propinquus or Huang qi – tonifies spleen qi and blood.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) or Gan cao – tonifies stomach qi and spleen.
Pilose asiabell [radix codonopsis pilosulae radix and Codonopsis pilosulae] or Dang shen – to help augment body energy and nourish the blood
Angelica (Archangelica spp.) or Dang gui – helps dispel cold, tonifies blood and harmonizes and invigorates the blood
White Atractylodes rhizome (Atractylodis macrocephalae) or Bai zhu – tonifies the spleen and supplements qi

A lot of times, TCM’s way of treating disorders is to apply Chinese herbal medicine along with complementary modalities.  The TCM remedy that is a classical formula for deficiency of blood is Four Ingredient Decoction or Si Wu Tang. It is made up of Chuan Xiong, Dang Gui, Bai Shao and Shu Di.  Some other equally potent formulas that help produce more blood is Angelica Tonify the Blood Decoction or Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang. This formula contains only two herbs: Huang Qi and Dang Gui.  A number of assorted remedies are available to treat specific aspects of anemia in line with the medical presentation of the patient.  They include Zhou’s Anemia Formula, Zhang’s Anemia Formula, Yi Xue Sheng, Ye Xue Jing, Xue Bao Hau Jia, and Sheng Xue Jiao Nang; these are all herbal formulas that have been experimented on and have been verified to be effective in treating many types of anemia.

Anemia Treatment Using Tui Na Massage

Tui Na massage therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years and its foundation is similar to that of acupuncture. Like acupuncture Tui Na massage entails the stimulation of the meridians to normalize the flow of qi, and bring balance to yin and yang in the body.  Certain Tui Na therapists may concentrate on hand and foot massage to normalize qi flow throughout the body and better the production of blood in the spleen.

Acupuncture for Eczema

April 18, 2014   

Eczema sufferers may be happy to know that Chinese medicine has been proven a very successful treatment for this chronic skin condition. Eczema responds very well to both the traditional Chinese medicine modalities of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.  Western medicine modes of treatment for eczema include the use of cortisone topical creams and other kinds of steroids that can aid in the removal of the lesions. The drawback to these treatments is that they do not prevent the condition from happening again.  A person experiencing recurring or chronic eczema may discover that Chinese medicine is a safer and more effective way of dealing with this skin problem.

How does Chinese Medicine Treat Eczema?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) states that eczema is a delayed allergic reaction that is generated by aggravated external and internal factors. This means that eczema can arise from environmental factors or due to the state of your health. Certain individuals can also be genetically predisposed to it.  TCM believes that there are 3 classifications by which eczema is categorized:

Dietary irregularities – long term consumption of alcohol and sugary, greasy, or spicy foods can eventually weaken the body making it vulnerable to skin conditions such as weepy, red or itchy sores. This is because there is a gradual build up of toxins in the body due to undigested foods.  TCM looks into these three factors that can occur all at the same time in severe cases, and then treats them all at once.

Internal factors – They may arise due to an imbalance inside the body that may be the reason for the skin reaction. Internal factors may involve a hereditary condition, a longstanding illness preceding the eczema, or a problem in any of the organ systems.  The imbalance is oftentimes unremitting and chronic.

External factors – These types of factors cause hypersensitivity toward his/her environment and may involve exposure to toxic chemicals, asthma, frequent cold infections, seasonal allergies or hay fever. The sensitivity can result in acute episodes of eczema, often seasonal, or an aggravation of the sickness due to changes in the weather.

The use of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can lead to the following results:

-The removal of toxins from the skin, resulting in the treatment of the weepy, red or itchy sores
-The treatment and balance of the internal organ systems that may contribute to the development of eczema
-The strengthening of the immune system, helping lessen sensitivity to environmental and external hazards in the process

Traditional Chinese medicine is different to that of western medicine in that the treatment of skin problems entails a slow gradual process. The reason for this is that the body takes a while to regain its internal balance unlike western medicine which is to resolve the condition temporarily or topically. With TCM, the whole body is treated instead of only the affected parts of the skin as western medicine is wont to do. The whole treatment may take months to accomplish depending on how long the patient has had his/her eczema. TCM believes that when the skin becomes affected by a chronic condition, it can be a sign that the overall health of the patient has been weakened for a long time now.  When you go for acupuncture treatment, positive skin changes may be seen just right after the treatment session has ended.  Chinese herbal formula taken daily and acupuncture given for a month or two can give significant results within weeks.  As your skin condition gets better, acupuncture treatment may not be required regularly although Chinese herbal medicine needs to be taken daily. The length of your herbal treatment may depend on the severity of your symptoms.  One of the advantages of this treatment plan is that you will be less likely to have a repeat of your eczema ever again.

Other Modalities for the Treatment of Eczema

Diet has a significant role to play in the treatment of eczema.  Along with acupuncture, your acupuncturist may advice that you adhere to dietary guidelines that can exclude foods that may be causing your eczema. Also he may recommend supplements and vitamins that quicken the healing of your skin problem. Your acupuncturist may also recommend on the skin care products and topical treatments to use to help you heal and care for your skin

 

Eva Paglialonga is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in Miami, FL and the medical director of Needles and Moxa Wellness Center.

Acupuncture for Tinnitus

April 9, 2014   

Fortunately for tinnitus patients, there are many kinds of treatments to cure this vexing condition. This article will focus only on traditional acupuncture, a proven therapy that works for a lot of tinnitus patients, as seen in numerous studies.

We will see what acupuncture treatment for tinnitus is all about and the processes that the patient needs to undergo to cure tinnitus. Hopefully, this article will give you a much more coherent understanding regardless of tinnitus treatment using acupuncture if you are considering acupuncture or not for your condition.

Before anything else, it is important to ascertain if you have tinnitus or not. A lot of individuals go see their doctor to figure out if they merely have accumulated wax in their ears or other kinds of ear problems. After the doctor has ascertained that you are indeed suffering from tinnitus, then the next thing he needs to figure out is what type of tinnitus you have.

For certain people with tinnitus, the main thing they hear is their pulse or beating of their heart.  This type of tinnitus is referred to as pulsatile tinnitus.  In certain occasions, individuals will endure sleepless nights due to the disturbing ringing noise constantly ringing noise in their ears.  This problem directly affects their life, especially their work and performance. This also affects their mood making them experience worries, anxiety, depression; sometimes, they may even end up being suicidal.

These factors make it imperative to know the severity of your tinnitus and the only way to figure this out is to consult with your doctor. You need to be aware of every bit of information you have of your condition so that you may also know what measures you need to use to best deal with your condition. Now that you are sure that you are suffering from tinnitus, and also know what kind of tinnitus it is, you can then consider going to an acupuncturist to have it treated the natural way.  This time, it is important that you search for an acupuncture clinic near your area. You also need to be sure that the acupuncturist you choose is a licensed practitioner who can truly and effectively treat your ear problem.

Acupuncture is a natural type of medical treatment and the treatment process usually entails more than one session of therapy. Acupuncture is an on going process where results may be seen after weeks or even months; moreover, the more serious your tinnitus is, the longer will be your treatment.  You need to be patient when you decide to go for acupuncture treatment.

Besides the need for patience, having a good attitude towards acupuncture is also important. When you come in for treatment, you need to be relaxed to enable yourself to receive optimal benefits from the treatment.  Studies have shown that relaxation and an optimistic way of thinking can provide the best positive impact in treating tinnitus using acupuncture.

One of the biggest problems about acupuncture is the use of needles. A lot of people are reluctant to go for acupuncture treatment mainly because they are scared of the thought of needles being inserted at certain parts of their body. The thing about the needles is that they are ten times smaller than the conventional needles used in hospitals to draw blood, or inject fluids. Therefore, these acupuncture needles do not really cause any pain at all when they are inserted in a person’s body.

Finally, acupuncture for the treatment of tinnitus does not guarantee that your tinnitus will be fully cured.  There are indeed instances were acupuncture has completely cured patients of their tinnitus but there are also cases were acupuncture has not been successful in resolving the symptoms.  Acupuncture can help treat your tinnitus but it may or may not be able to cure it.

 

Dale Roach, MD,L.Ac
178 Myrtle Blvd
Larchmont, NY 10538
Phone: 914-562-5748
http://www.docacupuncture.com/

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

April 4, 2014   

Acupuncture is the quintessential representation of all things Chinese. Clinical studies done by medical professionals using Chinese medicine, body acupuncture and auricular acupuncture combined with other modalities can provide treatment for obesity and excess weight not only in an effective and safe manner but in the treatment of physical decline, diarrhea, anorexia and other side effects.

Acupuncture regulates the function of the endocrine system, inhibits the appetite, helps limit food intake and inhibits fat absorption digestion by regulating the gastrointestinal function to improve the body’s absorption of nutrients. It also helps improve the body’s energy storage and intake. Acupuncture can also improve metabolism, enhance energy consumption, and help accelerate the breakdown and burning of fat leading ultimately to lose of excess weight.

By stimulating the acupuncture points, acupuncture likewise stimulates the meridians underneath these points improving the function of the kidneys and reinforcing the spleen. The treatment also removes the obstruction that stagnate the flow of Qi. Along with a healthy diet the body is able to burn fat and lose weight quickly in the process.

Does acupuncture weight loss really work?

Acupuncturists who have been helping a lot of their overweight patients lose weight answer that with an emphatic YES. Some people who have already lost weight using acupuncture keep on coming back to lose more weight and attain the weight that they have desired for a long time. Acupuncture, under the hands of a skilled and certified acupuncturist can help you lose weight in a safe, effective and easy manner.

Acupuncture for Eczema

April 4, 2014   

Eczema is the term used to describe a variety of recurring skin problems, including dryness and particularly recurring skin rashes that have a single or multiple symptoms such as bleeding, oozing, cracking, blistering, flaking, crusting, dryness, itching, swelling or edema, or redness.

The rash can develop on any part of the skin, but unlike psoriasis, the rash usually develops on the flexor, inner, softer surfaces of the skin. Also, unlike psoriasis, there is absence of build-up of scaly plaque.

Diagnosis of Chinese Medicine

A Chinese diagnosis is made of skin rashes based on the qualities of the lesions. The condition may be caused by blood deficiency if the skin shows dryness. If the skin looks red, the patient may be suffering from inflammation (heat) in the blood- the more red the skin, the more heat is in the blood. This condition usually worsens in hot weather. Overwhelming cases of eczema are due to inflammation (heat) in the blood.

The skin condition may mean blood stagnation if the lesions show a purplish color. Heat may be present is there is any itching and the more itching is felt, the more heat is present in the body. A skin that shows oozing or blisters signifies that the patient is suffering from a damp condition according to Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture

Studies have revealed that acupuncture can help relieve the itch caused by eczema. One particular crossover, placebo-controlled,  randomized, blinded trial demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture on type I hypersensitivity itch as well as the flare and wheal reactions in adults suffering from atopic eczema. The researchers compared no acupuncture, placebo acupuncture and true acupuncture (at traditional acupuncture points) and discovered that when using the correct points, acupuncture provided a substantial decrease in type I hypersensitivity itch in subjects with atopic eczema. Over the course of time, the preventive point-specific effect lessened vis-à-vis the subjective itch sensation, and at the same time inhibiting skin-prick reactions.

Chinese Herbal Therapy

Chinese herbal medicine is considered the main form of treatment used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners for eczema.  Formulas are customized for the patient in question, since no two cases have the same exact combination of blood stagnation, blood deficiency dampness or heat. A certain formula may be composed of herbs added to offset the degree of heat, etc. manifested by the patient.

Diet

Based on both modern research and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), dairy products fats, eggs and animal flesh are the primary promoters of eczema. Atopic skin disorders can be caused by food allergies so it is wise to undergo a food allergy test. Gluten in kamut, spelt, barley, rye, wheat and related grains can cause skin rashes in some individuals. Animal products though, are the more typical triggers.

Too much consumption of processed vegetable oils and sugar can lead to inflammation, so limiting thee items are recommended.  Acupuncturists and other TCM practitioners recommend a low allergen diet consisting of nuts, seeds, legumes fruits and vegetables. Thee foods have anti-inflammatory attributes and skin-healing nutrients such as healthy fats, zinc, and vitamin A.

 

Dr. Jack Handlin is an experienced acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and oriental reproductive medicine specialist at Tree of Life Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in Bellevue, WA.