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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.