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Acupuncture for Itching

May 9, 2014

Acupuncture is a very unique type of oriental healing technique that is very effective in relieving itch. If you are considering using it for the first time, you need to consult with your doctor first.

Causes of Itching

There are many causes of itching and they can range from damaged nerves to dry skin. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology categorizes itching into four types:

Psychogenic – This type of itch can be caused by imbalances in levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in your body. Psychogenic itching is usually treated with antipsychotic and antidepressant medicines.
Neurogenic – This type of itching happens with kidney and chronic liver disease
Neuropathic – This can be caused by problems in the nervous system
Pruriceptive – This can be due to skin damage resulting from conditions like inflammation, eczema and drug reactions

Acupuncture Treatment for Itching

In treating itching acupuncturists first need to evaluate the symptoms of their patients to customize treatments that address their patients’ particular needs. Acupuncture is uniquely customized that each patient usually gets different treatment even if they have the same medical complaint. Acupuncture points identified for a specific type of itch can be different for another type of itch. For example, an acupoint for the Gallbladder organ located on the thigh indicates for itchy, red skin is needled. An acupoint associated with the Urinary bladder located in the back near the spine is treated if the patient is suffering from eczema. For generalized itching, acne and hives, acupoints connected to the Urinary bladder is treated.


Studies published in the 2010 edition of the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology showed that acupuncture treatments lessened the duration, distribution and intensity of itching. The journal also noted that the studies involved low numbers of episodes or single-case studies which imply that even if acupuncture showed its efficacy for treating itch, more testing and research are required to verify its effectiveness.


There is not doubt that acupuncture is now a popular type of treatment in the United States. It is considered to be a safe procedure with few side effects, if any at all. However, if done by an inexperienced or untrained practitioner, acupuncture can have negative effects that can include punctured organs due to incorrectly placed needles or infections from unsterile needles. If you want to make sure you are given safe care, check the credentials of your acupuncturist and never select an acupuncturist who possesses no traditional medical training.


Vital Gate Acupuncture
107 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-4244