Treating Eczema with Acupuncture

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on June 26, 2013

Eczema is a skin condition that falls under the category of atopic dermatitis, indicating that eczema rashes and flare-ups are a result of contact with certain irritants and allergens. In the case of eczema however there could be both internal and external factors.


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The red patches of itchy skin that develop with eczema could be a response to allergens such as dust mites, foods, medications or cosmetics or as a result of a weak immunity, chronic respiratory condition and digestive problems. There is also a strong possibility that eczema may be hereditary. Today, a disproportionately large amount of children suffer from eczema and carry this affliction well into adulthood.

While there are medications and over-the-counter creams and lotions that are available to help reduce the severity of the rash and symptoms such as inflammation and itchiness, there is no known cure for eczema. Experts are now investigating the efficacy of alternative treatments to prevent flare-ups and control symptoms. A surprisingly effective treatment for eczema is acupuncture. Based on the principles of ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture uses fine surgical steel needles to stimulate various acupuncture pressure points all over the body. These acupuncture points provide the path to specific nerves and energy meridians and help regulate the immune and endocrine systems. Different acupuncture points have different functions depending on where they are located.

Chinese medicine refers to eczema as 'skin asthma'. This is an accurate term as a large number of cases of childhood eczema are linked with asthma or some type of respiratory ailment or allergic reaction. Chinese medicine uses acupuncture to treat the body in its entirety. It approaches all skin conditions as a reflection of disharmony in some part of the body. Therefore, according to the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, no amount of external creams or lotions will help cure a skin rash. Only when the internal cause of the problem is addressed will true healing take place. In Chinese medicine, any problems with the skin are the result of an imbalance in the lungs, kidneys or digestive system. A person who suffers from eczema or any skin condition may be unable to convert the nutrition derived from food into the proper energy required to protect the body from inflammations and infections. Weak energy translates into low immunity and a tendency to fall sick more often and suffer from excessive toxins within the system.

Some studies show that acupuncture can treat eczema and prevent flare-ups, especially in children. Treatment usually lasts between a few weeks to three months but can vary from person to person depending on the severity of the symptoms. For skin disorders, acupuncture points are located along the legs, arms and middle region of the body. The needles may be placed for ten minute to an hour at a time and in some severe cases may also use heat or a mild electrical charge to induce healing and recovery.

Although no long-term studies have been conducted to determine the effects on acupuncture in treating eczema and other skin conditions, initial research indicates acupuncture may be able to help treat a variety of skin conditions such as pruritis, herpes zoster, and atopic dermatitis when combined with traditional herbal medication and lifestyle changes.

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