Eczema and Dermatitis

Chronic skin conditions are often treated by Chinese medicine with great success. Eczema, which here can be combined with the treatment of dermatitis, is one of those conditions that respond very well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Conventional treatments for eczema consist of topical creams containing cortisone or other steroids which can help lesions to disappear, but may not prevent them from recurring. If you are someone who suffers from chronic or recurring eczema, you can use Chinese medicine to effectively treat and eliminate the problem.

How does Chinese Medicine Treat Eczema?

Eczema is a complex condition that can have many different manifestations. According to Chinese medicine, eczema is a delayed allergic reaction that arises from compounding internal and external factors. This means that the disease can be caused or affected by the state of your general health as well as environmental factors. Some people may also have an inherited susceptibility to it. In Chinese medicine, there are 3 specific categories by which eczema is classified:

  • External factors. These factors create an individual sensitivity to the external environment. This includes issues like hay fever or seasonal allergies, catching of frequent colds, asthma or toxic chemical exposure. This kind of sensitivity leads to acute flare-ups of eczema, usually seasonal, or a worsening of the condition when the weather makes certain changes.
  • Internal factors. These factors are a result of an internal imbalance in the body that is causing the skin to react. This can include a weakness in any of the organ systems, chronic illness of another kind that preceded the eczema, or a hereditary deficiency. This issue is usually chronic and unremitting.
  • Dietary irregularities. Chronic intake of spicy, greasy or sugary foods and alcohol over time will deplete the body. This issue actually creates a climate in the body for itchy, red or weepy sores as the body becomes unable to process and eliminate toxic buildup from undigested material. Chinese medicine takes into consideration these three factors, which often times can be compounded together in severe cases, and addresses them simultaneously. Using acupuncture and Chinese herbs, treatments help by:

  • Strengthening the immune system, thereby decreasing your sensitivity to external or environmental hazards.

  • Balancing the internal organ systems and treating the internal imbalance that is contributing to or causing eczema.
  • Releasing toxins from the skin, thereby eliminating the itchy, red or weepy sores.

How Fast will it Work?

Unlike western medicine, Chinese medicine in the treatment of skin conditions is not a quick fix. This is because it takes longer to balance the body from the inside out, rather than just eliminate the problem topically or temporarily. However, the treatment of our whole body, rather than just the skin, is the key to eliminating eczema and not just covering it up. This process, depending on how long you’ve suffered from eczema, can take up to several months. According to Chinese medicine, when a chronic condition has settled in the skin, it is an indication that the person’s general health has been compromised for quite a long time. In general, you may begin to see changes in your skin soon after treatment begins. However, after 1 to 2 months of acupuncture treatment, coupled with Chinese herbs taken daily, you will begin to see more significant changes. At this point, acupuncture becomes less important than herbal medicine and you may decide to continue with a daily Chinese herbal formula with monthly or bi-monthly acupuncture treatments. How long you will take herbs depends on the severity of your condition. The benefit of this treatment strategy is that, when treated with Chinese medicine, you are less likely to have a recurrence of eczema again in your life.

What Other Tools am I given to Ensure Effective Treatment?

As mentioned above, diet plays a tremendous role in eczema. Your acupuncturist will give you detailed dietary guidelines to help you eliminate the foods that may be perpetuating the problem. Likewise, advice on vitamins and supplements can be an added tool to resolving eczema quickly. Your acupuncturist can also advise you on topical treatments and healthy skin care products that can help soothe and heal the skin.