Acupuncture for Eczema & Dermatitis
Eczema refers to skin inflammation with an underlying cause, whereas dermatitis is a reaction to the environment. There are several types of eczema, all of which are treatable by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Atopic eczema is a condition seen in both children and adults and is often linked to childhood asthma. Recent research 1 shows that it affects at least 1 in 5 infants in Western countries, but onset may be delayed until later. There is often a family history of allergic dermatitis. Most patients have remission by puberty, although some may later relapse. Seborrheic eczema mainly affects the hair-bearing parts of the body, where the seborrheic glands are most numerous: it occurs mostly in young and middle aged people. Other types of eczema include discoid or nummular eczema, characterised by multiple, coin shaped lesions which are extremely itchy and hand/foot eczema, the most commonly seen type. This type of eczema can be classified into four types: weeping papules (small raised spots), dry, cracked and horny skin, chronic eczema with remission and infected eczema.
The orthodox treatment for eczema does not aim to cure, but to manage the symptoms. Emollients to reduce itching, and topical steroids to reduce the inflammation, are the main types of treatment offered.
Diagnosis and treatment of eczema in western medicine is based on the management of symptoms at the time of presentation and will often include the use of steroids, whilst these may block the symptoms they do not treat the underlying cause. In TCM, diagnosis and treatment of eczema and related conditions is based upon an in-depth consultation which involves identifying the causative factors of the condition. Treatment is based upon a number of factors including physical and emotional signs and symptoms. During a treatment, the practitioner will work with the patient to balance their body and mind. For example, much attention is given to the detail of the patient’s lifestyle, diet, exercise and previous history. Other practices, such as Chi Kung and T’ai Chi, flowing forms of exercise, may also be recommended to help the patient’s symptoms and enable them to manage their health in a constructive way.
Is Acupuncture Helpful in the treatment of Eczema?
Much of the research undertaken into the efficacy of TCM and eczema has been done in China. Good results have been reported using herbal treatments: acupuncture combined with herbs can be effective in dealing with other signs and symptoms. For example, 2 Zhao (2004) showed good results using acupuncture and moxibustion. Using a different adjunctive treatment to acupuncture, 3 Wang et al demonstrated an 87% recovery rate in their patients.
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I first visited Sean in 2004 whilst pregnant with my second child. I was in the throws of morning sickness and felt utterly miserable and unable to function. I had a course of Acupuncture treatment which worked miracles, even after my first session. My sickness abated and my mood lifted. I felt like a different person. The treatment is not painful; I find it very relaxing and often nod off!
I have been back to the clinic on and off ever since. Nadine treated me for my Eczema, which had resisted steroid creams and antihistamines for over 12 years. I had a course of 5 sessions and it is now completely cured. The difference was remarkable after the first treatment. I am a very nervous flier and have been to see Nadine and Nalinee before my last two flights. This kept me calm and well – not the usual gibbering vomiting wreck I normally am.
I am currently bringing my 5 year old daughter, Katie to see Sean and Nalinee. She had a nasty case of Eczema on her legs and was suffering from regular recurring bouts of Tonsillitis. Her Eczema has completely gone and she has only had one reoccurrence of Tonsillitis in the past few months, which only lasted 24 hours. Her general health has improved, she is now dry at night and sleeps much better than she did. As well as the Acupuncture, Sean has shown me massage techniques to use on Katie each night, and has advised me on her diet.
Katie loves going to the clinic; all the staff are brilliant with her. She tends to giggle her way through her treatments. For us, Acupuncture has worked 100% and I would certainly recommend Sean and his team to anyone.
Alfie Borrill (2005)
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At 15 months my son got eczema from head to foot. It was like a volcanic eruption. He was itching, bleeding and in a terrible way. I had no hesitation in taking him to Sean’s clinic. Some people were quite alarmed that I was taking him for acupuncture but as soon as I walked into the clinic I felt a huge weight being lifted. The acupuncturist was great with my son and after 2 sessions he was actually offering his arm or hand to them for treatment and never flinched! After 6 weeks of acupuncture and a herbal ointment his skin looked amazing. The itching had gone and my son was once again sleeping like a baby at night. To look at him now you wouldn’t know he has eczema.
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I came to the clinic in September 2010 suffering mainly with anxiety and bouts of depressive moods, feeling low and sad. I had no energy, feeling very fatigued and depressed most of the time and finding it difficult to motivate myself to enjoy my retirement as I should.
I explained my state of mind to my acupuncturist. I felt “low” most of the time, plagued by negative thoughts and even low self esteem. I had been feeling like this for some time after illness and personal relationship and family problems. I have had eczema on my buttocks when the anxiety was at its highest. One month before my treatment at the clinic, I even had nosebleeds. I saw my doctor and he gave me some anti-biotics, but the nosebleeds continued with unexplained headaches when I felt stressed. I know now that these were caused by tension and stress.
I am delighted to say that my rash, the nosebleeds and headaches have stopped after my treatment. I felt very well and strong after the fourth session.
I had six sessions within less than five weeks and I am also relieved from my anxiety and dark thoughts. I feel positive and I have regained my usual energy. I feel confident and no longer anxious and frightened, able to face normal every day challenges.
I intend to continue my treatment, to have at least two sessions per month and then one session.
This is not the first time that I have had acupuncture in my life, but I would say that this latest experience has been spectacular and I would encourage anyone to try it.
1 Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare (2009) Eczema in children is increasing, but diet is not the cause, http://www.iqwig.de/eczema-in-children-is-increasing-but-diet-is-not.847.en.html
2 Wang, Q., Atanassov, I, Zhao, H. (2004) Clinical observation on treatment of eczema by acupuncture plus collateral-pricking and cupping: a report of 54 cases Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, Vol. 2, No 1 p37-38
3 Zhao S M (2004) Treatment of eczema by acupuncture and moxibustion Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, Vol 2, No 1 p39
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