Is itchy skin keeping you from sleeping, working, or even thinking straight? You’re not alone. Eczema is a common condition that affects over 31 million Americans. Acupuncture for eczema can help.
Unfortunately, Western medicine has little to offer those who suffer from the relentless itching and irritation of eczema, aside from temporary relief from topical creams and steroids.
Thankfully, there is a better way to heal your skin: acupuncture. Oriental medicine offers safe and effective treatment options for a range of skin issues, including eczema. Read on to learn how acupuncture can help you reduce your eczema symptoms and heal your skin from the root.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by extreme itchiness, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, and blisters. While it is most common in children, it can begin during any stage of life.
The exact cause of eczema is still unknown, but what researchers do know is that it usually develops as an overreaction of the immune system.
The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. But there are actually seven different types of this skin condition:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is a common form of eczema where the immune system overreacts to triggers and inflammation damages the skin barrier. This leaves it dry, itchy, and prone to infection.
- Contact dermatitis: This form of eczema occurs when your skin has direct contact with an allergen (like a certain type of soap or fabric).
- Dyshidrotic eczema: Dyshydrotic eczema causes small, itchy blisters to appear on the hands and feet.
- Nummular eczema: Nummular eczema causes round, scattered, itchy and oozing patches of skin all over the body. It is usually caused by a skin trauma or allergy to an irritant.
- Neurodermatitis: This type of eczema is usually contained to one or two patches of itchy, leathery skin. Rather than relieving the itch, scratching tends to make this type of eczema worse.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by excess yeast that lives on the skin’s surface, usually near areas with oil-producing glands (nose, eyebrows, scalp, upper back).
- Stasis dermatitis: This form of eczema, also called venous eczema, is related to poor circulation in the legs. Along with itching and scales, you may also have swelling of the feet and skin discoloration.
Eczema: The Oriental Medicine Perspective
Western medicine treatments for eczema focus on symptomatic relief. Antihistamines, moisturizers, and topical creams are commonly prescribed to reduce itching and inflammation. While these may reduce itching temporarily, they don’t treat the root cause of the problem.
Oriental medicine takes a different approach. In addition to using treatments that stop itching and reduce inflammation, acupuncture and herbal formulas also work at a deeper level to correct the imbalances that lead to eczema in the first place. Imbalances vary from person to person but are often related to weakened qi (energy) and pathogenic factors like dampness and heat.
Once these issues are resolved, Oriental medicine helps support the regenerative of healthy, resilient skin and a robust immune system.
Causes of Eczema in Oriental Medicine
Heat is one of the main causes of eczema and other inflammatory skin disorders. Heat does not necessarily mean your body temperature is too high, but that there is an excess of yang energy. Yang is what creates the warmth in our body, but if there is too much of this (or too little yin, cooling energy) it can start to affect the skin.
Dampness is another main cause of eczema. People who have a lot of dampness (better known as fluid retention or swelling) are more likely to develop issues like eczema.
Dampness and heat can occur together, which is often the case in eczema. As Dr. Ko explains, “when the body has too much heat and the body becomes so dry and it cracks easily. Also, a man’s testicles, a woman’s groin, or other areas like those are prone to moisture, so you should always keep them clean. People with a lot of heat should not go to hot places, and people with a lot dampness should not go to the water. Otherwise oozing and eczema develops.”
Acupuncture for Eczema: How it Works
Oriental medicine has been used to resolve skin conditions like eczema for centuries. If you have struggled to get lasting relief for your eczema with conventional topical medicines, acupuncture and herbal formulas may help. Here’s how Oriental medicine and acupuncture work to reduce symptoms and reduce the root causes of eczema naturally:
- Acupuncture relieves itching.
When itching affects your daily quality of life, you want relief fast. Studies show that acupuncture works as well as oral antihistamines to alleviate eczema symptoms like itching – without the unwanted side effects.
- Acupuncture clears harmful inflammation and calms the overactive immune response.
Inflammation causes a vicious cycle for people with eczema. Inflammation itself isn’t a harmful process – inflammation is a necessary immune response that helps us fight infections and heal tissues.
But in the case of eczema, the immune system overreacts to harmless substances, causing a chronic state of inflammation. Over time, this inflammation begins to damage the tissues, which leaves the skin even more vulnerable to dryness, itching, peeling, and infection. The immune system senses this damage and mounts a bigger response, with even more inflammation.
Acupuncture helps to stop this cycle by reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system. Studies show that certain acupoints are effective in clearing unnecessary, harmful inflammation. With less inflammation, the skin can heal and itching can subside.
- Acupuncture eases stress.
Did you know that stress can cause or worsen eczema? Chronic stress depletes your body’s energy, throws your hormones off balance, and weakens the immune system. This leaves the skin more vulnerable to conditions like eczema.
Thankfully, acupuncture is a simple, proven way to reduce your stress and enhance your body’s resilience. Several studies show that acupuncture has both an immediate and long-term effect on stress levels. Less stress leads to a balanced immune system and fewer eczema flare-ups.
- Acupuncture and herbal medicine restore the skin’s natural barrier.
A weakened skin barrier is a key factor in chronic eczema flares. The weaker the skin’s barrier, the more susceptible it is to external triggers and infections.
Both acupuncture and herbal medicine help to restore the skin’s natural barrier by promoting tissue healing and regeneration. Studies show that these therapies help stop issues (like pruritus and oozing) that continue to weaken the barrier, while also supporting healthy skin cell renewal.
- Acupuncture relieves itching.
- Acupuncture and herbal formulas address your unique imbalances.
Many of Dr. Ko’s patients have seen promising results with herbal medicine for clearing heat and eliminating dampness, such as Huang Lian Jie Du Tang or Xiao Feng San. While inflammation and immune imbalance are factors for everyone with eczema, each person has their own unique root causes. Through the lens of Oriental medicine, we tailor your treatments and herbal formulas to your unique skin presentation and constitution.
Dr. Ko’s Tips for Managing Eczema Flares Naturally
Dr. Ko has successfully helped people overcome stubborn health conditions like eczema with Oriental medicine for over 30 years. Along with a personalized treatment plan, he also recommends that his patients follow a few lifestyle tips to get the best results:
- Know and avoid your triggers.
Our goal for treatment is to regulate your immune system so your body stops overreacting to triggers. However, avoiding those things that stimulate itching while your body finds balance is the best way to keep your symptoms at bay. Keep track of what things set off your eczema flares (like certain soaps, detergents, or even foods). Avoiding these triggers and taking good care of your skin helps prevent unnecessary discomfort and allows your body to heal faster.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
No matter what causes your eczema flares, inflammation in the body will make them worse. Inflammatory foods like sugar, alcohol, processed food, and dairy causes internal inflammation that keeps the immune system in a heightened, overreactive state. That’s why eating a diet full of foods that prevent or reduce inflammation can help you reduce itchiness while balancing your immune system.
- Stay consistent with your acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine doses.
Consistency is key when using acupuncture and Oriental medicine to manage eczema. Each treatment builds upon itself to help you bring your body into a healthy balance and eliminate the root causes of eczema. To get faster, long-term relief from eczema, follow your treatment plan and our lifestyle recommendations.
Get Eczema Relief in Studio City, LA
Eczema can be a frustrating condition, especially when itching interferes with your daily life. The good news is that there are natural solutions that can help you heal your skin and stop the itch for good.
Treatment of eczema with modern medicine is temporary. For example, steroids can provide temporary help, but it gets worse later on. With oriental medicine, it takes time because it treats the root, but it doesn’t recur after treatment is over. If you start treatment with Oriental medicine from the beginning, your eczema will heal faster and more completely.
120 Acupuncture in Studio City offers natural and effective treatment plans that help you get to the root of eczema and other skin conditions.
Ready to find relief? Book your appointment here, or call us at 1-818-980-7979.