Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be an effective treatment for childhood eczema as well as adult eczema.
If you have an itchy, red rash that either comes and goes or seems to never go away, you most likely have a chronic skin condition called eczema, which is a form of atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis is literally an inflammation of the skin. The rash can range in size anywhere from a small area of skin to the entire surface of the body. It looks like a patch of dry skin, and it can be unbearably itchy.
There are two phases to any eczema rash: acute and chronic. The acute phase is characterized by blisters which weep and ooze, while the chronic phase is dry, thick, and scaly. Both stages itch severely. In children who scratch the itchy rash, skin bleeding can also be present.
What causes eczema? Occasionally eczema can be caused by skin contact with an irritant such as a particular type of laundry detergent, perfume, or other chemical. However, eczema is usually the result of an internal imbalance that can be complicated to pinpoint and treat. According to Chinese Medicine, eczema is known as “skin asthma.” And its occurrence has been rapidly increasing in industrialized countries at the same rate as asthma.
There are some theories that growing up in an excessively sterilized environment, being born by C-section and being fed infant formula, and consuming antibiotics that disrupt the delicate microbiota of the body can all greatly increase your chances of developing eczema, asthma, or both. According to Chinese Medicine and Chinese food therapy, as well as other forms of healthcare such as functional medicine, food sensitivities may also play a role in developing eczema. Foods that may need to be avoided include corn, soy, wheat, tree nuts, chocolate, coffee, gluten, nightshades, eggs, cow’s milk, citrus fruit, pasteurized dairy, meats raised with antibiotics, and genetically modified foods.
While external irritants are less likely to be a cause of eczema, it would be wise to avoid direct contact with chemical agents, perfumes, poison oak, weed killers, pesticides, hay, grass, animal dander, and extreme temperatures or high wind. Living in a highly polluted city may also exacerbate the condition, but even in Southern California it shouldn’t be as much of a problem as long as you stay indoors on excessively smoggy days.
The typical allopathic medical treatment for eczema is not particularly effective. Corticosteroid ointments can be applied directly to the rash to alleviate itching, but it won’t stop the rash from occurring. Steroid drugs may be given to suppress the immune system and also force a fight-or-flight response that suppresses the itch. Side effects of steroid drug use include chronic infections, muscle wasting in the arms and legs, and obesity of the torso and neck.
Many are surprised to learn that acupuncture, as well as Chinese herbs, can be extremely effective at eliminating an eczema flare-up. Acupuncture calms the nervous system and can stop itching by 50% after just one treatment. If you live in La Jolla or surrounding areas, your acupuncturist in Del Mar, CA will likely recommend an herbal remedy that is specific to your eczema condition. Your age and the stage of your eczema, as well as your overall body constitution, determine your “pattern diagnosis” and customized treatment.
Depending on how long you have been suffering from eczema, you may require a few months of treatment with acupuncture in the La Jolla, CAarea. Going on an elimination diet to determine food sensitivities, as well as using Chinese herbs recommended by your acupuncturist, can ensure a speedy recovery and prevention of future flare-ups.