The subject of skin conditions is one that hits close to home for me. My oldest son started to develop eczema when he was about 3 months old. By 9 months the eczema had spread from the back of his arms to most of his body, except his trunk and scalp. I tried all the conventional medical treatments which included hydrocortisone creams, other prescription eczema creams, baths with a small amount of bleach (can you believe the dermatologist recommended that) and nothing worked. I was reluctant to continue such harsh ineffective treatment, so I took it upon myself to become on expert in Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) Treatments for treating eczema and other skin conditions.
How Can Acupuncture Help Skin Conditions?
Many inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, hives and psoriasis are due in part to an overactive immune system response. The exact mechanisms that causes this type of skin conditions is still unknown, but many people with skin conditions may have additional immune related issues such as asthma or allergies (1). Treatments with acupuncture are effective because they help regulate the overactive immune response and reduce inflammation (2). Acupuncture can also address some of the other underlying factors for inflammatory skin conditions such as stress, hormone imbalances, food sensitivities and poor diet.
Lung/Large Intestine-Skin-Immune Connection
In TCM the lung-large intestine network governs the skin and functions roughly like the western equivalent of the immune system. This relationship between the skin and the lung network is not surprising when you consider that the skin is our first line of defense against environmental pathogens and is the largest organ in the human body! The large intestine contains gut-associated lymphoid tissue, which also has a large role in our immune defense system. From the TCM perspective, when the lung-large intestine network is out of balance, skin problems, allergies and/or asthma may result.
Treatment of Skin Problems
A standard course of acupuncture therapy plus herbal therapy are the first step to treating skin problems. Supplements such as fish oil, high quality probiotics, and bioflavanoids (like green tea and quercetin) are often beneficial for skin problems. Dietary changes and elimination diets are also effective if an underlying digestive issue is suspected. Gluten and dairy intolerance are often seen in inflammatory conditions so eliminating these foods is often beneficial in resolving the condition.
If you are someone you know suffers from a skin condition and they would like to see if acupuncture can help, please contact Robin at (408) 776-0420 for a complimentary consultation.