What is Eczema?
Eczema is a term that describes an inflammatory skin condition with itchy, red and inflamed skin that can ooze fluid and develop crusting of the skin. Eczema and atopic dermatitis are terms that are often interchanged. Eczema is most often seen in people with a family history of “atopic conditions” including eczema, asthma, hayfever. It is also quite common for eczema sufferers to also have asthma and/or hayfever. Eczema is not contagious.
What causes eczema?
Eczema is caused by an over-active immune system and is believed to be inherited. Some people have eczema in response to certain allergens including dust mites, pollens, certain foods, cosmetics and medications.
Eczema is often aggravated by wearing woolen or fibrous clothing on the skin, overheating, allowing the skin to become too dry, exposure to allergens including cat and dog fur. Eczema will often worsen during periods of stress, and from exposure to cigarette smoke.
Secondary infections can worsen eczema, bacterial infections or herpes virus are most commonly involved.
What does Chinese Medicine say about Eczema?
As with all treatment approaches with Chinese Medicine, we always look at the full picture of each client to see exactly how the disharmony in their body is manifesting in order to understand how illness has developed. Only then can you truly receive a treatment that will address the underlying cause of your condition. There are some common factors that appear in skin conditions however.
In Chinese Medicine theory, it is the Metal element and the Lungs that govern the skin – therefore when something goes wrong with the skin as it does with eczema, we first look at the health of the metal and lung energy.
Signs that the functioning of the lung (lung qi) is weakened are: frequent colds and flu, fatigue, shortness of breath/frequent sighing, dry skin, chronic cough, pale face, allergies.
Chinese Medicine aims to strengthen the Metal and Lung energy as part of a treatment protocol for addressing the underlying cause of eczema.
How does Chinese Medicine treat Eczema?
Chinese Medicine sees all skin conditions as reflecting the internal environment of the body. So, all the creams and lotions in the world can be used on the outside but they’re not necessarily addressing the internal disharmony that is creating the skin problem in the first place.
Acupuncture/Acupressure, Chinese Herbal Medicine and/or Food Therapy will be used to help:
clear any heat that may be present:
reduce redness, inflammation and itching in the skin.
moisten dryness: to promote moistening of the skin and to promote repair of the affected areas.
strengthen qi and nourish yin:
to regulate proper immune function and reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. In some cases, full remission is possible.
Acupuncture/Acupressure will help with clearing heat and regulating qi function and is best employed in conjunction with herbal medicine and/or dietary changes.