Eczema – How does acupuncture see it?

Eczema, from the perspective of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the result of a lack of Defensive-Qi or Wei-Qi. Wei-Qi is a concept of TCM that has a close association to your skin and helps shield your body from external pathogens. The Five Elements Theory is one of the three main theories that make up TCM. This theory states that the Lung (this is capitalized to make it distinct from the one used in scientific terms) system governs your skin which in turn means that it is also responsible for the skin’s health. The Kidney system, on the other hand, contributes to the health maintenance of the skin. The Kidneys are responsible for moistening and nourishing the skin.

Eczema often begins to develop when you are young. It is a condition that usually crops up along with asthma. There are two main forms of eczema, Wind-Heat and Damp-Heat. Wind-Heat is often caused by Lung deficiency) and Damp-Heat (is more associated with the Kidneys). You can see that both types deal with ‘Heat’. This means that eczema always comes with inflammation and redness on the skin. Wind-Heat cases will manifest dry lesions that move from place to place on your body (this movement pattern indicates the presence of Wind in the body). Damp-Heat, on the other hand, will produce oozing lesions which is a sign that there is Dampness in your body. The lesions are often limited to certain parts of your body like the lower legs and forearms.

How does acupuncture treat eczema?

Treatment for eczema that is acute in nature (particularly, some of the Wind-Heat type) is quite an easy treatment to do since the pathogen has had little time settling into your body. TCM practitioners, however, often encounter eczema conditions that are chronic in nature in this society; however, most cases treated by TCM are seen in the chronic stages. And usually these chronic cases have already been treated using conventional methods with no or little success. TCM and acupuncture can prove to be more effective than conventional treatments when it comes to addressing chronic types of eczema. However, the treatment may take a lot longer for chronic cases than for acute types of eczema.

For the treatment of eczema the main treatment protocol will be to nourish the Kidneys and/or Lungs and at the same time nourishing the Blood if there is Wind and/or a significant Dampness or Blood deficiency.

What can you do?

If you have eczema, you need to protect your skin from wind and cold exposure. You also need to avoid foods such as mushrooms, spinach, shellfish, alcohol, spicy foods, fried foods and dairy.