Eczema, also known a dermatitis is a debilitating skin condition that can occur in any stages of life starting as young as early childhood from the ages of 2 to 6 months and in adulthood. There are many types of eczema ranging from atopic eczema, to phomphylox eczema, seborrheic eczema and so forth.
Eczema can present in many different forms and symptoms. There may be –
Accompanying symptoms are –
Chinese medicine perspective –
In Chinese medicine, any skin condition is an indication of an imbalance of yin and yang in the body. The principle of yin and yang is to create an equilibrium between these two polar opposites within the body to function harmoniously. In the case of eczema, there is no one definitive answer to what cause this debilitating skin condition, rather the answer lies within the presentation of the individual itself. The cause of eczema from Chinese medicine perspective are Wind Heat, Damp Heat, Toxic Heat and/or Blood deficiency causing Dryness and Wind.
The body, especially the skin is an amazing diagnostic tool. In Chinese medicine, there are four method of diagnosis – observing, questioning, listening and palpating. We observe for signs and symptoms of the skin condition and ask detail questions into the body’s health. This will give us clues to what is out of balance in the body through observation and gathering of information. Therefore, helping us form a holistic diagnosis of the root cause of eczema. For example, itchy skin from Chinese medicine perspective can be caused by Heat, Wind and/or Dryness as a result of an internal imbalance of the body. In addition, we look at what levels the eczema is presented. For example, if the eczema is presented with mild itching with pinkish tones, it would be at a superficial level (Qi level). If the eczema is red, angry, weeping and intense itching with bleeding, it would be at the deeper level (Blood level). We also look at the tongue and perform pulse analysis as part of our diagnostic tool to determine the condition of the body. Thus making it a holistic treatment.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach from Chinese medicine perspective. Each person presented with eczema will most likely be looked at differently in terms of acupuncture and herbal medicine. In eczema, herbal medicine is often prescribed as the symptoms are a result of an internal imbalance. Herbal medicine targets the root cause of the imbalance whilst resolving symptoms derived from it. External application such as ointment or salve made from Chinese herbs may be recommended to aid the skin condition symptomatically.
Generally, it will take 3-6 months. The duration often depends on the severity of the eczema. However, the skin will see some form of improvements such as reduction of flare ups, itchiness and redness within 3 months of consistent acupuncture and herbal medicine. In addition, accompanying symptoms listed above will greatly improved as well.
Majority of eczema sufferers find that by avoiding certain types of food and using a natural skin care product can help reduce the severity of their skin condition.
Foods to consider avoiding are gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, processed food, deep fried and greasy food. Warming spices such as turmeric, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon should be used minimally to avoid adding Heat to the body. Part of the approach and strategy to eczema in Chinese medicine is to clear Heat from the body. Redness and inflammation are seen as Heat. Heat can dry out fluids that moisturise the skin, therefore causing dry, cracked and itchy skin.
Natural skin care are recommended to keep the skin moist. As there are many natural skin products available in the market today, it is important to read the ingredients used in the product. Ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oils are good at moisturising dry skin. Avoid any synthetic scent which can cause irritation to the skin, this include perfume and cologne. It is best to go scent free if possible however, some essential oils derived from plants such as chamomile and lavender can be added to sooth the skin, which also has a calming affect on the mind.
Si En Medicare’s approach and strategy to addressing eczema is to look at each presenting symptoms individually. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. If you would like to find out more about how Chinese medicine and Acupuncture can help with your eczema, or simply give us a call for either an Acupuncture or Herbal Medicine Consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.