Eczema, Psoriasis & Traditional Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture

Updated: Feb 4



Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are chronic inflammatory skin conditions, they are noncontagious but can be frustrating. They cause itchy, red patches on the skin and are notoriously difficult to fix. Traditional treatment for these conditions generally involves topical anti inflammatory or steroidal creams which usually only provide temporary or partial relief and unfortunately recurrence is very common. The problem with this line of treatment is that it aims to stop a symptom rather than the underlying cause.



Traditional Chinese medicine & Eczema/ Psoriasis



Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a different approach. It looks past the skin to find the underlying cause of the condition, which might not be what you would expect.


Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture when used correctly will address not only the symptoms of these frustrating conditions, but the underlying causes as well.


Traditional Chinese Medicine views this condition not as a skin disease, but as a blood or digestive system disorder which manifests on the skin.

When the liver and digestive system aren’t eliminating toxins effectively, they build up in the blood stream. In Traditional Chinese Medicine we call this blood heat (liver), or damp congestion (digestive).

As toxicity rises in the blood, other organs try to clear it from the body. Toxins begin passing through the sweat glands on the skin. Unlike the liver and digestive tract, the skin isn’t designed to handle toxic burdens of this magnitude. The result is inflammation, and cell death, which go on to cause symptoms associated with psoriasis and eczema like itchy, flaky, and reddened skin.



Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body called “acupoints” by inserting thin needles through the skin (in Latin, acus means “needle”). It’s used as an alternative or complementary treatment for many ailments, including chronic pain, nausea, anxiety and depression, hot flush, fertility, skin disorder....in adults and children .


Traditional Chinese Medicine defines acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force in the body.

Western practitioners explain that the acupoints cover target zones in the body that, when pricked by a needle, will stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. When this stimulation occurs, the body’s natural painkillers are released. Multiple studies have established the safety of acupuncture


Risks associated with acupuncture?

Multiple studies have established the safety of acupuncture. The risks of acupuncture are low as long as you have a competent, licensed acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles.

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy as long as your licensed acupuncturist knows you are pregnant and avoids contraindicated points.

It’s important to remember that acupuncture doesn’t work on everyone regardless of the ailment it’s supposed to be treating. There are some people who experience noticeable changes in their bodies during or after an acupuncture session while curiously others do not .




Does acupuncture work for eczema ?


Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture have become increasingly popular in the treatment of dermatitis, and research has come to the conclusion that indeed acupuncture is safe and effective in treating such conditions.


Research from 2021 suggests that acupuncture is a safe and effective adjuvant treatment for eczema. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/acupuncture-for-eczema#alternatives). They report that Acupuncture may improve skin health, restore the skin barrier and alleviate discomfort in people with eczema. The technique could potentially stimulate blood flow and lower inflammation, which promotes healing. Acupuncture may also help improve the overall well-being of people with eczema by reducing stress and improving sleep.


The National Eczema Association reports that according to several study results acupuncture was found to improve symptoms of mild to moderate Atopic Dermatitis, particularly in controlling pruritus (itch). (https://nationaleczema.org/get-the-facts-acupuncture/ published in 2019 and reviewed in 2021)


An other study held in 2018 found that acupuncture significantly improves symptoms of atopic dermatitis, including itchiness, insomnia, and quality of life. It may also reduce the severity and size of areas of skin affected by eczema. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/acupuncture-for-eczema#alternatives)




Diet & Eczema/ Psoriasis


In both cases, Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that diet can be the cause of the condition.



Both coffee and alcohol can be irritating to the gut and exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.


Dairy often plays a roll in skin conditions as well, especially when the person has an allergy to milk proteins like casein or whey.




Herbs & Eczema/ Psoriasis


In addition to acupuncture and diet modification, the use of herbal formula over a period of three to six month could be beneficial.


If toxins are managed effectively through the liver, like they’re supposed to, our skin will be more readily able to return to normal.




Turmeric (Curcuma longa) possesses anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Turmeric interacts with nearly all organs in the body. It improves liver detoxification, reduces inflammation in the digestive tract, and soothes the skin.

Most cases of eczema and psoriasis are the result of poor digestive or liver clearance. These organs safely eliminates toxic byproducts from the body.





Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle is one of the best herbs available when it comes to liver health. Herbalists refer to it as a “hepatoprotective”. Hepato- is latin for liver, so milk thistle is essentially characterized as a “liver protector”.

In fact, there are several liver-poisons found in the plant and fungi world in which milk thistle is the only known cure.

Milk Thistle dramatically improves liver function by improving the liver cells ability to detoxify chemicals from the blood , thus taking the strain off the skin.



Chamomile: Topical (Matricaria recutita)

Most people are familiar with chamomile tea as a home remedy for insomnia and stress. What most people don’t know is that chamomile is also a potent anti-inflammatory and painkiller with particular benefits to the skin.

The essential oil can be diluted with a carrier like olive or coconut oil to make a soothing topical application for skin conditions. Better yet, consider adding a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a calendula oil preparation.

Similarly to calendula, chamomile is better at treating the symptoms. Namely, skin irritation. It’s anti inflammatory and analgesic benefits make it great for treating the discomfort like intense itching and tingling, while turmeric and milk thistle ( for example) work on the underlying cause of the condition.



Summary

Acupuncture, Diet and Herbal Therapy may offer many benefits in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and related conditions such as stress, depression, and food allergies.

It also helps to lower inflammation, improve sleep, and boost immunity.


It is worth mentioning that nowadays, because of the proven safety and efficacy of acupuncture treatment several insurance providers cover acupuncture in their healthcare plans and in the kupot cholim. As a general rule, don't wait until your skin condition becomes chronic. New (acute) conditions are usually quicker and easier to treat than older issues.



Esther Hornstein is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and diplomat in acupuncture.

In her Therapeutic Holistic approach, she addresses Pediatric ailments, Men & Women’s health, Pain management and overall Wellness.

Her private practice is in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.



To make an appointment you may:

call or WhatsApp : 054-719-9600

e-mail : e0547199600@gmail.com




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