Acupuncture has been used by acupuncturists for thousands of years to treat a wide range of typical skin conditions. This same modality can be used effectively these days.
Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM sees a person’s health as a balance within the internal environment and landscape of the body. If there is ether too little or too much yin and yang, blood and Qi (vital energy) in the body, disease can develop. Likewise, the effect of environmental conditions such as dryness, dampness, cold and heat can lead to illness. Skin diseases are usually brought about by both external and internal factors.
In charting the organs of the body, acupuncturists and other TCM practitioners utilize the same terms as Western medicine; sometimes however, they identify functions of each organ in distinct ways. Furthermore, TCM practitioners categorize the psychological and physiological functions of the body together since the mind can affect physical health. If an organ is imbalanced and if it is a source of a problem based on TCM tenets, Western medicine will usually not see this condition in a similar manner.
Getting Beneath the Surface
When TCM tries to diagnose skin conditions, it will consider the environmental and emotional along with the physical factors. By observing the skin and tongue, asking specific questions and taking the pulse, the acupuncturist or TCM practitioner will diagnose the condition based on patterns laid out by TCM theory.
Skin diseases are usually the result of internal disharmonies or imbalances, such as deficiency in blood and QI or environmental factors such as heat, dampness, dryness and wind,. The person’s constitution, diet and stress can also play a role in creating these patterns.
Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture resolve skin diseases in a unique way. TCM endeavors to treat both the underlying cause of the problem and the symptoms of the problem. The diagnosis and treatment are customized to each patient’s symptoms. Based on the disease, treatment may include Chinese herbal therapy, acupuncture, or both. Usually a complete course of treatment may involve one to two sessions a week for roughly three months. Some patients may be treated quicker that others as people tend to respond differently from TCM treatments.
This skin condition is also known as atopic dermatitis. Eczema is a chronic or long-term allergic reaction that results in the skin becoming seriously itchy, inflamed, red, and in certain instances, to blister. Individuals who suffer from eczema usually also have allergies and asthma. All of these conditions can be the result of dampness, wind and heat, and can be easily addressed with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. The treatment is aimed to move blood, remove the dampness and wind and clear heat.
This is one of the most common skin problems besetting adolescents and, at times, it can linger into adulthood. Acne, according to Western medicine, is usually related to reactions to oils, bacteria and hormones in the skin. According to TCM practitioners, acne is usually caused by heat, dampness and in extreme cases blood stagnation. When the affected body systems are cleared of heat and dampness, the skin will get better.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can also be used to treat dermatitis, rosacea, warts, hives or urticaria, vitiligo, shingles and psoriasis.
If you do have any of the above-mentioned skin conditions, talk to a licensed acupuncturist who preferably specializes in or has experience treating these conditions.
Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness Center in central Florida.