In the United States, there are about 16 million people suffering from eczema. This skin condition is signified by red scaly patches of skin often accompanied by really severe itching. The inflammation and itch are the most uncomfortable symptoms of this condition and therefore, are the ones often targeted by most western medical treatments. Western medical treatments may include the use of corticosteroids that have undesirable side such as weight gain, osteoporosis, hypertension, gastrointestinal issues, glaucoma and cataracts. For anyone searching for a natural alternative solution for eczema, they can try the ancient Chinese treatment of acupuncture.
A study performed in Germany involving 30 subjects with eczema caused by pollen and dust mite causing flare ups of their allergy were immediately treated with three types of treatment. The first type of treatment was a procedure known as “point-specific” acupuncture which treated body regions designed to resolve the itch in the skin. These body parts were known as the hsuehai and chuchi acupuncture points. The second type of treatment was another type of acupuncture procedure known as the “placebo-point” treatment. In this procedure, points that were chosen did not really target the treatment of itchy skin. The last treatment was actually no treatment at all for the allergic response.
As the comparison of the subjects’ experiences where analyzed and compared, all of them reported lesser degrees of itchiness after getting point-specific acupuncture compared to the no treatment at all or the placebo acupuncture. Furthermore, the reports showed that on the second time of exposure to the allergens, after being given point-specific acupuncture, the subjects experienced less severe reactions. The outcome of the study showed that the benefits of just one treatment of point-specific acupuncture can be sustained. Based on the results of the test, the conductors of the study believed that when used on the right acupoints, acupuncture demonstrated a substantial capacity to reduce type I hypersensitivity itch in patients suffering from atopic eczema.
A similar study to the one done in Germany, this time in Palestine, observed the efficacy of acupuncture combined with herbs in treating atopic dermatitis which is the most widespread form of eczema. Twenty patients participated in this study and their ages ranged from 13 years of age to 48 years of age. All of them were given both acupuncture and herbal therapy for twelve weeks and thrice each day. The subjects were assessed after the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth week and at the end of the 3 month study, all of them reported a 45% resolution of their itch. Besides that, they said they had a much better quality of life (40% better). The Palestine study concluded that when combined with herbal therapy, acupuncture really does possess beneficial attributes on people suffering from atopic dermatitis.
The two findings reflect that there is a direct connection between acupuncture and herbal medicine to eczema. The outcomes of the tests can give eczema sufferers a new hope and option to prescription drugs. With scientific evidence to back it up, natural therapies such as herbs and acupuncture can help sufferers of eczema make a better choice on what remedies suit their needs best.
Galina Semyonova is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist in New York City. She has studied extensively in the fields of biofeedback therapy, SCENAR therapy, Chinese herbal treatments and Chinese and Western nutrition.