Usually at some point in our lives, we experience some type of skin malady, be it acne as a teen, eczema, dry scalp, psoriasis or rash. The range of cause is diverse and can include exposure to external irritants (toxins/chemicals often found in soaps, lotions, and shampoos), infestation (ringworm), fungal, nervous system (shingles), allergies and even stress.
Many of these external skin conditions are actually representations of an internal disharmony.
The standard medical approach is to treat the inflammation with an anti-inflammatory, but that doesn’t always treat the cause of it. Traditional Chinese medicine views it a different way. For example, eczema is seen as an imbalance of body’s energy which allows external pathogenic factors to attack causing itch, inflammation, as well as dry and red skin. Chinese medicine treats eczema not by suppressing the immune response but rather correcting the imbalances that are causing the eczema. By correcting or removing these imbalances your body is able to heal on its own.
Acupuncture has been used quite successfully for skin conditions. When the body is out of balance, there is often illness. If the skin problem looks red, this means the patient has heat (inflammation) in the blood. The redder the skin, the more heat in the blood. This gets worse in hot weather. Most cases of eczema involve heat (inflammation) in the blood. If the skin feels dry, this means the condition involves blood deficiency. If the skin blisters or oozes or has pustules, this means that the patient has a condition called "dampness" in Chinese medicine. Once those representations have been identified, the patient is treated accordingly. If the skin conditions are identified as “heat” then acupuncture points would be used to literally “cool off” or counteract the heat and restore the balance. Different points are used to restore and normalize things.
One of the greatest effects an individual can have on their own body is by modification of their diet. Omega oils and essential fatty acids like wild-caught fish and flaxseed oil are extremely beneficial and can reduce eczema and psoriasis symptoms. Refined foods and sugars have been determined to increase inflammation and therefore should be avoided. Those with food intolerances should avoid any potential allergens which could be gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts. There are also several Chinese herbs that work well according to the ailment which include Zhi Yang, Rhubarb, and Fen Ci. All in all, the best approach is holistic, which considers the whole body. Food choices, sleep, exposure, and even emotional health all play a role in our health and well-being.