Skin conditions affect the quality of a person’s life. For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has used herbs and acupuncture to treat a variety of maladies from internal health problems to skin disorders, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, alopecia and others. Many practitioners today continue to apply these methods to treat their patients who prefer a less invasive and non-chemical treatment.
Traditional Chinese medicine views good health as a balance between the body's internal systems and the environment we live in. Displacement of the balance between energy (Qi), blood, yin and yang result to the development of diseases. The impact of environmental conditions, such as wind, heat, cold, dampness and dryness also contribute to the illness. In addition, traditional Chinese medicine views the mind as a powerful influence on a person's health.
There are four areas of dermatology where traditional Chinese medicine is applied: Chang Yang (skin sores,) Pi Fu Ling (skin disorders, such as eruptions and warts,) Gan Men Bing (rectal or anus disorders, such as hemorrhoids,) and Za Bing (other disorders, such as acute abdominal disorders and gangrene.)
Traditional Chinese medicine uses the Three Yellow Cleanser (San Huan Xi Ji) to treat about 60% of skin disorders, including acne, eczema, dermatitis, rashes, and psoriasis. The formula, which has been in use for many centuries, consists of four cleansing herbs with a "cold property" that clears the internal heat (Qing Re,) stops itching (Zhi Yang) and prevents secretions (Shou Se) from oozing further. Three of the four herbs used in the formula have a yellow hue, hence the name. The four herbs - Rhubarb (Dai Huang,) Sophora (Ku Shen,) Phellodendron (Huang Bai) and Skullcap (Huang Qin) - were placed under scientific study and were found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral qualities. Clinical research indicated that Phellodendron (Huang Bai) is very effective in treating eczema.
Aside from the extensive use of Chinese herbs, traditional Chinese medicine also recommends acupuncture as a parallel treatment for skin disorders. Stimulation of acupuncture points increases the production of endorphins and simultaneously activates the immune and endocrine systems. Acupuncture points are specific nerve points that give particular access to the system of energetic meridians, which perform different functions depending on their location.
For skin disorders, acupuncture points are stimulated along the arms, legs and torso. We use fine high-grade surgical steel needles, which are used only once, to stimulate those acupuncture points. The needles may remain in place from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the desired effect. Heat or electricity may also be applied using three fire needles (heated needles) or wired small alligator clips attached to the needles, which pass a very mild electrical charge from a small battery.
Acupuncture has been documented as an effective therapeutic modality for psoriasis, particularly when western medical management is unsuccessful. Patients using acupuncture and herbal medicine together with dietary and lifestyle modifications will see significant changes to their psoriasis symptoms in 3 to 9 months. Most patients begin to see changes in psoriasis symptoms within 3 months of starting intensive treatments. If acupuncture is used without herbal medicine, symptoms may take significantly longer to resolve, and in some cases of very stubborn psoriasis, there may only be a partial change in symptoms. For a tough skin problem like psoriasis, a multi-part treatment plan is the only way to get lasting results and symptom reduction.
Call us to discuss using acupuncture to treat your dermatitis and see how we can dramatically reduce or completely clear up your skin condition.
The following conditions are commonly treated effectively with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicine:
Herpes Simples I & II