Typically marked by blotchy, itchy, or otherwise irritated skin, eczema refers to a group of skin conditions that cause sufferers both physical and mental anguish. The annoying symptoms associated with eczema are typically eased via steroids and topical medications, but these often lead to unwanted side effects.
Increasingly, patients are turning to traditional Chinese medicine in hopes of easing eczema symptoms while suffering minimal side effects. When integrated into a healthy lifestyle, acupuncture and use of traditional herbs can greatly reduce the severity of eczema symptoms. This approach is particularly worthwhile for patients who have not responded to typical Western eczema treatments.
Eczema: Symptom or Disease?
Many holistic practitioners believe that eczema is not the chief issue in and of itself, but rather, the sign of a deeper problem. Thus, holistic treatment aims to address the patient's underlying problems. Once these problems have been identified and resolved, the eczema will often go away on its own. In many cases, eczema results from severe food allergies; those who avoid trigger foods are often naturally able to keep symptoms to a minimum.
There is a mental component to eczema that remains something of a mystery to researchers. Stress is often a major trigger for the condition, so it is in sufferers' best interest to implement stress-reducing techniques into their daily lives. Many are able to find relief via massage, acupuncture, and meditation.
If symptoms continue after physical and mental triggers have been removed from the sufferer's environment, the next step may involve the targeted use of certain Chinese herbs. Herbal treatments have frequently been shown to be more effective than typical Western approaches.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Success Stories
In a study conducted at Ming Qi Natural Health Center, several participants drank Erka Shizheng Herbal Tea, took herbal baths, applied herbal creams to the affected areas, and completed multiple acupuncture sessions. This combination of therapies greatly reduced symptoms for most participants, who began the study with severe eczema and ended it with very mild symptoms.
In another study, an herbal decoction was administered to 37 young patients with eczema. Those who took the decoction found greater relief from symptoms than those given a placebo. After being given the opportunity to extend treatment, 18 of the young participants experienced a 90 percent or greater reduction in eczema symptoms. Researchers concluded that traditional Chinese medicine could be an excellent solution for children with atopic eczema who fail to respond to other treatments.
Some success in eczema treatment has been attributed to the Chinese herb Shuangfujin, which was compared to boric acid, saline, and Pifukang lotion treatments in a notable study. The results showed that Shuangfujin was approximately as effective as Pifukang lotion and far more effective than boric acid or saline.
Eczema can cause significant suffering among holistic practitioners and patients alike, but with your help, its symptoms can be controlled.
For more reading on traditional Chinese medicine and the role it can play in health and wellness, check out these blogs posts from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine: