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Acupuncture for Eczema

cospic2According to the National Eczema Society, the condition affects 5 million adults and children in the UK alone. This dry skin condition, also known as dermatitis, is characterised by red, scaly and itchy skin that can vary in severity from person to person, especially as it comes in many different forms.

The skin of an eczema sufferer doesn't produce as much oil or fat as those without the condition. This lack of protection sees channels opening up because of the inability for the skin to retain water.

As a Classical Five-Element Acupuncturist and Facial Enhancement Acupuncturist, I'm often called on to help reduce eczema on the body and I've also found that facial eczema can be particularly distressing to patients. The premise behind both Traditional and Cosmetic Acupuncture is that it's holistic, so we're aiming to balance mind, body and spirit in order to help settle the problem. I would therefore tend to treat constitutional body points, before I begin to target specific areas.

I believe that how we look is very much related to how we feel and eczema can be particularly debilitating due to the accompanying itch, which can be quite painful and lead to the skin splitting and bleeding. I would certainly suggest a visit to your GP or dermatologist, particularly if your condition has yet to be diagnosed. What’s very encouraging is a recent 2011 study which found that acupuncture helped to reduce itching:

"Our results show a reduction of itch intensity and of in vitro allergen-induced basophil activation in patients with atopic eczema after acupuncture treatment." Visit PubMed for more on this trial.

Like many conditions the triggers can vary, so diet may be a factor or stress may result in a flare up, you may also find that climate could play a part or household allergies. Eczema Voice provides a discussion area for sufferers to talk about what works for them and support one another. When you visit your acupuncturist they will take a full history from you at the beginning of a treatment and work with you to determine your personal triggers and examine diet/lifestyle factors.

Stress seems to be a common trigger for many of my patients and they find that the acupuncture helps in this regard. There have been many studies carried out that highlight the role acupuncture can play in reducing anxiety and one, albeit small study, focussing on a single acupuncture point (Shen Men, Heart 7) found an average 44% reduction in stress.

The British Acupuncture Council website gathers together a wide range of research to show how acupuncture may aid dispersal of swelling, reduction of inflammation and regulating certain allergens that may exacerbate eczema.

So, if you’re currently suffering with eczema, one of your options is to give your local acupuncturist a call and see how they may be able to help.

Paul Adkins Lic.Ac. BA(Hons), 1st Dan, FEA, MBAcC, MMNTUK