A centuries-old therapy from traditional Chinese medicine
Those with eczema or are caring for someone with eczema, commonly look for therapies to help reduce the itch, pain, and discomfort associated with the condition.
Acupuncture is a therapy within Traditional Chinese Medicine that uses very thin needles to stimulate areas on the body known as acupuncture points. Each acupuncture point has a specific healing effect.
Acupuncture has been used to treat many types of skin conditions for thousands of years and has very few side effects. Here are a few reasons why acupuncture is an excellent therapy for eczema.
If you’re reading this article, then you probably know that itch is a very common problem for those with eczema. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce itching in those with eczema. According to acupuncture, we say this is because acupuncture helps to reduce wind, dampness, and heat which are common causes of itch in eczema.
Physiologically, acupuncture works in several ways to reduce itch. A previous study showed that acupuncture reduces itching by changing the itch response in the brain. Acupuncture may also reduce itch by reducing activation of basophils, a white blood cell that is involved in the inflammatory responses in eczema.
Acupressure is the massage and application of pressure at acupuncture points. Acupressure is great because it is something you can do on yourself. Acupressure has also shown potential in reducing itching. One small study showed that self-administered acupressure at the acupuncture point Qu Che (LI 11) reduced itching. Stimulation of LI 11 has also been shown to reduce scratching in animal studies.
One of the challenges with eczema is that it can make you tired, lose sleep, and feel generally fatigued. One of the great things about acupuncture is no matter what you’re coming in for, acupuncture helps you feel relaxed and improves wellness. In addition, acupuncture is well known to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and give you more energy.
When you see an acupuncturist, they will individualize the therapy for you. This is based on your eczema symptoms, the appearance of your eczema, and overall physical wellbeing. For example, if you have insomnia and anxiety with eczema, your acupuncturist may add the points An Shen (Quiet Spirit) and Shen Men (Spirit Gate) to help you sleep and calm your mind. If you have digestive symptoms such as constipation, your acupuncturist may add the acupuncture point Tian Shi (Stomach 25) and Zu San Li (Stomach 36).
On top of all the benefits of acupuncture for eczema, acupuncture is a very safe therapy and most often people leave the therapy feeling refreshed and relaxed. People often fall asleep during the treatment.