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The itch in atopic dermatitis can take over your life. It is so intense, those with atopic eczema of wake up scratching. And after your scratch, the skin becomes more inflamed, itchy, dry, and lichenified. Most people with atopic eczema have a family history eczema, hay fever, and asthma. Allergies to foods, mold, or irritant substances may cause a flare in the condition (1). Atopic eczema is increasing rapidly in industrialized countries. Atopic eczema is treated most often with topical steroids that suppress the inflammatory response. Unfortunately, steroids also have many side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help reduce eczema naturally. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine approach to Atopic Eczema Traditionally, Chinese medicine called eczema the “wind of four crooks”

Skin diseases are one of the most common reasons to see your doctor. Yet, they are often stubborn conditions which do not respond to medications.  Or even worse the medications have side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offers a natural and effective treatment for many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, and others. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been treating skin diseases for at least 3000 years. The treatment of many skin diseases were discussed in the first known book of Chinese medicine, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huang Di Nei Jing). In the thousands of years since, Chinese medicine doctors and scholars discussed and debated the best approaches to treatment of skin conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine Understanding

Qi is the body’s energy (Qi is pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”) There is a mystical aspect to qi. In Chinese philosophy, qi is the building blocks of the universe. Energy combines and multiplies. It is the universal energy present in all living things as well as nature. But there is a practical aspect to qi as well. Qi is the energy we use to keep us healthy. It allows us to work, grow, exercise, and reproduce. Imbalances in the qi can lead to many health issues. Qi needs to be abundant and circulate through channels in the body or else illness occurs. In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when

Yesterday, an acupressure student of mine asked “What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?”. This is a good question that deserves a proper explanation. Chinese herbal therapies have been used for centuries for improving health and treating disease. Chinese herbs work to bring the body’s systems back into balance so the body can heal itself, naturally. The Chinese herbal pharmacy consists of over 500 herbs. Herbs are taken as combinations of 5-15 medicinal substances, which is called an herbal formula. Each formula is tailored to correct the specific imbalance that is the cause of the illness. The herbal formula can be taken in a number of forms: raw herbs, pills, tinctures, or granules. “Raw herbs” are dried herbs which are then cooked

Itching is an annoying and curious phenomenon.  Your body feels an annoying sensation so you irritate the skin by scratching.   It makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. This causes pain.  The pain trumps the itching sensation and you no longer feel the annoyance.  But the scratching causes inflammation and irritation in the area.  The scratch causes more itch and the cycle continues. Pain trumps itch because the sensations are felt through many of the same nerve endings.  Although researchers looking at itch specifically are finding more itch specific pathways in the spinal cord and brain. Itching takes a toll on people’s lives.  This annoying symptom keeps people awake at night, distracts from daily activities, and leads to habitual irritation of the

Atopic eczema causes profound itching.  Often the itching is the first sign of the condition and scratching leads to the inflammation. A recent research report examined acupuncture treatment of itch in atopic dermatitis (1).  This study was quite sophisticated.  They compared acupuncture versus antihistamine treatment to reduce itching.  They also compared acupuncture and antihistamine to an acupuncture and an antihistamine placebo.  Finally, they looked at if acupuncture was better for preventing the itch or treating the active itching. The acupuncture was stronger than the antihistamine in its ability to reduce itching.  In fact, the acupuncture was the only clinically relevant reduction in the itch.  While the antihistamine also reduced itch, it was not as strong as the acupuncture.  Also, acupuncture

What does acupuncture treat? During the past year I have been adding a section to my website focusing on the commonly treated conditions in my clinic.  It is not yet comprehensive, but over the next few months I will continue to build this section.  Currently, I have a number of in depth articles detailing the acupuncture treatment. Skin Conditions Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Eczema Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Psoriasis Chronic Pain Acupuncture for Chronic Migraines Acupuncture for Tension Headaches Acupuncture for Sciatica Urology Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis  

Observing the tongue and taking the pulse are two of the most common diagnostic techniques in Chinese medicine. Why look at the tongue? Chinese medicine uses diagnostic approaches, like the tongue and the pulse, because they reflect the imbalances that are causing your health problem. What are we looking for in the tongue? When I am looking at the tongue, I am looking at the the color of the tongue, the size and shape of the tongue body, and the coating on top of the tongue. If the tongue is very red, or very pale that can show there is heat, or qi deficiency. If the tongue body is purplish, it can show stagnation, a lack of circulation in the

Chinese herbal remedies have been used for centuries for many conditions and to boost overall health.   For many conditions the combination of acupuncture and herbs is the most effective approach.  I almost always use herbs when treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. The current Chinese pharmacopeia contains more than 5000 herbs and medicinal products.  A pharmacy will most often contain 500-1000 of the most commonly used herbs.  Some of the herbs are only used in the region they are grown and are not easy to find elsewhere. Chinese herbs are most often combined into formulas rather than given as a single herb.  This approach produces synergy, the combination is more powerful than any one herb. The herbs are