Itching, inflammation, and irritation from eczema can be so intense it takes over your life. Eczema is a skin condition that has inflammation, dry skin, redness, scale, and blisters.  For many people the itch precedes the rash and inflammation. This is why it is said that eczema is the “the itch that rashes.” Scratching the skin leads to inflammation.

Chinese medicine can help.  In my 15 years of practice, I have helped many people with eczema through acupuncture and herbal medicine.  I have also written extensively about Chinese medicine for eczema. Many clinical research studies have shown Chinese herbs to relieve eczema. 

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema frequency is rising rapidly within the last century. No one knows the exact cause of the increase in eczema, but factors include irritants, harsh soaps, over bathing, allergies, environmental pollutants, and diet.

Eczema develops because of an interaction between the person and the environment: someone has a genetic propensity for dry skin and allergies when contact with soaps and irritants trigger the development of eczema (1).

While the exact cause is unknown, eczema skin has distinct characteristics: dry skin, increased IgE production, a tendency for the overgrowth of staphylococcus aureus, higher skin pH, and a deficiency in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) (2).

Eczema in Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to eczema as the “wind of four crooks” referring to the eczema rashes on the inside of the elbows and knees which are the common locations of the condition (3).

Chinese Medicine understands eczema as an imbalance of body’s energy which allows external pathogenic factors to attack causing itch, inflammation, as well as dry and red skin.  The acupuncture and herbal therapy are customized to address the underlying imbalances.   Heat, wind, dampness, toxins, or others are the most common for eczema.  The determination of the underlying imbalance is important because it will govern which specific herbs therapy and acupuncture points are used.