Pompholyx eczema

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Treatment of Pompholyx Eczema

Pompholyx eczema is a specific type of eczema on the hands and feet that causes vesicles, itching, fissures, and crusting.   This can occur on the palms and fingers in the hand and the soles of the feet.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine helps to relieve itching and reduce inflammation in pompholyx eczema. The goal is to treat the root cause of the condition. Chinese herbs are thought to regulate the immune system which can lead to long-term improvement.

It is called also called dyshidrotic eczema because people with this condition often experience excess sweating from the palms of the hands.

Chinese herbs are thought to regulate the immune system to treat pompholyx eczema.

Pompholyx Eczema

Symptoms of Pompholyx Eczema

Pompholyx eczema, also known as dyshidrotic eczema, that manifests as vesicles, redness, swelling primarily on the palms of the hands, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet. The vesicles can be intensely itchy and can sometimes burn. Some people will also experience pain from these blisters. After the blisters dry up, the skin might begin to peel off, leading to patches of cracked, painful skin.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Imbalances for Pompholyx Eczema

The goal of acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment is to correct the underlying imbalance in the body that is causing your condition. To determine what the specific imbalance is, I will examine the skin, take the pulse, look at the tongue, and inquire about your overall health. Each of these factors is considered when determining the imbalance.

The most common acupuncture imbalances in pompholyx eczema are heat, dampness, and toxicity. The imbalances in Chinese medicine describe the visual characteristics of the eczema.  For example, redness in the skin and inflammation are sign of heat and toxicity.  Swelling, vesicles, and crusting is often a reflection of damp heat. The itch is a sign of dampness.

Chinese Medicine Treatment for Pompholyx Eczema

The treatment will usually combine herbal medicine taken as a strong tea, topical herbal medicine, and acupuncture. 

The herbal formula is customized to address the specific imbalance causing your eczema. For example, if the pompholyx is caused by heat and toxic heat we may use herbs such as Rehmannia glutinosa (Sheng Di Huang) and Folium Isatidis (Da Qing Ye). But if there is more dampness present we may use Portulaca Oleracea (Ma Chi Xian) and Sophora flavescens (Ku Shen). Ku shen is also very effective for reducing itch. 

Although two patients may have the same condition, they may not have the same pattern. So they may be taking different formulas for the same condition. 

External herbal soaks, creams, and ointments can be directly applied to the affected areas to which provide relief from itching, redness, and inflammation. For some patients with pompholyx, I will only use herbal soaks. 

Treatment Course

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the approach to treating pompholyx eczema combines herbs drank as strong teas as well as external therapies such as herbal soaks and creams. This approach traits both the root and the branch, that is helping to relieve the symptoms as well as treating the underlying imbalance causing the illness. By treatig the underlying imbalances as can see long term improvement. 

The initial goal of the treatment course it to alleviate acute symptoms such as itching, burning, and inflammation. This often involves using cooling and dampness-dispelling herbs both topically and internally. As the acute symptoms diminish, the treatment focuses on rectifying the deeper imbalances that predispose an individual to flare-ups. This involves clearing dampness and nourishing the body’s energy, the qi. 

Once the eczema is cleared we will discuss if you need maintenance. Some patients are fine with moisturizers along, while others will need herbal medicine from time to time or to prevent flareups during dryer or more humid times of the year. 

Generally I want to see decrease in itching, inflammation, and creation of vesicles within 4-6 weeks.  The entire treatment course generally lasts 3-6 months. During this time we will look a steady gradual improvement. The cycles flares of vesicles and crusting will still continue, but as the treatment progresses they become less and less frequent and less severe. 

During the treatment course we will have regular check-ins and I may adjust the medicine based on the changing patterns and the patient’s response to the treatment.

Protecting your hands from harsh soaps and irritants is very important, particularly in the months during and following the treatment. This means using gloves to wash dishes, cut fruit, and when using cleaning products.  As more time passes your skin will become more resiliant and you may be able to be more flexible when washing. 


Through targeted herbal formulations, both for internal consumption and topical application, Chinese medicine therapies aim to rectify the underlying imbalances causing your eczema, providing relief from both the immediate discomfort and addressing the root causes. Herbal medicine is thought to reteach the body to be healing leading to long term improvements. 

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