Five Reasons Why Acupuncture Helps Eczema

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture needles in the upper back
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Those with eczema or caring for someone with eczema commonly look for therapies to help reduce 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. 

 

1. Acupuncture Reduces Itch

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.[1] According to acupuncture, we say this is because acupuncture helps to reduce wind, dampness, and heat which are common causes of itch in eczema.[2]  

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.[3] Acupuncture may also reduce itch by reducing activation of basophils, a white blood cell that is involved in the inflammatory responses in eczema.[4] 

Acupressure point LI 11 for eczema

 

2. Acupressure Helps Reduce Itch 

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.[5] Stimulation of LI 11 has also been shown to reduce scratching in animal studies.[4]

 

3. Acupuncture Helps Improve Health Overall  

One of the challenges with eczema is that it can make you tired, lose sleep, and feel generally fatigued.[6] One of the great things about acupuncture is no matter what you’re coming in for, acupuncture helps you feel relaxed and improves wellness.[7] In addition, acupuncture is well known to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and give you more energy.[8] 

 

4. Acupuncture Therapy is Individualized for You 

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). 

 

5. Acupuncture is Safe 

On top of all the benefits of acupuncture for eczema, acupuncture is a very safe therapy[9] and most often people leave the therapy feeling refreshed and relaxed. People often fall asleep during the treatment.   
  

* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.

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References

1.    Pfab F, Kirchner MT, Huss-Marp J, et al. Acupuncture compared with oral antihistamine for type I hypersensitivity itch and skin response in adults with atopic dermatitis: a patient- and examiner-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Allergy.2012;67(4):566-573; PMID: 22313287.

2.    Xu Y. Dermatology in Traditional Chinese Medicine. United Kingdom: Donica Publishing Ltd.; 2004.

3.    Napadow V, Li A, Loggia ML, et al. The brain circuitry mediating antipruritic effects of acupuncture. Cereb Cortex.2014;24(4):873-882; PMID: 23222890.

4.    Pfab F, Athanasiadis GI, Huss-Marp J, et al. Effect of acupuncture on allergen-induced basophil activation in patients with atopic eczema:a pilot trial. J Altern Complement Med.2011;17(4):309-314; PMID: 21443446.

5.    Lee KC, Keyes A, Hensley JR, et al. Effectiveness of acupressure on pruritus and lichenification associated with atopic dermatitis: a pilot trial. Acupunct Med.2012;30(1):8-11; PMID: 22207450.

6.    Lewis-Jones S. Quality of life and childhood atopic dermatitis: the misery of living with childhood eczema. Int J Clin Pract.2006;60(8):984-992; PMID: 16893440.

7.    Gould A, MacPherson H. Patient perspectives on outcomes after treatment with acupuncture. J Altern Complement Med.2001;7(3):261-268; PMID: 11439847.

8.    Pilkington K. Acupuncture therapy for psychiatric illness. Int Rev Neurobiol.2013;111:197-216; PMID: 24215924.

9.    Yang C, Hao Z, Zhang LL, et al. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children: an overview of systematic reviews. Pediatr Res.2015;78(2):112-119; PMID: 25950453.