By Katie Kuhn
This article was originally published June 9, 2017
The first thing you notice about someone is their face and skin, and first impressions can set the tone for a relationship. For someone who has a skin condition, this can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. Skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, itching or hives are common but difficult to treat with traditional medication.
Most skin conditions have some correlation to the immune system and inflammation. The cardinal signs of inflammation are heat, swelling and pain. There is often a correlation in immune function in patients with the “Atopic Triad”- allergies, asthma and skin conditions (like eczema and psoriasis), which is seen in about 20% of Americans. Most medication is used to suppress the immune system, such as oral or topical steroids. They may temporarily relieve symptoms but they do not address the root cause of disease. They may have a wide range of unpleasant side effects.
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In Chinese Medicine, we take a good look at the skin. For example, eczema is a very broad diagnosis so we do not give a broad treatment. We look if the lesions are dry or weepy, raised or flat, bright red or pale, if they are itchy or painful. We review how the skin changes started and how they have changed over time. Seasonal changes are significant, especially in regards to heat, cold, dryness and dampness. We review the full medical history and inquire about digestion, sleep and stress. Problems with the skin are symptoms that something deeper is going on inside. The body is trying to do the best it can to deal with a problem by clearing a problem through the skin. Remember, the skin is the bodies largest organ.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is customized to each patient’s presentation and symptoms. Acupuncture can help balance the immune system and decrease systemic inflammation, to treat the underlying cause of disease. Herbal medicine can be used internally and topically.
Acupuncture should be part of an integrative approach to health, including diet, exercise and emotional support. If you are interested in learning more about acupuncture, contact Katie Kuhn at Huron Point Acupuncture at Huron Point Acupuncture or find a Board Certified acupuncturist at NCCAOM.org/find-a-provider-directory.