Eczema is a skin condition that affects an estimated 1 in 18 people in the US. It consists of redness, dryness or weepiness and extremely itchy patches of skin. The itching can be so intense that some people find themselves scratching at the sores in their sleep! Because of all of this scratching, many people experience skin thickening and scarring, which can be a source of embarrassment.
Unfortunately, biomedicine doesn't always have a good answer for treating eczema, and many people find that treatments don't work for very long.
A skilled acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist will be able to create a personalized treatment plan that will lead you on the path to stopping the itching and healing your skin from the inside out. This process can take some time, but it is possible to have clear, healthy skin!
Here are some things you can do at home, in addition to working with an acupuncturist who specializes in dermatology, to help heal your skin:
- Take a probiotic - an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria can contribute to eczema.
- Take omega 3 fatty acids - omega 3 fatty acids help break the inflammation cycle
- Do an elimination diet to learn what (if any) foods you may be sensitive to. If you're constantly eating something that is irritating to your gut, it'll show up in your skin.
If you're in the Portland area, feel free to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss the possibility of Chinese medicine working to treat your eczema!
Allergy season is here. I've written about the way Chinese medicine looks at them, and how we treat them using herbs and acupuncture
before, but today we're going to learn a bit about our immune system.
Chinese medical practitioners of ancient times had a sense of our body's abilities to fight off disease. They even came up with the theory of Wei Qi (pronounced way chee), or "protective Qi." Wei Qi exists right below the surface of our skin and fights off pathogens that, according to theory, travel through our pores to get into our bodies.
(Okay, so the ancients were a little off in their theories of exactly how pathogens work, but not bad for 5000 years ago, eh?)
Ever wonder why your skin may feel achy or crawly when you're fighting allergies or a cold? That would be your Wei Qi doing its job of fighting off pathogens!
Did you know there are foods that can help build a stronger immune system against allergies!
And while just eating certain foods probably isn't enough to fight off the worst allergies, when combined with acupuncture and an individualized herbal formula, eating those foods can help speed up the process of healing.
If you're ready to strengthen your immune system to stop its overreacting to everyday allergens, schedule an appointment today!
Image: Ambro /
Allergies. Many of us have experienced them. The itching, watery eyes, the sneezing, the coughing, the over all fatigue. It's enough to bring ANYONE to their knees!
Science is debating if this is the worst allergy season ever (not just that we've forgotten how miserable we were last year), noting that pollen counts have been the highest in over 10 years!
Chinese medicine is great for treating allergies. Not only can we treat the symptoms quickly, we are able to treat the underlying cause of your allergies and prevent them from occurring in the first place!
Allergies are treated in two phases. During allergy season, your symptoms are treated to get you immediate relief. Unfortunately, it's not possible to treat the underlying cause of the allergies sufficiently during an active attack, so treatment must be continued in the off-season in order to prevent future allergy attacks.
If you should have bought stock in your favorite facial tissue years ago, why not give your acupuncturist a call? You'll feel better this year and could completely avoid allergies from here on out.
You can still buy facial tissue stock even if you don't need the tissues.
I liked this article from Natural News (copied below) and wanted to share it with you all. Apparently I am in the mood for some autumnal foods. Bonus recipe at the end!In Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn is represented by the metal element, which corresponds to the Lungs and Large Intestine. Weakness in this element shows up as ailments in the Lung and Intestines: allergies, asthma and constipation. The remedy can be found in this season's most notable food: the pumpkin or squash.
The pumpkin is round, orange and sweet. It corresponds to the earth element in the five element cycle. Earth is the mother of metal. In Chinese medicine there is a saying: when there is weakness in the child (in this case metal: lungs and large intestine), nourish the mother (in this case earth.)
Weakness in the lungs will show up as:
Because the lungs open onto the skin, one may also see acne, eczema and psoriasis. The paired organ to the Lungs is the Colon, so weakness here will show up as constipation, diarrhea, or IBS.
In Chinese medicine, the pumpkin is known to relieve damp conditions such as dysentery and eczema. It promotes discharge of mucus from the lungs, bronchi and throat, easing bronchialasthma. (1)
Not only does the flesh of the pumpkin benefit the Lungs and Large Intestine, the seeds are especially good for the intestines, easing constipation and acting as a parasite cleanse. Known as nan gua zi, pumpkin seeds are especially known to alleviate tapeworm and roundworm. For this purpose pumpkin seeds are taken by boiling into a strong tea known as a decoction or grinding into a powder to be taken with water.
Nutritionally, pumpkins are high in beta carotene which is converted by the body to vitamin A. Beta carotene protects the mucous membranes of the body and has been shown to protect both the lungs and large intestine against cancer. (2)
Soup is an excellent way to nourish the body this time of year. The following soup can be made with pumpkin or any kind of yellow winter squash. Make sure to save and wash the seeds, which can then be salted and baked at 350 degrees until dry.
Nourishing Pumpkin Soup
- 1 pumpkin or squash, halved, seeded, and baked face down on baking sheet at 350 until soft (1/2 hour to an hour depending on thickness of squash.)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cups water
- In soup pot, saute onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until softened.
- Add water, flesh of the squash scraped from the skin, maple syrup, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cool and blend until smooth.
- Reheat and serve.
- Pitchford, p.508
- Ibid, p.313
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA.
Bensky, Dan and Gamble, Andrew. Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica.Eastland Press, Seattle.
Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine. Acupuncture, A Comprehensive Text. Eastland Press. Seattle.
According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Acupuncture might ease hayfever symptoms. Though this study was done with humans, I've found that I get GREAT results with pets as well! In fact, I find that pets in general respond much quicker to energy medicine than their human counterparts.
Tilly is a Boston Terrier - English Bulldog mix who came into my office with REALLY red, itchy skin. She was entirely covered with inflamed skin. She'd needed to be on prednisone since she was a puppy because of her grass allergies. According to Tilly's owner, the prednisone helped a little bit, but Tilly was still so miserable.
We treated Tilly with Acupuncture and a Chinese herbal formula that matched her presentation perfectly. When Tilly came back the next week, her itchy skin had disappeared from most of her body! All that was red anymore was her belly and under her chin! To tell you the truth, I was surprised that she got such huge relief that quickly! Usually allergies, especially those present since childhood (or puppyhood in this case!) take time, sometimes as long as 2-3 months, to see results. Over the next couple of weeks we were able to get Tilly complete relief! Now I only see Tilly a couple of times a year for a "tune-up."
If you or your dog suffer from allergies of any kind, consider acupuncture and Chinese herbs!