Eczema: TCM Gets to The Root of the Itch

 

Eczema is a skin condition that affects 1 in 3 Australians at some point in their lives.

It often affects people with a history of allergic conditions such as asthma or hayfever. Eczema-prone areas include the face, elbows, wrist, behind the knees, neck, ankles, and torso. Because these areas lack natural moisturisers needed to keep the skin soft and supple, these develop red patches that are dry, scaly, and very itchy. Hot baths, wool, nylon and acrylic fabrics, perfumes, scented detergents, allergens such as pollen and dust mites, and stress can aggravate the condition.

 

Scratching these areas may lead to blisters and lesions that can be easily infected. While this skin condition may not be life-threatening, it is extremely uncomfortable, embarrassing, and could have a significant effect on a person’s day-to-day routine.

Western medical treatment considers eczema as an allergic condition and thus focuses on controlling the symptoms caused by the imbalance in the immune system. Patients are prescribed medicines such as topical corticosteroids, antihistamines to reduce the itchiness; oral corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants.         

While Western treatment methods are effective in treating eczema symptoms, these do not guarantee that the skin will not flare up again. Moreover, these have side effects like drowsiness, which could affect mental focus and daily productivity.  

Contrastingly, traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees eczema as a symptom of other diseases. If a person has eczema, there are imbalances in his or her body that affect overall health.  These imbalances are caused by three main pathogenic factors:

  • Wind: Wind-induced skin disorders are characterised by its sudden appearance and itching
  • Dampness: Skin becomes puffy and bloated
  • Heat: This is manifested by a burning sensation, redness, and swelling of the skin

Different combinations of these pathogens, or illness-causing elements, produce different forms of eczema.  For instance, acute eczema often results from damp heat in the lungs and spleen while chronic eczema is a more severe form of acute eczema and is aggravated by constant exposure to dampness. Eczema in infants is caused by a combination of a weak spleen and stomach, damp heat, and wind exposure. Eczema around the eyes is caused by wind exposure, heat in the spleen, and damp heat.

Moreover, TCM sees good blood circulation as crucial in treating eczema. Proper circulation allows nutrients to be delivered all throughout the body and helps the immune system get rid of metabolic wastes, toxins, and pathogens that cause various skin conditions. Chinese herbs such as coix seed, mung bean, dandelion, and portulaca have cleansing, anti-bacterial properties that expel toxins from the body.

herbal-medicine, chinese medicine, tcm, Eczema

Do consider a consultation with a TCM specialist prior to making any purchases or self-medicating. There are thousands of Chinese herbs used for medicinal purposes and it takes a certain degree of knowledge and experience to prescribe the optimal combination of herbs that would address the conditions of a particular patient.

The effort will be worth it; this low impact intervention therapeutically addresses sensitive skin conditions without side the effects associated with Western treatments.

At Sustain Health, each formulation is tailored specifically to each patient’s needs and focus on the root cause of eczema; it doesn’t just mask its symptoms.

Call Sustain Health on 1300 432 639 to learn how our TCM professionals can help resolve eczema and other skin issues.

About the Author Dr Scott Ling

Dr. Scott Ling is the Chief Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist and the founder of Sustain Health. He holds a PHD Doctorate Degree in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Ling's extensive qualifications also include a Master of Reproductive Medicine (western medicine). Due to his unique medical background, Dr Ling’s approach stresses on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine to ensure patients get the greatest benefits from the best of both medical systems.