If you’ve ever suffered from eczema — a skin condition plaguing nearly 10 percent of the entire U.S. population — you know how uncomfortable and embarrassing it can be. This inflammation causes skin to be itchy, bumpy, scaly, and raw, sometimes even leading to blisters and bleeding.
When these conditions arise, many doctors are quick to prescribe steroid injections and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. However, as Jennifer Jacobs — a homeopathic doctor and professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington — says, these treatments only mask the problem. They don’t address what’s going on in the body to be causing eczema in the first place. What’s more, with continued use, the body can become immune to these types of treatments.
Thankfully, acupuncture provides a safe and natural option for battling eczema. Research shows acupuncture to be an effective treatment for battling other skin conditions as well, such as melasma, psoriasis, shingles, and neurodermatitis, a disease similar to eczema. According to Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials published by the World Health Organization, 53 percent of melasma cases were cured within three months of treatment with acupuncture, compared to 13 percent of cases treated with vitamins C and E. Even more impressive, cure rates for neurodermatitis were 100 percent, compared to just 17 percent for the group treated with more traditional Western medicine.
To address eczema and other skin conditions with acupuncture, high-grade surgical steel needles are used to stimulate points typically along the torso, legs, and arms. The stimulation of these points simultaneously activates the immune and endocrine systems, which jumpstarts the body into healing itself. Depending on your individual needs and the plan you’ve discussed with your acupuncturist, this treatment may last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.
Those with skin disorders also tend to have more sensitivities to diet. People with eczema and other conditions are encouraged to avoid the things that can cause inflammation, such as alcohol, and focus on a diet high in fruits and leafy green vegetables.