Skin Health

Many people do not consider acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine when it comes to treating their skin problems.  The treatment of dermatological disorders has been a focus for treatment with Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and showing excellent results.  Common chronic skin problems such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis are very difficult to cure or manage with western medical approaches. Chinese medicine offers a holistic approach to these and other chronic skin problems that can promote true long term healing effects.


Dermatological diseases treated

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be very helpful in treating skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis  acne, herpes zoster, alopecia (hair loss) and rosacea.

Acupuncture treats Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema is a general term that includes many different types of dermatitis or inflammation of a person’s skin.  All types of eczema share the uncomfortable symptoms of pruritis (itching) and redness of the affected area.  Other possible symptoms include weeping, peeling, and/or blistering.  Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a type of eczema that mainly affects the insides of elbows, backs of knees, and face, however the person’s entire body can be affected.  The term “atopy” is from a Greek origin and refers to a persons predisposition to develop some type of allergic reaction due to a hypersensitivity to an allergen.  Asthma and hay fever are very common complaints of a person suffering with AD and these three diseases together make up what is known as the “atopic triad.”

The prevalence of atopic dermatitis has nearly tripled in the United States over the past 30 years and is still growing.  This disease almost always begins at infancy or childhood, however it can become a lifelong problem.  Western medical treatments include managing the symptoms of atopic dermatitis with the use of topical or internal corticosteroids, petroleum products to keep in moisture, and the avoidance of any possible irritants.   Unfortunately these treatments never get to the root of the problem and can lead to dependency issues and cause side effects such as loss of integrity and thinning of the skin, leading to the development of stretch marks.  Rarely dietary allergens are taken into account when treating someone with eczema.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can effectively treat the symptoms of itching and redness associated with the disease as well as treating more of the root cause of the eczema.  Acupuncture alone is effective at reducing the itch sensation as well as decreasing the inflammation and redness.  I often recommend a custom Chinese herbal formula as well as dietary and lifestyle changes to help with quickening the overall treatment time and increase effectiveness of the treatment.  Food sensitivities are becoming more widely accepted as definite triggers to dermatitis, therefore I work with each patient to help them in determining what foods may be making their eczema worse.  The British Journal of Dermatology published positive research in 2007 on the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.  Also the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine published a clinical trial on how eczema was effectively treated with the combination of acupuncture and a gluten-free diet.  To learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you with your eczema please see our Eczema page.

Acupuncture treats Acne

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acne is the result of some form of internal heat that rises to the skin surface.  This heat expresses itself as red and raised bumps or acne on the skin.  In order to cure acne one must determine what is causing this internal accumulation of heat and then use methods to effectively remove this internal heat.  In other words, one must work from the inside out to treat acne rather than applying endless amount of medications topically.  The combination of acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine works very well along with dietary and lifestyle changes to effectively cure acne.

Acupuncture treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis presents as red, itchy, and dry lesions with white scaling.  Psoriasis tends to worsen in the colder and drier months of winter and improve in the warm and more humid days of summer.  Chinese medicine sees this disease as a result of a combination of blood heat with fire toxins within the body.  These two hot internal pathogens dry out the natural moisturizers of the skin which causes the disease to manifest.  The redness of the lesions illustrates this heat or fire while the white scaling of the lesions is indicative of dryness.  Chinese herbal medicine in combination with acupuncture can effectively treat and cure psoriasis from the inside out, through clearing out this internal fire and allowing the body to moisturize naturally.

To learn more about psoriasis and how we can help you in treating your symptoms please see our Psoriasis Page.  Thank you.

Joseph Tonzola L.Ac., Dipl O.M.