Skin Diseases
359 Case Studies
153 Member Stories
37 Research

Since most skin conditions are at least in part inflammatory, acupuncture can have a beneficial impact through reduction of inflammation.

What are skin diseases?

Do you feel a sense of dread every time you look into the mirror? Are problems like dry, itchy and bubbled up skin that appears red, flaked and peeled off irritating you and making you angrier? Skin diseases are very common disorders affecting every individual at some point in their life. Skin disorders vary greatly in symptoms and severity. The most common disorders include eczema, rash, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, chickenpox, warts, alopecia, and others.

Conventional medicine approaches often tend to treat just the symptoms of an individual leaving the root cause untreated. Complementary therapies which include ancient traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture for skin problems aims to bring about a complete cure by correcting the root imbalances of an individual suffering from the disease. 

How does Acupuncture view Skin Diseases?

Classical acupuncture concentrates primarily on treating the individual, and secondarily treating the disease.  The "symptoms" are considered as "branch" expressions of a "root" (inherent ) imbalance.  Different origin imbalances can produce the same symptoms.  Five patients with psoriasis, as an example, may show five different root imbalances and could all be treated quite differently.  Because acupuncture treats the entire person, it's something to offer virtually every condition.  Acupuncture aims to bring about a complete cure; others, it intends to manage the symptoms.  Acupuncture remains a considerable portion of the traditional Oriental medicine, which can be used to treat many ailments such as acne, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, urticaria, vitiligo, and tinea.


In diagnosing skin ailments, TCM considers physical, psychological, and environmental factors.  By taking the pulse, asking comprehensive questions, and observing the skin and tongue, the TCM practitioner will diagnose the illness according to TCM patterns.  Skin diseases are usually brought on by inner disharmonies, such as deficiency of Qi and blood, or environmental influences, such as wind, dryness, dampness, and warmth.  Stress, diet, and also the person's constitution also contribute to these patterns.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbs cure skin ailments in a special manner.  TCM addresses both the root (cause) and the division (symptoms) of a condition.  The diagnosis and treatment are tailored to each individual's symptoms.  Based upon the condition, treatment may involve acupuncture, Chinese herbs, or both.  Often, one treatment cycle once or twice weekly, for 12 weeks is needed.  Some conditions will clear quickly, but others may take longer.   

Acupuncture treatment for skin disorders

The specific mechanisms by which acupuncture works aren't entirely understood, but there have been a number of theories advanced. It's thought that acupuncture may work by the stimulation of Raphe nuclei, which increases serotonin production. This, turn, sets off a series of reactions that culminates in the gain of glucocorticoids that modulate inflammation and other characteristics of the body's immune reaction.


Since most skin conditions are at least in part inflammatory, acupuncture can have a beneficial impact through reduction of inflammation.


Stimulating Acupuncture points for skin problems may provide non-pharmacological relief from various skin disorders. It is a holistic treatment approach to wellness that not only considers just treating the symptoms as they are exhibited but addresses the body as a whole.  Acupuncture for skin conditions treat the underlying causes of disease by taking into account the patient’s constitution, then learning how certain factors manifest in the body. After thorough investigation a proper treatment plan is designed for an individual which may include acupuncture treatment in combination with Chinese herbs, dietary or other lifestyle changes.


Acupuncture points for skin diseases

Acupuncture points for skin disorders,are stimulated along the arms, legs, and torso. Some of the important acupuncture points for skin diseases are mentioned below that when stimulated can help relieve from various skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, urticarial, atopic dermatitis and others.


Itchy skin

Itchy and flared up skin is the most common symptom associated with almost every skin disease like eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, etc. Itchy skin arises due to an activated inflammatory response of the body, which in turn activates other cellular mechanisms in the skin and together affects certain layers of the skin spreading to different areas. The acupressure point like Qu Chi (LI11) is located in the elbow near the lateral end of the transverse cubital crease. This point when stimulated helps cure skin diseases that cause itching by stimulating the function of the adrenal glands.


Acupoints that help in Skin allergies & dryness

Abnormal thyroid function can result in changes in skin, making you prone to skin allergies, swelling and redness which is also known as myxedema causing you a great problem. In order to improve the overall health of your skin, one need to focus on maintaining a good thyroid function, and this can be achieved by stimulating various acupoints that may include 

PC6- Nei Guan (P6) is located three fingerbreadths above the wrist crease, on the inner forearm between the palmaris longus and in between two tendons 

The third eye point - Acupressure Yintang Point an important pressure point for Thyroid is located in between the eyebrows helps stimulate the Master Endocrine Gland (Pituitary Gland) that improves the skin texture, enhances the condition of Skin and reduces skin problems.


Acupoints for Urticaria

Sp10 (Xuehai)- this point is located on the medial aspect of the thigh,2 cun above the superior medial border of the patella. It improves blood circulation and benefits in skin disorders.

Sp6 (Sanyinjiao) - medial aspect of the lower leg, 3 cun above the medial malleolus, on the posterior border of the medial aspect of the tibia. Stimulating this point benefits in skin rashes.

ST 36 (Zusanli) - is located four finger widths down from the bottom of your knee cap, along the outer boundary of your shin bone. It improves skin microcirculation through blood perfusion.


Acupoints for Atopic dermatitis

Acupuncture points for skin diseases like atopic dermatitis that makes your skin red and itchy include  PC6, LI11, ST36, and ST43.


Acupoints for Psoriasis

The most commonly used acupoints for Psoriasis include Geshu BL17(Regulates, cools, nourishes and invigorates Blood), Pishu BL20- Tonifies the Spleen Qi and Yang, regulates Qi in the Middle, raises Qi, Transforms Dampness,  Holds and nourishes Blood


Acupoints for Acne Vulgaris

is a chronic and self-limiting condition characterized by inflamed and non inflamed comedones, oily skin, and cysts. By stimulating acupoints like ST2 (Sibai), ST6 (Jiache), ST36 ( Zusanli), LI20 (Yingxiang), HT8 (Shaofu), SP3 (Tai-bai), and LR3 one can get a Healthy, Beautiful and Glowing Skin.

 

Acupoints for Melasma

It is a common skin problem characterized by brown to gray-brown patches. SP6, ST36, and SP10 along with LI11, PC6, are the most common points that are stimulated to treat this condition 


Acupoints for Hyperhidrosis/Excessive sweating

Applying Acupuncture at Huatuojiaji points (EX-B2) which is a group of 34 points located on the spinous process keeps yin and yang in balance, thus stopping the abnormal sweating.

Studies in Acupuncture for skin diseases

1. Effect of acupuncture on allergen-induced basophils. activation in patients with atopic eczema: a pilot trial.[1]. 

The study included 10 patients suffering from atopic eczema, who were divided into two groups, each group containing 5 patients. Group 1 received acupuncture treatment 3 times weekly for 10 sessions, whereas other group received no treatment. At the end of the treatment, Parameters like intensity of itch and in vitro basophils. CD63 expression upon allergen stimulation was evaluated.  

The results found that there was a significant decrease in the intensity of itch, which was measured by a visual analogue scale, there was also a  significant decrease in basophil activation which is known to play a role in immunoglobulin E–mediated immunity.


2. Acupuncture Treatment for Spontaneous Polyhidrosis.[2]. 

 A total of 56 patients with spontaneous polyhidrosis were enrolled in the study to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatment at Huatuojiaji points on polyhidrosis.the patients were divided into two groups were acupuncture group involved 30 patients and remaining 26 patients received a western medicine treatment. The acupuncture group received daily treatment for 30 minutes, and the control group received Estazolam orally in a dose of 1 mg, three times a day. Ten days treatment was administered,with an interval of one day between two courses. The results found was very effective which showed that acupuncture at Huatuojiaji points on spontaneous polyhidrosis was better than that of western medicine, where acupuncture proved to show  96.7% effective rate while only  57.7%.effective rate were observed in group receiving Estazolam.



Summary

Acupuncture for skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, shingles, fungus, and seborrheic dermatitis. are used by many reflexology and acupuncture specialists nowadays. Few clinical trials and research studies have revealed their efficacy in providing relief from the symptoms of these diseases within a few weeks. By massaging certain points throughout the body that correlate with various organs in the body the skin conditions can be alleviated. Acupuncture for skin issues has very few side effects; and can be used either alone or in combination with conventional treatment, making it a high-reward, low-risk opportunity for treatment.


References

1. Pfab F, Athanasiadis GI, Huss-Marp J, Fuqin J, Heuser B, Cifuentes L, Brockow K, Schober W, Konstantinow A, Irnich D, Behrendt H, Ring J, Ollert M. Effect of acupuncture on allergen-induced basophils. activation in patients with atopic eczema: a pilot trial.J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Apr;17(4):309-14. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

2. WANG Wei-zhi 王伟志 & ZHAO Liang 赵亮. Acupuncture Treatment for Spontaneous Polyhidrosis.Acupuncture Department, The First Hospital Affiliated to Tianjin TCM College, Tianjin 300193.2.

3. Chen CJ, Yu HS..Acupuncture treatment of urticaria.Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1397-9.

4. Kim YK, Yeom M, Kang S, Park HJ, Kim K, Lee H Antipruritic Effect of Acupuncture in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis: Feasibility Study Protocol for a Randomised, Sham-Controlled Trial.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:1926806. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

5. Coyle M, Deng J, Zhang AL, Yu J, Guo X, Xue CC, Lu C.Acupuncture Therapies for Psoriasis Vulgaris: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.Forsch Komplementmed. 2015;22(2):102-9. Epub 2015 Mar 20.

6. Kim KS, Kim YB.Anti-inflammatory effect of Keigai-rengyo-to extract and acupuncture in male patients with acne vulgaris: a randomized controlled pilot trial.J Altern Complement Med. 2012 May;18(5):501-8. 

7. Chai Q, Fei Y, Cao H, Wang C, Tian J, Liu J.Acupuncture for melasma in women: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.Acupunct Med. 2015 Aug;33(4):254-61.

8. Wang WZ, Zhao L.Acupuncture Treatment for Spontaneous Polyhidrosis. J Tradit Chin Med. 2008 Dec;28(4):262-3.

Mary van den Berg-Wolf, MD1 and Thomas Burgoon, MD2. Acupuncture and Cutaneous Medicine: Is It Effective?. 2017.Med Acupunct. 2017 Oct 1; 29(5): 269–275.

9. Tan EK, Millington GW, Levell NJ., Int J Dermatol. 2009 Jun;48(6):648-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.03899.x.

Acupuncture in dermatology: an historical perspective.



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