Vitiligo
327 Case Studies
146 Member Stories
36 Research

How does TCM view Vitiligo or Leucoderma?

Vitiligo is a common skin disorder caused by different things. As the number of vitiligo patients continues to grow rapidly, various therapies are emerging for vitiligo treatment. With the use of acupuncture and moxibustion, its impact is evident today.

Vitiligo is characterized by pigment loss (melanin) in the skin, resulting in bleached white spots, which might spread over a large region of the body. Autoimmunity is suspected as the cause of the condition. Western medicine prescribes some kind of immunosuppressive treatment, such as topical steroids, but with many side effects.

Chinese herbs can provide some hope of treatment in recent cases or new lesions and some repigmentation to longstanding ones. In diagnosing skin ailments, TCM believes physical, psychological, and environmental factors. Asking in-depth questions, taking the pulse, and observing the skin and tongue, the TCM practitioner will diagnose the condition based on TCM patterns. Skin conditions and disorders are usually brought on by inner disharmonies, such as lack of Qi and blood, or environmental influences. These include dampness, wind, dryness, and warmth. diet, stress, genetics, lifestyle factors, and the person's constitution that contribute to these patterns.

See: A Case of Vitiligo and Her Remission with Functional Medicine

Acupuncture treatment for Vitiligo (Leucoderma)

Acupuncture treatment for Vitiligo

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs especially heal skin ailments. 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 on the condition, treatment may involve acupuncture, Chinese herbs, or both. Often, one treatment cycle is once or twice weekly for 12 weeks. Some conditions will clear quickly, but others may take longer.

True diagnosis and tests are important for vitiligo remedies. The evaluations and identification of vitiligo include skin CT, wood lamp, Blood test, urine test, and more. The symptoms can show on the skin, but the practitioner should figure out the root causes underneath the skin. And the root cause of vitiligo can be broken into many possibilities. We should test the blood, blood pressure, trace elements, and vitamins. Vitiligo patients may lack copper and zinc ions. So in these cases, you can make some modifications to diets. Then it is possible to supplement trace components.  

Experts say that acupuncture and moxibustion can heal vitiligo. Just as its name suggests, the treatment is composed of 'acupuncture ' and 'moxibustion.' By the purpose of acupuncture and moxibustion to correct main and collateral channels, viscera and qi and blood, then to improve the blood flow and metabolism on lesion positions. And also foster the synthesis of melanophore and enhance the melanophore activity. This way, we can find the purpose to treat vitiligo in origin.

Theoretically, the acupuncture and moxibustion can adjust internal secretion function and boost immune function. In the view of traditional Chinese physicians, vitiligo is due to the deficiency of liver and kidney. During this therapy, practitioners will find your acupoint and employ filling vacancy method to treat you. In practice, the observation situation isn't in agreement with the theory. After treatment, some patients will, on the opposite, aggravate their conditions. After assessing their conditions, physicians discover that it might be associated with their sense of anxiety for acupuncture and moxibustion.

Acupuncture and moxibustion have protection and modification effects. The defense function of the therapy is complicated. It may increase the reticuloendothelial system ( RES ) function and various specific immunity and nonspecific immunity. And fix blood vessels and internal organs and cells. Additionally, it has an inhibiting effect on hyperthyroidism spastic organs, cells, and organizations. And it's an excitant and exciting effect for slow and weak organs, cells and organizations.

The mix of traditional Chinese medicine and western therapy will create a better treatment effect. In TCM, vitiligo treatment revolves around clearing toxins and improving the good flow of Qi and Blood into the skin. Blockage and stagnation of energy, body fluids, blood,  or feelings, are considered the origin of many health issues. When these very important substances do not flow properly, toxins can't be removed and cause ailments in the body. An example is the Koebner phenomenon of this principle, as the trauma produces an instantaneous bruising and blockage. If the person has been predisposed to vitiligo, it may trigger its onset.

Acupuncture treatment includes internal and external herbal therapy. Internal treatment may involve the boiling of a 10-12 herb mixture, and drinking it twice a day. The majority of the herbs are Blood and Qi circulators, while some are more modern developments that have been found to have an anti-vitiligo effect. 

The external therapy consists of employing a psoralen-rich tincture into the stains, followed by brief exposure to natural sunlight. Psoralens are compounds found in certain plants, making the skin more sensitive to sunlight and sparkling the interrupted melanin production. Too much exposure can also lead to sunburn. It should always be implemented under the supervision of an experienced practitioner and exactly as directed. Vitiligo patches start to fill in with the natural skin pigment after several treatments. It may take many months or years for the skin to be normal after therapy ceases. 

See: Acupuncture treatment for skin diseases

Factors affecting outcomes

An early start in treatment

There may be a big advantage of starting treatment early, such as in the first 2-3 years if vitiligo. It can make a big difference in the outcome. As TCM treatment for vitiligo isn't well understood, many can't benefit from early intervention. But even in longstanding cases, there may be newer lesions, and if treated immediately have a good opportunity to re-pigment.

Lack of adherence

Due to a lack of awareness about TCM, the flavor of these herbs is another possible obstacle to treatment. Many Western patients are unaccustomed to drinking bitter brews, and cannot overcome this obstacle.  The complementary use of traditional Chinese medicine and western treatment can use the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, reduce the dosage of hormones, and minimize side effects. Regardless of what treatment you use, patients should find the standard treatment under the guidance and diagnosis of physicians. About vitiligo, patients need to take timely therapy. Even though the symptoms appear to be exactly the same, but the pathogenesis and patients' physical fitness are distinct. The treatment should be based on their requirements and needs specific treatment strategies.

See: Leucoderma Ayurvedic Treatment (Vitiligo)

Studies in Acupuncture & TCM for Vitiligo

Research


Vitiligo is a common illness of depigmented skin. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been proven effective for The treatment of vitiligo, but the normal differential syndromes and Effective formulas and herbs continue to be controversial. This study aimed to examine and analyze the fundamentals of distinction and prescription in treating vitiligo In TCM, according to a large-scale literature evaluation. 

Methods: Articles about vitiligo treatment using TCM were researched in three databases, such as China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1979-2014), China Science Periodical Database (1990-2014), and PubMed (1984-2014). The frequency of differential syndromes, herbs, and formulas were analyzed with a metrological method and logistic multiple regression analysis. 

Outcomes: Five syndromes account for the significant differential categories in vitiligo: liver and kidney deficiency, Qi stagnation and blood stasis, liver depression and Qi stagnation, disharmony between Qi and blood, And blood contradictory with the wind. The Frequent formula prescriptions most Often used were Tong-Qiao-Huo-Xue decoction, Xiao-Yao powder, and Si-Wu decoction. The most frequently prescribed herbs were Angelica Sinensis, Ligusticum wallichii, Tribulus Terrestris, Polygonum multiflorum, Fructus Psoralea, Radix Paeoniae Rubra, Rehmannia glutinosa, Glossy Privet Fruit, Eclipta alba, Salvia miltiorrhiza, Liquorice, and Angelica dahurica. The treatment fundamentals of vitiligo are tonifying the liver and kidney, Maintaining blood and expelling wind. Conclusion: The most frequent syndromes of vitiligo are liver and kidney deficiency, Qi stagnation, and blood stasis. Most TCM physicians prefer prescribing herbs with efficiency in Tonifying the liver and kidney, activating blood, and expelling wind in healing vitiligo.

Reference:

Gao C, Yang L, Chen M, Zhang H: Principles of Differentiation and Prescription for Vitiligo in Traditional Chinese Medicine Based on a Literature Investigation. Integr Med Int 2015;2:149-156. DOI: 10.1159/000441845


See: Successful Ayurvedic Treatment for Vitiligo White Patches on Skin

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