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Chinese Medicine for Skin Conditions
Questions and Answers
Jessica Silver, MAOM, L.Ac.

Your skin is one of the most vulnerable organs of your body. Though seldom life threatening, skin disorders can be very uncomfortable and may cause chronic disabilities. In addition, because skin is so visible, skin disorders can lead to psychological stress.

Skin problems, which affect more than 10 million Americans, can be one of the most frustrating and stubborn group of symptoms to successfully treat. Many pharmaceutical solutions offer quick relief but do not provide a lasting solution, and come with risks such as toxic build-up in the body and weakening of other organ systems. More and more people are choosing alternative solutions, which are safer and which address the root cause of the symptom instead of covering it up each time it re-appears.

Q: Is Chinese Medicine effective for treating Skin Disorders?
A: Yes. In fact, dermatology is a recognized specialty in traditional Chinese Medicine. Treatments for skin disorders have been described as early as 1100-221 BC in China. Throughout the United States today, many patients are frustrated with stubborn skin conditions that are not satisfactorily treated using Western medications, or they find that results do not last consistently. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs offer a natural solution to improving skin conditions.

Q: What types of skin conditions can Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs treat?
A: The most common skin conditions treated are acne, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and dry or itchy skin.

Q: According to Chinese Medicine, what causes skin conditions?
A: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is a whole system of interconnected parts. Although skin problems manifest externally, their root causes are often complex, and involve internal imbalances between qi, blood, yin, yang, and different energetic systems of the body. Usually the pathology involves a combination of internal imbalances and external pathological environmental factors. Internal imbalances include; a weak immune system, digestive disorders, poor diet, unbalanced lifestyle, stress, genetic constitution, and unbalanced emotions. Pathological external environmental factors are often weather related and which invade the body causing symptoms to appear on the skin.

Examples of recognized environmental factors involved in skin conditions are as follows. These aspects of diagnosis are often seen in combination with each other.

Heat: characterized by appearance of redness, burning or heat sensation, and symptom worsens with alcohol, anger/stress, hot/spicy food, and hot weather.

Wind: characterized by quick onset, and movement of symptoms to different areas of the body, itchiness, and aversion to wind.

Damp: characterized by oozing or weeping conditions, feeling of body heaviness. Dampness can also be an internally generated factor worsened by eating rich, oily or dairy foods.

Dry: characterized by scaly itchy skin which is worse in dry, winter or autumn weather.

Cold: characterized by open sores, purplish color, wet discharge and slow healing, and usually a chronic condition.

Q: How is the imbalance analyzed?
A: Important factors are considered before making each individual diagnosis and treatment plan. Aside from careful inspection of the exterior skin condition, relevant information includes the type of eruption, color, temperature, foods, activities, climates or emotions that affect the symptoms, details about onset, duration and frequency of the problem, along with any other signs in the body including digestion, energy, emotions, sleep, and immune system.

Q: How are skin conditions treated?
A: Each condition for each individual patient is unique, and is treated as such. It is usually very important to use Chinese herbs daily, taken internally along with topically applied liniments, with acupuncture. In addition, dietary changes are often recommended, since metabolism of certain food can contribute to skin conditions.

An example of how Chinese Medicine would treat eczema is by:
  1. Strengthening the immune system, thereby decreasing sensitivity to external or environmental hazards
  2. Balancing the internal organ systems and treating the internal imbalances that are contributing to or causing eczema
  3. Releasing toxins from the skin, thereby eliminating the itchy, red rash
  4. Building the yin and blood, which help nourish and repair damaged skin
Q: How long does it take to get results?
A: The amount of time it takes for skin conditions to resolve varies depending on duration and severity of the condition. In general, results are sometimes noticed as early as one week into treatment, but often take several months to clear up significantly. This is because it takes longer to balance the body from the inside out, rather than just address the problem topically or temporarily. However, the treatment of the whole body, rather than just the skin, is the key to eliminating the problem and not just covering it up. According to Chinese medicine, when a chronic condition has settled in the skin, it is an indication that the personŐs general health has been compromised for quite a long time. Treating skin conditions with Chinese medicine is well worth the time and patience it requires. A healthy balanced body is significantly less likely to have a recurrence of the skin condition.

Q: Where can I get more information and treatment?
A: Call Us at 212-894-0767 and ask to schedule a Free 15 Minute Evaluation.

Jessica Silver and Juliette Aiyana are both licensed and Nationally Board Certified Acupuncturists and Chinese Herbalists.

Written by:
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac.
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
41 Union Square West, Suite 519
New York, NY 10003
(212) 894.0767

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- Fran M. Female, Age 39

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