What is eczema?

Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin. The most common is known as atopic eczema, which causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red. Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp.  It is usually a long-term (chronic) condition that starts in childhood; although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely with age.

Other types of eczema include:

discoid eczema – a type of eczema that occurs in circular or oval patches on the skin
contact dermatitis – a type of eczema that occurs when the body comes into contact with a particular substance
varicose eczema – a type of eczema that most often affects the lower legs and is caused by problems with the flow of blood through the leg veins
seborrhoeic eczema – a type of eczema where red, scaly patches develop on the sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears and scalp
dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx) – a type of eczema that causes tiny blisters to erupt across the palms of the hands

The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown.  “Atopic” means sensitivity to allergens and atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies.  It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.


The Western Medical Approach:

Western medicine treats eczema with moisturizers and topical corticosteroids, which can help to relieve the symptoms of atopic eczema, and many cases improve over time. However, there is currently no cure and severe eczema often has a significant impact on daily life, which may be difficult to cope with physically and mentally. There’s also an increased risk of skin infections. 

Our Approach and Treatment:

The Five Element acupuncturist sees eczema (like all symptoms) as a sign of an imbalance in the person. All living beings are governed by the natural laws we observe in nature and the eczema experienced by the presenting patient will have a cause in one of the five elements that produce our outer and inner reality. Practitioners of this ancient healing tradition have the skills to diagnose the unique cause of eczema in each person and effect an acupuncture treatment that has the potential to alleviate not only the symptom of eczema but all suffering.

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