Treatment of Skin Conditions with Acupuncture

The skin reacts to imbalances within the body’s internal landscape and to the effects of the environment. Your skin is a reflection of those internal disharmonies and environmental influences. Strong emotions, diet, anatomy, wind, dryness, dampness, and heat can all contribute to the development of a skin disorder.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can quickly alleviate acute symptoms and provides significant, lasting relief from chronic skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, pruritus, psoriasis, rosacea, shingles and urticaria (hives).

To keep your skin healthy and beautiful on the outside, you must work on the inside of your body as well. Increasing the flow of energy and blood and lymph circulation improves the skin’s complexion and appearance. This output triggers collagen production, which increases muscle tone and elasticity, thus helping to firm the skin. Stimulating circulation also nourishes the skin and encourages it to be moister, softer, smoother, and more lustrous.

Oriental medicine treats specific symptoms that are unique to each individual by using acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, energetic exercises, lifestyle and nutrition recommendations to restore imbalances found in the body.

If you suffer from a skin condition or would like to know how to optimize your skin health, call today to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you.

Study Shows Acupuncture Effective for Skin Conditions

According to a large-scale analysis carried out by medical researchers, acupuncture is an effective primary treatment for a variety of dermatological conditions. As reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2015, evidence compiled from 24 different scientific studies, underwent a thorough investigation.

Researchers evaluated scientific studies that examined the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for ectopic dermatitus (eczema), pruritus (intense itching), urticaria (hives), acne, neurodermatitis (chronic, severe itching), chloasma (rashes due to pregnancy), and facial elasticity.

Out of the 24 studies, 17 showed acupuncture significantly reduced flare-ups, improved symptoms, and provided greater clearance of skin lesions and wheals (red, raised, itchy patches of skin). Researchers recommend further studies to fully understand the mechanisms of acupuncture that produce these results.

Source: Ma C1, Sivamani RK1. Acupuncture as a Treatment Modality in Dermatology: A Systematic Review. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Sep;21(9):520-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0274. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Study Finds Acupuncture Reduces Itchiness

Pruritis is the nagging, persistent inclination to scratch one’s skin. This overwhelming desire to alleviate the itch can occur on its own or as a consequence of skin disease. In an effort to assuage this unpleasant feeling, researchers set out to discover whether acupuncture could provide relief.

A study called “Efficacy of Acupuncture in Itch: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Clinical Randomized Trials,” published in the 2015 edition of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, revealed exciting news for patients with itchy skin conditions.

Researchers sifted through 8 major databases and identified randomized control trials (RCTs) that matched acupuncture up against no treatment or placebo treatment. Three out of the more than 2,000 articles of RCTs were pulled and reviewed. To qualify, the trials had to be restricted to skin itch and include analysis methods explaining the degree and location of itchiness, such as the Eppendorf Itch Questionnaire and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

The three-study meta-analysis focused on 35 study subjects and 35 controls–some of which had placebo acupuncture or no treatment. Antihistamine nor placebo acupuncture reduced itch or the brain’s response to itch. But those receiving real acupuncture saw a significant reduction in itch and the impulse to scratch.

Researchers also found that combining acupuncture and electroacupuncture stimulation (electrical current flowing between two acupuncture needles) successfully treated itch when high frequencies were applied to affected dermatones, which are specific localities on the skin supplied by only one spinal nerve.

Source: Yu C., et al. (2015). Efficacy of Acupuncture in Itch: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from

Troubling Acne? Try Acupuncture!

Since 85 percent of all adolescents suffer from an acne condition, many of us believe it is a problem that only teenagers experience. However, the American Academy of Dermatology reports that 20 percent of adults also have active acne and we see that age plays less of a factor.

Acne often occurs when the hair follicles or pores become clogged from oil, dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, environmental toxins or physical irritations on the surface of the skin. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands that secrete an oily substance known as sebum. Ordinarily, the secretion of sebum provides a luscious, healthy sheen to hair and skin. But there are times when the substance builds up, causing the pores to become plugged.

For some, acne may just simply be a nuisance from time to time; for others, the problem is chronic. Not only do they suffer from frequent acne breakouts, but also acne scarring. What’s more, only as little as 11 percent of the 60 million Americans struggling with acne will seek professional treatment.

If you are showing symptoms of acne, even if it’s not chronic and severe, you may want to consider acupuncture. In addition to directly treating your skin condition through a personalized treatment plan, you can receive treatment for any underlying issues. By seeking treatment earlier rather than later, you may even be able to reduce the incidence of permanent scarring.

Generally, acupuncture and Oriental medicine view acne as heat and damp conditions. If the skin presents as red, swollen or painful, this is considered a heat condition. If the acne presents as a tender, pus-filled lump, it may be treated as a damp or damp-heat condition.

A few things you can do to get symptom relief at home include avoiding the temptation to pick at your acne as this can irritate the condition further and increase your chances of scarring. Use of a non-oily cleanser twice a day on the afflicted area and rinsing your skin with lukewarm green tea–brewed in the same way as if you were going to drink it–may help minimize the presence of oil and bacteria found on your skin.

Acupuncture for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins happen when the one-way valves that move blood towards the heart, malfunction. Blood becomes trapped in the vein and seeps downward, causing enlarged blood vessels, pain and inflammation. Affected blood vessels may appear purple, blue or even black in color. Limbs may feel heavy, numb, and difficult to maneuver. Other complications can develop including open wounds, itchiness, phlebitis, or thrombosis.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine may diagnosis this condition as Spleen Qi Sinking. The Spleen plays a vital role in blood vessel health as it has the responsibility of ‘keeping things in their place.” In the case of varicose veins, the Spleen malfunctions in a way that interferes with the integrity of blood vessel walls, resulting in their failure to manage and contain blood flow properly.

At the very tip of the head resides a versatile acupuncture point called Hundred Meetings. One of its jobs is to force energy in an upward direction, thus directing the blood to keep on its natural course by ascending to the heart. This point commands a lot of Qi as it is a meeting place for many sources of energy to converge in the body. The goal is to encourage toxic, stagnating blood to move.

Some ways to boost your circulation at home and get relief from symptoms of varicose veins include exercise, not sitting or standing too long, wearing compression hose, a 10-minute warm foot soak, elevating your feet to the level of your heart for 10 minutes, and wearing comfortable, flat, cushioned shoes.