The skin is the largest organ in the body.
Conditions affecting the skin include Acne, Dermatitis, Herpes Simplex and Zoster (Shingles), Urticaria, Rosacea, Psoriasis, Foliculitis, Fungal Infections, Pustulosis and Furuncles.
Skin conditions can present with redness, itching, fissures, pustules or bleeding. Some conditions cause a burning sensation or seep clear or yellow fluid, others tend to be dry, peel or crust.
Skin conditions do not only manifest physically. They also tend to be debilitating in their social and emotional effects, through feelings of shame, or a sense of uncleanliness.
What is the cause?
Fungal and bacterial infections are persistent and difficult to cure. Stubborn inflammation of the skin caused by allergens may lead toa vicious cycle of inflammation and itching. Scratching the lesions introduces further infection and additional bleeding.
In Western Medicine, skin conditionsare treated with antibiotics, anti-fungal drugs, antiviral, immunosuppressants, anti- inflammatories, Antihistamines and Cortico-steroids.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, skin conditions are complex, but tend to respond well to treatment.
Red, swollen or dry skin appears when heat surfaces from within. Heat may be generated by emotional or physiological causes. As heat escapes, the skin erupts and lesions form.Lesions may seep fluid, appear dry, or beextremely itchy. Each of these factors are taken into consideration to understand the underlying cause.
Internally, a weak digestive system can lead to an accumulation of turbid fluids. Accumulation tends to block the transmission of nutrients to the skin, and generates heat. This heat surfaces to the skin, taking with it the very turbidity that caused it.
Other conditions stem from emotional imbalance, environmental conditions of damp, wind or heat. There are many other videntifiable causes to skin disease in Chinese Medicine.
All sounds strange, true, but these phenomena are pivotal in understanding Chinese Medicine dermatology. All physical signs have a deeper physiological basis. This needs to be clearly defined before treatment is given.
Many variables can lead to skin disease. A combination of some of the earlier mentioned factors come together to create any given presentation. For simplicity sake, only some examples have been mentioned.
Acupuncture is useful in the treatment of
skin conditions, particularly when itching and burning is concerned. Herbal medicine offers a powerful approach to assist in correcting deep physiological imbalances. Damp is transformed, digestion is strengthened, blood is cooled, internal organs and emotions are rebalanced. All these factors bring about recovery.
Medicated herbal creams can be applied. They cool, dry or nourish the affected area, depending on the presentation. Ingested herbs slowly rectify the causative imbalance which led to the condition in the first place.
Individualisation and the holistic nature of the treatment is seen in the careful selection ofspecific acupuncture points, or when inspecting the careful selection of herbs, the reasons behind their choice, and the dosage dispensed at any given stage of the condition. As the condition changes, herbs are adjusted to deal with the changing presentation.
Diet modifications are generally a pivotal approach to clearing up skin conditions. Foods, like herbs, have specific energetic qualities and temperature considerations. Chinese diet therapy is very advanced in its approach, and the benefits are often astounding.