Eczema is a common skin condition that causes patches of dry, itchy skin and a red rash on different parts of your body. Eczema symptoms can be triggered by your body’s natural immune response to certain proteins. Both home remedies and prescription treatment plans may be part of managing eczema symptoms.
In recent years, acupuncture has gotten some attention as a possible way to treat symptoms of eczema, particularly the symptom of itching.
Let’s take a look at what we know about how acupuncture may help eczema and who can safely try the treatment.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that’s been used for over
Acupuncture involves a licensed provider inserting very small, thin needles into pressure points on your body. These pressure points are believed to activate your central nervous system to help treat a wide variety of health conditions.
Acupuncture is mostly used in the US as a treatment for pain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have concluded based on published research that acupuncture is a valuable treatment for:
- lower back pain
Whether acupuncture can provide valuable treatment for other types of conditions is less established, and the evidence about using it to treat skin conditions is mostly anecdotal. More research is needed.
Acupuncture does appear to help some people treat their eczema symptoms. The success of the treatment may vary depending on what causes your eczema to flare up.
If your eczema is related to dietary, seasonal, or environmental allergies, acupuncture may be able to help. There’s
However, there’s not a lot of evidence that acupuncture can help relieve other symptoms of eczema, such as redness or dry patches of skin. As a
People who believe acupuncture works to treat eczema typically subscribe to the idea that the treatment can help control your immune system’s response to your eczema triggers. These individuals report having weekly appointments with a trained and licensed acupuncturist and gradually reducing frequency to “tune-up” biweekly appointments.
The pressure points that an acupuncturist would focus on to treat eczema might depend on where flares tend to happen. It might also depend on other health conditions present.
Only a licensed professional can give you an accurate assessment of how or if acupuncture can be used to treat your eczema symptoms.
Even if it works to manage some symptoms, acupuncture is not a cure for eczema.
If it works well for you, it can be a tool in your treatment plan toolkit, along with:
- topical creams
- mild steroid creams
- oatmeal baths
- avoiding triggers
Home remedies for eczema along with prescription topical or oral medication from your dermatologist might be required if you have severe symptoms.
Many individuals who live with eczema are 2 years old or younger. Infants and children who have eczema may see their symptoms decrease as they get older, with or without treatments like acupuncture. Not every acupuncture provider will use acupuncture on children, according to the National Eczema Association.
There’s reason to believe acupuncture might work to manage symptoms of itching for some people with eczema.
Whether it works for you may depend on factors such as:
- how old you are
- what triggers your eczema
- which other treatments you’re using
Your dermatologist might have some additional insight about acupuncture and other holistic remedies that might work to manage your eczema.
To find a nationally board certified and licensed acupuncturist, visit the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s practitioner directory.