Chinese Medicine has been used in the management of Skin Conditions for millennium
There is a wide variety of skin conditions that can benefit from the use of traditional Chinese medicine. Herbs are often the chosen modality in handling such conditions, as they work on the underlying factors within the body and are aimed at reducing heat, dryness, itch or moisture that appears on the skin. These individual features that are seen on the skin are taken into consideration when analysing the underlying cause of the condition and it is that underlying cause that often becomes the focus of the treatment.
Chinese herbs and ointments are individually designed and mixed for the patient with the aim of treating the unique presentation for each individual. Below I will briefly touch on some common skin conditions.
Roscea manifests as red skin along the cheeks and nose and is primarily noticeable in middle-aged women. The reason for that in a Chinese medicine context is that women at middle-age often go through pre-menopause or menopause. According to Chinese medicine, the general manifestation of menopause involves the loss of body fluid. That loss of fluid (yin) causes the body to hear up internally. Naturally, heat rises. That heat can affect the body in different ways. In the case of Rosacea with menopausal symptoms, the heat in the body rises and is externalised, affecting the fine capillaries of the face and causing them to inflame, redden and expand. The role of the practitioner is not only to focus on the presentation of heat in the face, but also to support the underlying loss of fluid (yin) of the body, and to add specific herbs that act locally on the face to ensure that symptoms are targeted as well as the underlying condition. Dietary considerations will focus on reducing further heat production in the body and support the process of fluid regeneration in the body.
Acne involves a different type of heat rising to the face – heat that is generated from an excesstype of disorder, and in Chinese medicine is seen as having a connection to the liver. The excessive heat in the body that is often seen in teenagers can be seen in the emotional states of the teen, whether those emotions are outwardly expressed or are internally suppressed. Food types may not be the primary cause of the acne, but an overly sweet or rich diet may cause acne to produce more pus. The individual type of acne and the internal state of the body are both examined to deal with the symptoms more effectively and for the longer term. Herbs are again the more holistic choice, as the dose is taken daily and works to balance the energetics of the body to firstly detoxify damp/heat (pus and unresolved fluids) and secondly, reduce the heat from the liver and its eventual rise to the face. Diet and lifestyle are always considered to further support the process.
Dermatitis or eczema, as it is often known, describe many different types of inflammatory conditions of the skin. The practitioner needs to discern the underlying imbalances within the body and their causative factors to best assist with the presenting condition. From a Chinese medical perspective, inflammation of the skin and the manifestation of an itch, a rash, pus and its location on the body, all provide important information as far as the underlying cause and proposed clinical approach to the condition.
The terms used in Chinese medicine to describe the condition may sound metaphoric or pictorial, and that is because the formation of language and Chinese culture differ so widely from our own. It is that very nature of Chinese medicine that enables it to view the world as it does and tackle issues from a different angle. It is important to take into account the depth of the Chinese medicine’s clinical investigation, its observational parameters and precise selection of herbs to address the wide array of possibilities and the specific handling of individual presentations as they appear in the clinic.
In Dermatitis, redness is a sign of heat; pus and exudate are termed dampness. The dampness may be just damp, or damp-heat, or damp-cold or toxic-damp, depending on the specific presentation of the condition. An itch involves wind, that may have had an external source or be internally generated. Dermatitis may involve blood heat, or wind-damp and heat or be due to an underlying deficiency of fluid (yin). Mostly, the diagnostic process in Chinese medicine involves a mixed pattern of two to three of the above-mentioned factors. Understanding the cause and the possible progression of the condition allows for a better approach in dealing with each case.
Psoriasis, Boils, Ulcers, Furuncles, Tina, Urticaria and different fungal infections are additional skin conditions treated at the clinic.
The skin is a fragile organ and different factors may affect it. Chinese medicine’s unique approach has the capacity to handle both acute and chronic conditions. I am always happy to go into further details, so if you are unsure about your particular case, feel free to give me a call and discuss your individual condition in more detail.