Skin Disorders and TCM

Many people will suffer from some sort of skin condition at some point in their lives. The skin in the body’s largest organ, and it is also the part of the body that is most exposed to the elements. It can be affected by both external and internal factors, and can react to things such as diet, chemicals, environment, stress, sunlight, parasites, allergens, and similar. There are also certain diseases and illnesses that directly affect the skin.

The Variety of Skin Disorders

A skin disorder can be particularly distressing for people, as it is the part of the body that other people can see. In a world where assumptions are often made on appearance alone, a skin disorder can create feelings of low self-esteem, low confidence, and it can be really upsetting. It can also be very uncomfortable, with some conditions causing intense itchiness or pain.

Skin disorders may include acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and rosacea.

Skin conditions can affect people of all ages and of both genders, although certain conditions are typically seen most commonly within a certain group of people. 

TCM Approach To Skin Care

Traditional Chinese medicine can be very effective at treating skin conditions, and because it takes a balanced approach to well being it is also used to treat any underlying conditions that may be manifesting their symptoms through the skin. TCM seeks to address all problems within the body together, rather than working on just one isolated element. This holistic approach often leads to a greater increase in positive results, longer lasting effects, and a higher increase in feelings of well being. TCM addresses causes of a condition rather than just relieving the symptoms, although there are techniques used that also allay initial feelings of discomfort to bring fast relief to the patient. 

TCM practitioners often believe that there are two main factors that cause skin complaints. They are heat and dampness. Heat relates to the feelings inside the body, such as stress, emotions, pressures, tiredness, exhaustion, and over-active hormones. When considering dampness, this relates to the actual environment and external conditions, water retention, and the body’s efficiency at removing waste products and toxins. It can relate to a build up within the body.

Poor digestions and bad circulation may also be causes of skin complaints. 

Unlike with many conventional medicines, when TCM treatments are stopped the problems usually do not happen again. It is a common complaint with conventional treatments that when a cream, lotion, pill, etc is stopped that the initial symptoms quickly reappear again. This is not the case with TCM.

Acupuncture can be an effective method to treat skin conditions. Small needles are places just under the surface of the skin to stimulate pressure points around the body. This action encourages the flow of positive energy, known as chi, along the relevant channels. These channels are known as meridians. When this energy is flowing unimpeded as it should be, and the body is free from any blockages, a person sees improvement in all areas of their health. Acupressure works on the same principle, but the channels are stimulated from outside of the body – no needles pierce the skin. 

Herbal remedies are also often used. Each individual patient will be assessed according to their needs and state of health – there is no one cure suits all approach in TCM. Practitioners will take a range of factors into account when deciding on the best course of treatment for a person for a completely tailored program.

A TCM practitioner will also look at a person’s diet, and offer suggestions for ways to change a diet for better health and give some food therapy tips. Some foods and drinks that are often quite problematic when it comes to skin conditions include excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods such as chillies, pepper, garlic, and ginger. Sweeter spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, can also have a negative impact on the skin. Exotic fruits, seafood, and oily substances may be discouraged in some cases. Excessive fat and grease should also be avoided. Smoking also aggravates many skin conditions, as it can affect the circulation, which is vital for maintaining healthy skin. 

There are various ways in which TCM can help a person who is suffering from a skin disorder; anyone in this situation may be wise to book an appointment with a skilled and qualified TCM practitioner to get to the root of the problem and to start taking steps on the road to recovery. 

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