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Have Dermatitis? Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Can Help!
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM

The word dermatitis is Greek in origin and means inflammation of the skin. There are many different types of dermatitis, each categorized by the person's specific symptoms and according to the location of the body affected. Generally speaking, the signature symptoms of dermatitis are itchiness and redness. However, the skin may blister, swell, ooze, scale, scab and/or be warm to the touch as well.

Though there are many sources that can cause dermatitis, it often presents because a substance (or allergen) has caused the skin to have an allergic reaction. The list of allergens that can result in an episode of dermatitis is plentiful, but the most common are chemicals, pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, latex, and some foods and medications. For this, you can understand why it can be challenging to track the source of an allergy.

According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, diagnoses for dermatitis include excess heat, wind, dryness and dampness, or any combination of. An excess heat display of dermatitis will present as an itchy, red rash. Dampness can look like an oozing, blistering skin condition. A combination of the two, called damp heat, will possibly present as red skin with oozing yellow fluid. A dry skin condition can have a scaly or scabby appearance.

Most conditions affecting the surface of the body, which includes the skin, are considered wind in nature, according to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. A good way to equate the term wind with certain types of dermatitis is to imagine the wind carrying gusts of pollen by you and suddenly hives appear. Hives can pop up and spread quickly, mimicking the quick, ethereal nature of wind in general.

No matter what type of symptoms of dermatitis you may have, most likely you will receive treatment not only for your dermatitis, but also any underlying conditions contributing to its development. In some cases, a practitioner may need to strengthen a patients immune system while simultaneously addressing the condition of the skin. If you experience any anxiety due to itching, pain or embarrassment due to an unsightly appearance, feel free to discuss those issues at the time of your visit. (Please note that acupuncture needles are never directly inserted into rashes or anyplace where the skin is broken.)

Diet also plays an important role in addressing symptoms of dermatitis, according to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, especially when it comes to knowing which foods to avoid. Shellfish and shrimp should be consumed in moderate to small amounts, as they are believed to cause wind in the body. Hot and spicy foods may be eaten in very small amounts because these tastes are known to cause dryness as they have the ability to absorb fluids. The last food to moderate is sugar. A little sugar is fine, but in excess it is believed to produce too much dampness in the body.

Learn more about diet and what choices you could be making to address your symptoms of dermatitis by visiting your acupuncture and practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help ease your symptoms!

About the Author:   Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.