Mona Searles, Portland Acupuncturist, Searles Wellness

skin disordersTreating Skin Disorders with Accupuncture

Skin disorders are widely and successfully treated with Chinese herbs and acupuncture. That includes many conditions such as generalized or focal itching, eczema, acne, rosacea, seborrhea, acute herpes outbreaks, post herpetic neuralgia, psoriasis, or alopecia.

Diagnostic Theory of Chinese Medicine

To simplify Chinese medical theory, all skin disorders are malfunctions of internal organs and/or their energetic pathways through the body called meridians or channels. For example, eczema may reflect an imbalance in the amount of moisture and dryness in the body or an imbalance characterized by too much heat or too little coolness.

The balance of energy in the body brings optimum health. The Chinese medical treatment ideally targets the underlying root of the problem which ultimately causes disharmony and contributes to the development of the skin problem in the first place. Determining the root of skin problems entails a search for the multiple factors which impact the flexibility of the body's ability to adjust to life's ups and downs.

Our bodies naturally reflect climatic variations such as cold, heat, wind, humidity, temperature, or exposure to the sun impacting the condition of the skin. It is well established in Western research that stressors, good or bad, exacerbate psoriasis and acne--often worsening at inopportune times. Life style issues including exercise, diet, sleep, use of drugs and alcohol also have a significant effect on the functioning of our immune system, nervous system, and hormonal functioning. Constitutionally, some people have much greater skin sensitivity requiring greater care. In addition, "atopic" individuals are also subject to asthma, seasonal allergies, and food allergies.

The Chinese Medicine Practitioner checks the wrist pulses (6 on each wrist) to determine the harmony of the 12 organ systems. Very specific characteristics of the pulses are just part of the examination determining each patient's health status. The color of the complexion and the condition of the tongue are also critically important diagnostic indicators. A complete skin exam evaluates tell tale signs of scratching, infections, lesions, sizes and shapes of growths, and excessive dryness along particular meridians among many other factors.

Treatment With Chinese Medicine

Disharmonies that manifest as skin problems often involve more than one of the body's systems. Acupuncture is effective because it affects the nervous system and the immune response. Chinese herbal formulations are particularly important in treating the underlying problems. Both topical and internal herbal treatments may be recommended to promote a lasting, successful resolution of many conditions.

Western Medical Treatment

It has been estimated that up to 25 percent of the population in Western countries may have a skin problem. The majority of these people do not seek professional medical advice. Of those who do, eczema, bacterial and viral infections, fungal infections, and acne account for almost two-thirds of cases.

Unfortunately rates of melanoma, a particularly dangerous pigmented skin cancer, as well as squamous and basal cell skin cancers have increased substantially. Currently, skin cancers are the most common cancer in the United States. Early detection of cancers requires vigilance and often a biopsy of suspicious lesions. Many skin conditions have very similar or confusing appearances; only the discerning expert dermatologic skin exam can save patients time, worry, and expense with a proper diagnosis and treatment. Chronic itchy skin conditions are difficult to control and tend resist common available treatments. Click links to Itchiness! (now under construction).

In addition to a Chinese assessment, Ms. Searles looks through the lens of her 25 years of Western medical experience. She will particularly be on the alert for suspicious moles, sun damaged skin areas, and skin cancers from a Western dermatological perspective. Skin biopsies may recommended and/or referrals to specialists made when appropriate.

If you would like to discuss how acupuncture treatment can help your condition, please call me at (503) 943-9842. You can also reach me via email at Intake forms for new patients are available on my Contact page.