Acupuncture for Skin Disorders
University of California doctors (2015) find acupuncture improves patient outcomes for the treatment of skin disorders including dermatitis, urticaria, chloasma, pruritus, and hyperhidrosis.
According to WHO, there were random clinical trials that proved the effectiveness of acupuncture on chloasma, herpes zoster, pruritus, and neurodermatitis. Luan et al reports in Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (1996), 60 cases of chloasma recovered after treatment with auricular acupuncture and acupressure, which produced significantly better effects than Vitamins C and E.
In another report in the World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion (1994), Chen et al observed the curative effects of laser acupuncture on the human (alpha) herpes virus 3. The procedure brought about pain relief and scar tissue formation more quickly than polyinosinic acid treatment.
Aside from performing significantly better than other treatment modalities, acupuncture also produced anti-pruritic effects (British Journal of Dermatology, 1987) and proved to be effective in treating neurodermatitis using the three-step seven-star needling therapy (Journal of Guiyang Chinese Medical College, 1998).
Acupuncture for Eczema & Skin Disorders 2015 Pacific College of Oriental Medicine https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/01/16/acupuncture-eczema-skin-disorders
Acupuncture Clears Skin conditions HealthCMi on 05 July 2015. http://www.nccaom.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Acupuncture%20Clears%20Skin%20Conditions.pdf
Acupuncture and Herpes Zoster
Evidence from a systematic review of studies assessing the treatment of herpes zoster with acupuncture suggests that acupuncture therapy is effective for the condition.(Yu 2007) In a randomised controlled trial, electroacupuncture in combination with surround needling was found to be effective in facilitating crust formation and pain relief in patients with herpes zoster, and the effect was superior to that of medication.(Li 2009) Another randomised controlled trial found that acupuncture (surround needling) had a positive effect on cure rate in patients with herpes zoster, and that adding moxibustion to acupuncture improved the cure rate, and reduced the time to crust formation and the incidence of residual neuralgia.(Zhang 2007)
Ref: British Acupuncture Council 2014 ACUPUNCTURE AND HERPES ZOSTER https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/item/download/1134_0e7952e5cba982b… · PDF file
Acupuncture and Neurophysiology
Studies (Cabioglu MT & Surucu HS 2009) have revealed the importance of neurophysiologic research in explaining the effect mechanism of acupuncture. Applying acupuncture shows reactions in local, regional, central nervous system, and general levels. Regional reflexes related with viscero-cutaneous and cutaneo-visceral reflexes; increased levels of -endorphin, enkephalin, and serotonin in the central nervous system and plasma; and effects of these neurotransmitters in the nervous system and many other systems.
Ref: Acupuncture and Neurophysiology (Cabioglu MT & Surucu HS 2009) MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE Volume 21, Number 1, 2009 © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acu.2009.0638 ( https://www.hss.edu/files/Acupuncture-and-Neurophysiology.pdf)
Acupuncture safety and regulation (NHS Choice)
There’s no statutory regulation of acupuncture in England, but many non-medical acupuncture practitioners are required to register with their local authority.
If you choose to have acupuncture, make sure your acupuncture practitioner is either a regulated healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse of physiotherapist or a member of a recognised national acupuncture organisation.
When it’s carried out by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe. Some people experience mild, short-lived side effects such as:
- pain where the needles puncture the skin
- bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
- feeling sick
- feeling dizzy or faint
- worsening of pre-existing symptoms
Acupuncture is also not usually advised if you have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted.
It’s generally safe to have acupuncture when you’re pregnant.
Acupuncture on the NHS (NHS Choice 2017)
Acupuncture is sometimes available on the NHS, most often from GPs or physiotherapists, although access is limited.
Most acupuncture patients pay for private treatment. The cost of acupuncture varies widely between practitioners. Initial sessions usually cost £40-70, and further sessions £25-60.
If you’re being treated by an acupuncture practitioner for a health condition or are considering having acupuncture, it’s advisable to discuss this with your GP.
Uses of acupuncture (NHS Choice 2017)
Acupuncture practitioners – sometimes called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. However, the use of acupuncture isn’t always based on rigorous scientific evidence.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients.
Currently, NICE only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for:
Acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:
- chronic pain, such as neck pain
- joint pain
- dental pain
- postoperative pain
How acupuncture is performed (NHS Choice 2017)
An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20-40 minutes and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.
Courses of treatment often involve up to 10 separate sessions, but this can vary.
Insertion of the needles
The needles are inserted into specific places on the body, which practitioners call acupuncture points.
During the session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.
The needles used are fine and are usually a few centimetres long. They should be single-use, pre-sterilised needles that are disposed of immediately after use.
Acupuncture practitioners choose specific points to place the needles based on your condition. Up to 12 points may be used during a typical session, sometimes more depending on the number of symptoms you have.
The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle tissue. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes.
You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but shouldn’t experience any significant pain. If you do, let your practitioner know straight away.
In some cases, your practitioner may rotate the needles or stimulate them with a mild electric current (known as electroacupuncture).
How acupuncture works (NHS Choice 2017)
Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body.
This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.
A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.
Ref: NHS Choice 2017 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Acupuncture/Pages/Introduction.aspx#howitworks
What is Qi-acupuncture
An acupuncturist adds his/herself Qi into the acupuncture needles to achieve a good treatment effect is called Qi-acupuncture. Only acupuncturists who have practised many years Chinese Qi-gong are able to offer a Qi-acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion as an Evidence-based Therapy for Cancer