Can Acupuncture Treat Eczema?

Breeze Academy November 28, 2022
Eczema on hand

The effectiveness of Acupuncture on a range of musculoskeletal and mental health conditions is well documented and is commonly accepted as a good, alternative treatment to Western medicine. But what about dermatology? Can Acupuncture help with conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis)? In this article, we explore the current understanding of how Acupuncture may be able to help treat eczema and its limitations.

So can Acupuncture treat eczema? Acupuncture may be beneficial in relieving eczema symptoms, such as itching, as well as reducing lesions and minimising flare-ups. However, Acupuncture will not cure eczema as it doesn’t treat the underlying cause. 

Read on to learn more about Acupuncture for eczema and how it may be able to help.

Does Acupuncture Help to Alleviate Eczema?

Acupuncture does appear to alleviate eczema, however its success is largely dependent upon the cause of the eczema flare up, and how severe it is. For example, there is recent evidence to suggest that Acupuncture may be beneficial for eczema related to dietary, seasonal, or environmental allergies.

That being said, it is not currently understood how Acupuncture helps eczema. The study above did, however, report that Acupuncture lowered the intensity of eczema-related itching better than placebos or no treatment, potentially due to the process of acupuncture offering a distraction from itching.

Likewise, a 2018 study in the International Journal of Allergy Medications reported that Acupuncture treatment saw a reduction in itch, lesion size and recurrence. The study’s authors went on to say that acupuncture was valuable in the treatment of eczema “by virtue of the fact that it can reduce a patient’s level of stress.”

With regards to other common eczema symptoms, there is currently no evidence to suggest that Acupuncture eczema treatments have any effect. A 2015 review explained that there is a lack of large-scale studies that prove acupuncture to be an effective treatment.

How Does Acupuncture Treat Eczema?

It’s not currently understood exactly how Acupuncture works to help eczema, but theories are centred around treating and managing symptoms, opposed to curing the condition. These include:

  • Managing itching - multiple studies indicate that Acupuncture may improve mild to moderate eczema itching
  • Reducing lesions and flare-ups - a 2018 review reported that in patients that received Acupuncture eczema treatment, there was a reduction in flare-ups and lesion size, potentially as a result of Acupunctures’ stress-relieving benefits
  • Reduced severity - a 2020 study suggests that Acupuncture may be effective in reducing the severity of eczema, and the size of an outbreak

Some people believe that this is achieved through Acupuncture controlling the immune system’s response to eczema triggers.

How Long Does Acupuncture Take to Work on Eczema?

On average, it can take between 8-12 Acupuncture sessions to improve the symptoms of eczema. Those that believe in Acupuncture for eczema report having weekly appointments to begin with in order to get their symptoms under control before gradually reducing the frequency of appointments to fortnightly as a “tune-up” appointment. 

Learn more about how long it takes for Acupuncture to work and how many sessions are needed in our blogs How Long Does it Take Dry Needling to Work?, and How Long Should You Wait Between Acupuncture Appointments?

Are There Any Risks to Using Acupuncture for Eczema?

It is thought that there are no profound side effects of using Acupuncture for eczema beyond the typical side effects and contraindications associated with Acupuncture in general. These side effects are rare and mild when they do occur, but may include:

  • Pain, bleeding and bruising at the needle site
  • Feeling faint, or dizzy
  • Drowsiness

Learn more about the side effects of Acupuncture in our blog, Is Acupuncture Safe?, where we discuss a number of side effects to the treatment as well as important contraindications.

Outlook For People Who Use Acupuncture for Eczema

Whilst Acupuncture does appear to alleviate some of the symptoms of eczema, it isn’t a cure. Some studies have reported that the treatment may be beneficial in managing symptoms and helping to reduce flare ups, but this is typically in more mild to moderate cases.

As such, it’s important that those suffering with eczema always seek advice from their Doctor when considering changing treatments, particularly if their condition is on the more severe side as other treatments, such as topical treatments or allergy diagnostics to determine triggers.

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in using Acupuncture for eczema, Breeze Academy offers a number of Acupuncture courses ranging from foundation-level courses, through to more advanced courses that take your knowledge and skills to the next level. Take a look online today or get in touch for more information.


What Causes Eczema?

Eczema can be triggered by a number of factors including:

  • Common skin irritants like soap, detergents, shampoos and washing-up liquid
  • Different weather conditions or allergens such as mould, dust and pet fur
  • Allergies to different foods including cow’s milk, eggs or nuts
  • Reactions to clothing materials
  • Changes in hormones for women around their period or pregnancy
  • Infections of the skin

What are the Symptoms of Eczema?

Individuals suffering from Eczema will have dry, itchy, cracked or sore skin. Other, more severe symptoms may include:

  • Rashes on swollen skin
  • Small raised bumps
  • Oozing and crusting
  • Thickened skin
  • Skin infection from scratching

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