How Does Chinese Medicine Treat Dermatological Conditions?

Treatment in Chinese medicine is quite different to Western medicine management of skin disorders. A Chinese medicine treatment protocol could well include a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs in either raw, tinctured or pill form, and external herbal washes or creams. Together with this, and if needed, there will be dietary advice.


Gentle point work can give an instant feeling of harmony and relaxation. Insertion of very fine needles into specific acu-points can stimulate certain organs, move qi blockages and encourage healing. Acupuncture is usually — but not always — combined with herbal medicine.

The needles used in acupuncture are small, sterile and disposable. For most points, one should feel no pain, although there can be a feeling of warmth, tingling, dull ache or a heavy sensation which the Chinese call 'sour'. People vary in their response to acupuncture, but most find it a relaxing experience.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine can come in various forms:

  • Decoctions (teas) of herbs are by far the most effective form as each prescription has select herbs chosen for each individuals needs. Cooking takes time and the actual decoction is not very palatable, however for the results it certainly can be worth it.
  • Tinctures are herbal preparations made in alcoholic bases these are also very effective and are suitable for those on time constraints.
  • Washes are decocted herbs that are used externally on the body usually twice a day. Depending on the herbal prescription it can help with various problems such as extreme itching, heat, ulcerations and healing of skin.

Pills are a convenient but often less effective method of taking herbs; still they may be helpful in some situations. For a serious problem though, either raw or tinctured herbs are best. 8 to 12 pills need to be taken twice per day. This may initially seem like a lot, but any less will not be effective because the pills are made of herbal plant material, not concentrated chemicals.

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