A skin disease I recently treated in my acupuncture clinic was urticaria, better known as hives. About 20 percent of people will experience hives at some point in their lives. Standard treatment is intended to relieve symptoms with antihistamines or a corticosteroid drug.
What I like about acupuncture is that it addresses the underlying imbalances that cause this condition and stop recurrent outbreaks once and for all.
Hives are swollen red bumps, patches or welts on the skin that appear suddenly. Itching is the most common symptom. Hives can occur anywhere on the body. Hives are a sign that the whole body is experiencing a hyper-sensitivity or allergic reaction.
An outbreak can occur due to a wide array of stimuli.
- Certain foods
- Intense emotions
- Sunlight exposure
Unfortunately, in the majority of outbreaks the exact cause remains unknown.
Hives can last for a few minutes, a few hours, or they can persist for several weeks. In addition to medications, applying cool compresses to the affected area and wearing light, loose-fitting clothing can help ease the discomfort.
In acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, because it dates back more than 3,000 years, all symptoms of diseases are diagnosed using terms which come from nature such as Wind, Heat, Cold, Dampness, Dryness, etc. With urticaria, for example, a Chinese Medicine Diagnosis would most probably be Wind-Heat if the eruptions are red or Wind-Cold if the eruptions are pale. Wind because the hives come and go much like the wind, and Heat or Cold depending on the color.
With acupuncture, treatments are directed at addressing both the root (cause) and the branch (symptoms) of the condition by providing immediate relief from the itching and swelling (the branch) and addressing the underlying imbalances and triggers that are causing the condition (the root).