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Dermatology & Chinese Medicine

At the New York City Acupuncture Center, we specialize in treating skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, alopecia, and herpes zoster (shingles). Along with our experience in acupuncture and herbal medicine, we have done extensive research in the field of dermatology. We also believe that skin problems are more than just skin problems. In order to help our patients achieve lasting skin health, we address not only the surface-level condition, but the individual’s overall wellbeing. This includes one’s energy level, diet, lifestyle, living environment and stress.

Psoriasis

Acupuncture Psoriasis Psoriasis is an immune-related skin condition. Its clinical characteristics include red scaly lesions and serious itching. This disease is chronic and can recur. It is most commonly found in young or middle-aged people and typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees and scalp, though it can appear in any location. Psoriasis is associated with other health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. In Traditional Chinese medicine, this condition is known as “bai bi,” “bi feng,” and “song pi xian.”

MAIN POINTS OF DIAGNOSIS
  1. Skin lesion – the papulae are flat and smooth at first, then rapidly develop into erythemata (polymorphic red patches) with clear demarcations and covered with many layers of silver white scales. A layer of fat-like lustrous film appears upon removing the scales. This is called film phenomenon. If the film is wiped off, bleeding will occur in a cribriform (criss-cross) pattern.
  2. The course of this disease has three stages:
    • Active Stage: The scales on the red areas appear continuously, expand, coalesce and spread throughout the skin of the body. The patient feels serious itching.
    • Resting Stage: The skin lesion has stopped extending. The condition is fairly stable. Itching has weakened.
    • Regressive Stage: The scales on the red areas dissolve gradually and then disappear, leaving pigmentation. Itching will be milder and then disappear completely.
  3. The course of this disease is chronic. The patient himself can recover from it, but it may easily relapse. The attack of this disease is influenced by weather. It is mild in summer and serious in winter.
  4. It is often accompanied by arthritis and impetigo. If the treatment is improper, a condition involving exfoliation and inflammation of the skin may be present.

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TREATMENT FOR PSORIASIS

Internal Treatment

 

  1. Wind-Heat Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: Serious itching, red papulae, scaly lesions with red halos around them, red tongue with thin, yellow fur and taut, rapid pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Clearing away pathogenic heat to remove toxic materials, cooling the blood and dispersing pathogenic wind
  2. Blood Stasis Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: The scales on red areas or the red areas with silver scales on the skin may not subside. Itching is mild or non-obvious.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Promoting blood circulation and expelling pathogenic wind
  3. Stasis Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: Brown patches or pigmentation with fine furfures on the affected part of the skin

External Treatment

 

  1. Psoriasis Ointment (Dr. Wang’s Herbal Skincare). Information about this product can be found at drwangskincare.com.
  2. Acupuncture

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Eczema

Acupuncture EczemaEczema is a common allergic inflammatory skin disease. It is divided into 3 types: acute, subacute and chronic. Its clinical characteristics are itching in the affected area, polymorphic skin lesions, Orrhorrhea (oozing or discharge), and frequent recurrences. It can affect males or females at any age and in any part of the body. In Traditional Chinese medicine, eczema in infants is called “nai xian” or “tai lian chuang”; eczema on the outer ear is called “xuaner chuang”; eczema on the local area is called “shi du chuang”; eczema on the scrotum is called “shen nang fen” or “xiu qiu feng”; and eczema on the elbow or behind the knee is called “si wan feng.”

MAIN POINTS OF DIAGNOSIS
Acute Eczema
  1. The skin lesion is polymorphic. Acute eczema often attacks on the following conditions: at the beginning, a certain part of the skin becomes diffusely reddish. Then clusters of papulae and blisters appear, with erosions, exudations and crust formations. In the end, fine scaly desquamation (skin peeling) and pigmentation appear, which mark complete recovery.
  2. In the beginning, the patient feels severe itching and has a sensation of burning heat on the skin at the affected area.
  3. The onset of the disease is sudden and severe. Its inflammation is obvious. The eczema often occurs on some parts of the skin or in symmetrical distribution. It is usually cured in 1 to 2 weeks with adequate treatment.

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Subacute Eczema
  1. After three weeks of acute eczema attacks, inflammatory reactions will become lessened. The condition tends to be stable.
  2. The skin lesions mainly include papulae, scabs and scales. There are only a few blisters and mild erosions.
  3. The skin itch is weaker than at the acute stage.
Chronic Eczema
  1. If eczema has a long resistance to treatment, or attacks repeatedly, it can become chronic eczema. It is usually limited to a certain area of the skin with clear demarcation.
  2. On the area of the lesion, the skin will become thick, rough and pigmented. It is usually indurated, or hard to the touch. There may also be patchy, scaly desquamations or damaged layers of skin.
  3. Papulae, blisters, infiltrations, and exudations may appear on the affected part of the skin while it is irritated. The skin often becomes moist and oozes liquid. Itching is mild. This disease has a long course that can last for many years.
TREATMENT FOR ECZEMA
Internal Treatment
  1. Acute Eczema
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: There are diffuse red areas, clusters of red papulae, erosions, and exudations along with burning heat sensation and severe itching on the affected part of the skin. These symptoms are accompanied by a red tongue with thick, yellow fur and a slippery, rapid pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Clearing away pathogenic heat
  2. Subacute Eczema
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: There is a sensation of itching, crust formation, pigmentation, scaly desquamation, red papulae, reddish brown spots, blisters and exudation (oozing or discharge) on the affected part of the skin, accompanied by a red tongue with yellow fur and a slippery pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle:  Expelling wind, moistening the dryness and clearing away pathogenic heat to promote diuresis.
  3. Chronic Eczema
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: The skin is thick and rough with skin desquamation, pigmentation and the sensation of itching. The tongue is light red with white fur and the pulse is moderate.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Nourishing the blood, moistening the dryness and expelling pathogenic wind

External Treatment

 

  1. Eczema Ointment (Dr. Wang’s Herbal Skincare). Information about this product can be found at drwangskincare.com.
  2. Lotion for Treating Eczema can be used to soak or compress on the affected part. Phellodendron Powder can be put on the affected part too.
  3. Itching-stopping Lotion can be used for chronic eczema to clean the affected part, 30 minutes each time, once a day. After washing, black soy bean distillating oil ointment can also be applied to the affected area.
  4. Acupuncture

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Herpes Zoster

Acupuncture ShinglesHerpes Zoster, commonly known as “Shingles,” is a viral skin infection caused by the herpes zoster virus. Its clinical characteristic is the acute onset of the disease with groups of crowded blisters arranged in zonary fashion along one side of the nerve distribution. It is accompanied by nervous pain in the chest, waist and abdomen. This disease is called “chan yao dan,” “huo dai chuang,” “she chuang chuang,” and “zhi zhuchuang” in traditional Chinese medicine.

MAIN POINTS OF DIAGNOSIS
  1. This disease mostly occurs in spring and autumn
  2. Prior to the onset of the disease, one might experience a slight fever, fatigue, anorexia and general malaise accompanied by pricking pain, burning sensations and itching on the affected area of the skin.
  3. At the beginning, diffuse red areas appear on the affected part of the skin, followed by crowds of papules (swellings), which quickly become blisters. Generally, there are red halos around them. Among the groups of blisters there is still normal skin. Herpes zoster mostly occurs on the waist, chest, head and neck and along the lateral nerve areas in a belt-like arrangement.
  4. There is obvious pain on the affected part of the skin, and it is even more serious for elderly patients. After the skin legion resides, neuralgia may still remain.
  5. The attack of this disease is quick and abrupt. Once the patient recovers, it does not recur. The course of the disease is 2 to 3 weeks.

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TREATMENT FOR HERPES ZOSTER

Internal Treatment

 

  1. Excessive Heat Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: At the beginning, there are groups of papular eruptions on the affected area with pain and heat sensations, accompanied by restlessness, thirst, bitterness in the mouth, red tongue with yellow fur, and taut and rapid pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Removing pathogenic heat from the blood.
  2. Damp Heat Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: There is redness, pain, burning sensation and clusters of blisters around the affected area. Sometimes the blisters may rupture, and fluid oozes out. These symptoms are usually accompanied by restlessness, dryness of mouth, red tongue with thick yellow fur, and slippery and rapid pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Clearing away heat and promoting diuresis
  3. Stasis Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: The blisters have crust formations with some red and brown spots and pigmentation left. The sense of pain on the affected part is still obvious.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Soothing the liver to promote blood circulation and removing the obstruction in the channels to relieve pain.

External Treatment

 

  1. Powder of Rhubarb Root and Phellodendron Bark: Rhubarb (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) and phellodendron bark (Cortex Phello-dendri) in equal quantities are to be ground into a fine powder with a little borncol (Borneolum Syntheticum), mixed with water and then applied to the affected part.
  2. Acupuncture

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Alopecia Areata

Acupuncture AlopeciaAlopecia areata, also known as “spot baldness” is a kind of limited baldness disease which attacks abruptly. It is characterized by the sudden loss of hair from some or all areas of the body, without any other noticeable symptoms or inflammatory damages. The disease occurs when an individual’s immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. In traditional Chinese medicine, this condition is called “you feng” or “gui tian ton.”

MAIN POINTS OF DIAGNOSIS
  1. There are some round alopecia areas found occasionally on the top of the head. There may be only one or a few areas. Its size is the same as a coin or apricot, with a clear border. The scalp is shiny. The alopecia can appear in several areas simultaneously, or one after the other.
  2. Only a few patients lose their whole hair (bare head). This is called “alopecia capitis totalis.” In special cases, patients may lose hair all over their body including hair on their eyebrows, armpits, and so on. This is called “alopecia universalis.”
  3. It is a chronic disease without subjective symptoms, but may be associated with mental irritation or excessive mental strain. It can occur at any age and may recur after recovery.

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TREATMENT FOR ALOPECIA AREATA

Internal Treatment

 

  1. Yen Deficiency of the Liver and Kidney
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: There are many alopecia areata on the head, accompanied by dizziness, tinnitus, impotence, lassitude in the loins and knees, pale tongue with little fur and deep and thready pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Nourishing the liver, kidney, and blood and dispelling pathogenic wind
  2. Heart-Blood Deficiency Type
    • Main Symptoms and Signs: Alopecia Areata, dim and pale complexion, palpitation (which may be severe), insomnia, reddish tongue and thready and rapid pulse.
    • Therapeutic Principle: Nourishing the blood and kidney and tranquilizing the mind

External Treatment

 

  1. Rub 30% of Tincture of Psoralea Fruit on the affect area, three times a day.
  2. Grind the same amount of psoralea fruit (Fructus Psoraleae) and Sichuan aconite root (Radix Aconiti) into a powder, mix it with 75% alcohol and rub on the affected art, twice a day.
  3. Cut fresh ginger (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens) into slices and rub it on the affected area, five minutes each time, three times a day. Or use ginger slices for moxibustion, 15 minutes each time, once a day.
  4. Acupuncture

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