Monday, 10 September 2012

My Eczema Treatment ( Part 2 ): Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM )

Picture taken from slinter.com

Suffering from eczema is no fun at all. It comes on and off and it is hard to determine the main source of the problem. Often, we see the culprit mainly from external sources like dust, animal fur, food, pollens or ingredients from skincare products. Very rarely, we pin point the problems to internal reasons. And this is where we need to seek the help from a Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) practitioner to see what is happening to our body internally. 

After a long battle with my eczema and I've decided to turn to TCM after Western medicine failed on me. I had been popping prescribed medicine by my doctor for months and I personally felt that it only helps to control the eczema, not curing it. I figured that this is not very good for my body in a long term basis. 


I am not new to the TCM practice because it is only through the help of TCM last year, my constipation problems healed. Before we go on further, what is TCM?

Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) is an ancient medical system that takes a deep understanding of the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body. TCM is not 'new age', nor is it a patchwork  of different healing modalities. TCM is a complete medical system that has been practiced  for more than five thousand years.

At the heart of TCM is the tenet that the root cause of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated. In modern-day terms, TCM is holistic in its approach, it views every aspect of a person's body, mind, spirit and emotions as part of one complete circle rather than loosely connected pieces to be treated individually.

Major TCM Treatment Modalities

Often Western CAM practitioners and their patients or clients derive their understanding of TCM from acupuncture. However, acupuncture is the only one of the major treatment modalities of this comprehensive medical system based on the understanding of Qi or vital energy. These major modalities are:

  • Qigong: an energy practice, generally encompassing simple movements and postures. Some Qigong systems also emphasize breathing techniques.
  • Herbal Therapy: the use of herbal combinations or formulas to strengthen and support organ system function.
  • Acupuncture: the insertion of needles in acupoints to help Qi flow smoothly.
  • Acupressure: the use of specific hand techniques to help Qi flow smoothly.
  • Foods for Healing: the prescription of certain foods for healing based on their energy essences or energy signatures, not nutritional value.
  • Chinese Psychology: the understanding  of emotions and their relationship to the internal organ systems and their influence on health.
*Source from: HERE

My Treatment Experience

There are a lot of TCM practitioners widely available in Malaysia but because I want to keep things 'safe', I usually go to the TCM specialist in Tung Shin Hospital because they are reliable professionals, equipped with vast experience. There are a lot of practitioners in Tung Shin but they are segregated based on their individual profiles, for example: Internal Medicine, Oncology, Orthopedic, Acupuncture and so forth.

Based on my condition, I chose to see an Internal Medicine specialist. Like any other hospital, one needs to register first and wait for their turn to see the specialist. Depending on the 'popularity' of the practitioner, the wait can be long and in my case, it is long! I once waited for an hour before my turn comes.

As usual when you are seated with your practitioner, the first thing he/she will do is to take your hands, place your wrist at the table as she will use her fingers to feel your wrist pulses. Secondly, is the examination of the tongue so she can see the surfaces or coating. Then she will ask certain questions like our sleeping patterns, stress levels, normal eating habits and frequency of bowel movements.

Oh, before I go on, here's a picture of my condition on my first visit.


Did you see the redness and discolouration around my mouth? It is scaly, rough and my lips kinda looked bigger because of inflammation. It may not look obvious here but in real life, it is BAD! I have to wear a surgical mask before going out or else everyone will be staring at my mouth! 

I can't really explain the details what the practitioner said because she converse mostly in Mandarin, which I do not understand.:P My hubby was my translator.

She then proceed to key in the computer the list of my 'herbal concoctions'. She advises me to avoid certain foods such as: spicy food, coconut, all types of mushrooms, alcohol, fried foods, mangoes, durians. Basically, avoid foods that are heaty and 'poisonous'. It is best that I stick to a strict pure diet, which involves drinking nutritious soups and cooking my meals by steaming or braised methods

However, she also gave me two very good advices. 
  • Use a cloth, soaked in cold water and placed it on my lips, in any case of a flared up. This is to stop the inflammation.
  • Use pure aloe vera gel and apply to affected area daily until you see improvements. In this case, I use the pure sap, cut from an aloe vera leaf.
Before the session comes to an end, she asked me if I prefer to prepare my own concoctions or would I prefer that the hospital does that for me. I chose the latter, mainly because it is much more convenient! And that, of course, comes with a small amount of additional charges. Now comes the long wait. After paying the fees, should we prefer the hospital to prepare the concoctions, we have to come back 4 hours later to get our packages. The herbal packages look like this:


These herbal concoctions is to be taken twice a day and I was given a week's supply. With TCM, we need to see them on a weekly basis so that they know whether the list of herbal's is working well in our bodies. Yes my dears...the visitations can be costly in the long run. That being said however, I find it absolutely worthwhile because I see RESULTS!

In total, I went for 5 sessions ( 1 1/2 months ) and on my final visit, my practitioner was very pleased with the results and progress. She told me I need not see her anymore but I still need to go on a pure strict diet for another 3 months for it to heal completely. Now I am happy to say that I am healed by 90%! My another 10% is due to my disobedience in avoiding spicy food.:)

Overall

Going for TCM is the best decision that I have made to heal my eczema woes. I didn't experience any re-appearance for months..until recently, my lips became a bit sensitive due to a certain balm. Whenever I feel  it gets a bit sensitive, I would religiously apply the aloe vera gel and everything is back to normal again. Personally, I prefer going for Traditional Chinese Medicine because it focuses on the internal and treat the root cause of conditions so that healing is genuine and the condition does not reoccur.

This review is based on my honest and personal experience and is not influenced by any parties.

Related post

My Eczema Treatment ( Part 1 ): Symptoms and Basic Care

16 comments:

  1. I'm glad the treatment is working for you! My eczema is on my left upper eyelid and it's triggered mostly by stress and wrong products. My body is prone to rashes, though, which are triggered by the above 2 and certain food.

    Anyway, I went to TCM doc several times in the past but it never became regular because I can't take the herbal concoctions! Eww! LOL. And my naughty hubby kept scaring me that I'll get acupuncture treatments and all the scary TCM shizzz so I was traumatized... But the visits had always been interesting. According to one doc, my "life force" isn't very strong (i wasn't born healthy) but it's compensated by my healthier lifestyle choices. However, the core is still weak in general so need to always be careful. My Hubby, however, was as healthy as a cow according to the doc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vivi! Though some of the concoctions were hard to swallow, I knew I had to endure it cos I know it is good for me. I thank God that my treatments is for 1 1/2 mths! I hope that you will be able to continue the treatments because your eczema may worsen if left untreated.
      Same here, the doc mentioned that my internals are not as good and going for these treatments will help to tweak my health back. Err...as i know, acupunture treatments is only for those who have serious bone or joints probs.:P

      Delete
  2. In order to treat your system, healing should first focus internally, by building up the immune system in eliminating off irritations and stopping flare-ups. As you may have undoubtedly known, smart food choices and good eating habits are considered as the cornerstone to sustaining health and wellness.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Skin problems like eczema are really bothersome and create great negative impact to our social life. Ointments and other commercial treatment sometimes just cost too much. Well, I am thankful to have chinese medicine here in Los Angeles, at our house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, it really is..it comes and goes. When it is flared up, it makes one really uncomfortable. Good that you can find a TCM there, but do make sure it is a certified practitioner.

      Delete
  4. I have the same problem like you and it lasted for more than 2 years. Been seeing skin specialist and all they say were too dry. Keep applying the cream they give and once finished, the redness returns.
    I'm thinking to give a try on the TCM you mentioned. Who is the doctor that treated you? Do we need to make appointment to meet her or they do walk-in? Is the cost expensive?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, please see the comments below at http://myorganicjourney11.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-eczema-treatment-part-3-pure-aloe.html
      for the Doctor's name and consultation.

      Delete
  5. Dear Author,
    Thank you sharing your journey! I've started to use pure aloe vera gel after the bottled version seems to sting my skin too much. Can you please clarify if you use the aloe vera gel 2x per day, or do you use it 2 to 3x per week????? Really appreciate you taking the time to discuss how eating poached/braised meat is easier on the body than fried foods for eczema. I felt my body communicating many things you've written about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. Do read my Part 3 of my Eczema Treatment for the use of Aloe Vera. There's no specific number of uses in application as it is natural and it is dependent of your own personal preference.
      My doc advised me against eating fried foods at that period, and poached/braised method is basically "not deep frying" your food. It's just braising meat with liquid until it is tender, that's all.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for taking the time to clarify and share your experience. So great to hear that your eczema has cleared. with Gratitude and Respect,
    Tri

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear Author,
    I have been a fan of reading your blog since I discovered it.
    I am suffering from Ezcema for years too and I was really upset to have facing it during my teen. I'm now a student but I was often feeling embarrassed with such skin condition. But may I know how much it takes you for each treatment?

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi..Dear Author...thank you for your post. I actually just went for my 1st TCM appoinment yesterday. I am supposed to collect my medicine today. I had eczema for more than 10 years on n off. Just recently steriod does not seem to work. it comes back after that. That is when I read about Topical steriod withdrawal eczema and realised I need to stop steriod application once and for all. 2 weeks in I realised I need some help. Normal doctors will give me steriod and it wont help to cure it just to suppress it. So I decided to try tung shin hospital. My husband goes there for his sports injury related problem and gave me good reviews. The practioner told me that it will take about 6 to 12 months for me to recover fully as I have been havin eczema and using steriod for more than 10 years. I do feel down about it. bt the fact that I will b cured after that and have a better skin gives me hope and my husband is my strength. I am also practising some ayurvedic treatment too. wich involves alor vera also. another one is neem oil. I fry abit of neem leaves in mustard oil till its black and apply in on my legs and hand once its cool down. It helps my inflammation tremendously. I no its along way to go. reading your blog gives me hope for a better future. n ya I am also following the very strict diet. being a Hindu and not eating curry is so hard...but I am trying my very best..:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a nice and very helpful post about Health.
    I have enjoyed it from your blog and looking forward to see more from you.
    Thanks....!
    GE 8C

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have the exact same condition, it flares up for weeks and im only in the clear for a few days before it happens again. Very dry, red and sometimes itchy all around my lips. Currently seeing a tcm too, is it possible for you to share the name of herbs you took so i can get my tcm to research on?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  12. I have had eyelid eczema for months and nothing was helping. Dermalmd psoriasis serum was the first product that not only reduced the itching, but cleared up the redness and flaky skin almost completely! Highly recommend!

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