Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for Acne

1. How does Chinese Medicine regard the body?

TCM takes a holistic approach to health and views any illness as the result of an imbalance in the whole body, rather than a malfunction of one of its parts. The basis of this holistic approach is the Yin-Yang theory. According to TCM, all illnesses result from an imbalance between these two opposing principles and succesful treatment depends upon readjusting the body's balance accordingly.

2. How does TCM regard ACNE?

ACNE is believed to be either a hereditary condition, the result of a hormonal imbalance or a bacterial infection. In TCM however, ACNE is believed to be caused by one of the following: heat in the lung, excessive dampness and heat in the stomach, intestines and blood stasis.

3. What does the treatment involve?

After a thorough consultation, the TCM doctor will identify the nature of the complaint according to the patient's medical history, pulse reading and tongue observation. Then a cause of treatment will be prescribed in accordance with this diagnosis. The herbal medicines come in the form of dry herbs which need to be boiled in water and drunk as a "tea", or powder/granular form. The "tea" can be unpleasant to taste and, if necessary, honey or fruit juice may be added to improve palatability. The practitioner will also provide Chinese herbal creams to apply on the affected areas to complement the herbal treatment.

4. How does Chinese herbal medicine work for skin disorders?

The purpose of taking the "tea" and using the cream is to cleanse the body. Wei-Xiong Chen deeply believes that many skin disorders, including eczema, psoriasis and acne are the results of accumulated toxins in the body. The toxins might have come from what you ate and drunk; when your body disagreed with some of the food you ate and some of the drinks you took. So the part ( even a small part) of the food and drink were sorts of toxins to your body and the toxins were built up over a certain length of time until the toxin is excessive. At this point, the toxins will present themselves in the fragile areas of the skin as eczema, psoriasis or other skin complaints.

5. How long does a course of treatment last?

Treatment times vary enormously and depend upon a number of factors: the severity of the condition, the length of time a patient has suffered from the condition and their individual response to the herbal medicine. During the course of their treatment, a patient can expect flare-ups from time to time. These can be caused by a number of factors (eg: stress, common cold, allergy). Gradually though, the improvement will be lasting and the flare-ups will be less severe and shorter lasting.

6. What about my normal medication?

We encourage patients to keep their GPs informed of the treatment and are happy to work alongside GPs where possible. Generally speaking, the herbal "tea" will not interfere with your other medication.

7. How often will I need to see the doctor?

One of the reasons why Chinese medicine is so effective is that the doctor sees patients regularly and adapts their prescription as their skin condition changes. At the beginning, the doctor would need to see you once a week until the condition is improved significantly, then fortnightly visits can be arranged.

8. Do the herbs have any side-effects?

Used in the right hands, there should be no adverse side effects in the use of Chinese herbal medicine. In very rare cases a patient may become slightly worse before they get better. In most cases, there are no side-effects whatsoever.

9. What happens when I stop taking the herbs?

In TCM, to be healthy means that all parts of the body are in relative balance. Any disorder therefore is indicative of an imbalance within the body. Once the herbs have restored the body's balance, the treatment can be stopped. There are cases where conditions flare up again, but in such instances patients generally only need a shorter course of treatment to bring the condition back under control.

10. Can anybody take the herb?

Everyone except pregnant women and babies under 12 months can take the herbal medicine. In these cases, the doctor can give herbal cream to treat the skin.