Skin problems reflect a deeper underlying imbalance within your body as well as problems at the surface of your body.
According to Chinese medicine, when a chronic condition has settled in your skin, it is an indication that your general health has been compromised for quite some time so be patient as you work to rebalance your body. Treating your whole body, rather than just your skin, is the key to eliminating the problem and not just covering it up. The amount of time it takes for skin conditions to resolve varies depending on the duration and severity of your condition. Some conditions will clear rapidly, but others may take longer. Â If you have had a problem for a number of years it could take a few months to resolve and you need to be working it from both the inside (acupuncture, herbs and supplements, diet, and stress relief) and the outside (lotions and potions).
The root causes of skin conditions are often complex and involve a combination of internal imbalances and external environmental factors. Acne is often seen as a reaction to hormones, bacteria, and oils in the skin and eczema as a chronic allergic reaction. Where problems arise on your body can indicate which organs are out of balance either by following the energy lines of the body or by mapping the five elements of Chinese medicine onto your face. Internal imbalances include a weak immune system, digestive disorders and poor diet, unbalanced lifestyle, stress, and genetic constitutional issues. External environmental factors are often weather-related and tend to exacerbate the internal imbalances.
Chinese medicine sees your skin as a living dynamic organ that is moistened, cooled and nourished by your blood. Â Thus dryness, scaling and itching can be due to a lack of nourishment by the blood or problems with circulation and is often worse in dry autumn or winter weather.Â Heat is characterized by redness, burning or heat sensation that is often worse for alcohol, anger or stress, hot and spicy food, and hot weather. Damp is characterized by oozing or weeping conditions and feelings of heaviness within the body and is often worsened by eating rich, oily or dairy foods. Once the dampness and heat are cleared from your system and the nourishment of your blood enhanced then your skin will also clear.
The 5 elements of Chinese medicine are metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. Each element corresponds with a colour, an area of your face, a season, a sense organ, a body organ, a flavor, an environmental factor, an emotion and much more.
The Metal element corresponds with the Lungs and Large Intestines and in addition, the Lungs are said to rule the skin. Therefore three of your main organs of elimination are reflected in the health of the metal element. Up to 70% of your bodyâ€™s waste products are eliminated via your lungs so breathing deeply is as important for detoxing as it is for relaxing. Sweating helps eliminate toxins through your skin and dry skin brushing invigorates the skin to remove old layers of skin and toxins in dead skin cells and enhance circulation. Your bowels, of course, are also an important organ of elimination and if there are problems such as constipation or diarrhea your skin will be the first area to take over detoxing. The health of your lungs can be determined by looking at your cheeks and the health of your intestines by looking at your lips.
You also eliminate and neutralize toxins through your Liver, your Kidneys and your Lymphatic system which is your own personal garbage removal system.
The Liver is part of the wood element and the health of your liver can be determined from the area between your eyebrows. Your forehead also shows what is happing within your nervous system.
The Kidneys are part of the water element which can be diagnosed in the area below your eyes. Do you have bags or dark rings under your eyes? This could be indicative of adrenal fatigue.
Your heart is the primary organ of the Fire element and the health of your circulatory system can be seen in the tip of your nose. Exercise and massage enhance circulation and metabolism to help carry toxins and wastes from your tissues to your organs of elimination as well as increasing oxygen and nutrients to your cells.
The Earth element is all about your digestion and your lips and chin reflects the health of your digestive system. When you eat and drink are you nourishing your body or challenging it with toxins? Staying well hydrated and alkalising are wonderful ways to nourish your body.
Chinese medicine treatments offer natural solutions to both the root cause and the symptoms of skin conditions. It works on strengthening your immune system in order to decrease your sensitivity to environmental stimuli; addressing internal imbalances that are contributing to your condition; releasing toxins from your body to eliminate the itchy, red rash; and nourishing your blood, which then helps nourish and repair your damaged skin. In treating the underlying imbalance your skin symptoms will resolve and no further complications should arise. Your skin condition may initially worsen as your body detoxes but long-term results are favourable.
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For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Wholefood counseling). Tania is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (AHPRA registered) in Kingsford and is a Contract Academic at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.