Most common urticaria treatments available today aren’t really cures in any form, but rather a way of masking the unpleasant symptoms of hives. An antihistamine or steroidal shot may do just the trick in relieving the itching and burning on the skin, but these medical solutions certainly can’t promise to keep urticaria at bay for good.
Well neither can acupuncture, but the difference is in how it works to potentially bring chronic urticaria sufferers the finalized relief that they have been seeking. Unlike most medications that are often times prescribed for the treatment of urticaria, acupuncture isn’t designed to hide symptoms, but rather pinpoint the exact trouble zones in the body that might be causing urticaria.
Although many professional acupuncturists would agree that nothing is guaranteed in treating urticaria through the use of needles, one thing is for certain and has been proven through numerous studies – acupuncture is fairly effective at relieving inflammation and pain in the body with many disorders, including skin problems such as hives.
So What Is Acupuncture & How Does It Work?
Acupuncture dates back to more than 2,000 years ago as a form of oriental medicine where it was first developed and used in China, although specific origins are unknown. In Chinese medicine, and from the perspective of acupuncturists, the body contains Qi (chi) which is a flow of energy working in a perfect unity of the human system; connecting mind, body and spirit. The channels of energy are referred to as meridians, and the aim of an acupuncturist is to restore the flow of qi, believing that a blocking of energy can lead to health problems.
Whether your first thought is that it’s hocus pocus or not, consider the fact that since the 1970s, doctors, dentists and other healthcare practitioners have incorporated acupuncture in their clinics. In 2007 about 3 million Americans used acupuncture. Many patients are repeat customers who continue to use this medicine to relieve the pain experienced from a large platter of health problems, including sciatica and arthritis. It’s even used in some hospitals as a form of complimentary medicine for cancer patients.
Acupuncture Is No Stranger To Urticaria
There is evidence that shows that acupuncture along with herbal medicine was being used for skin disorders as far back as 3 A.D. In fact, in oriental medicine hives are described as “the wind” and it’s “invasion” of the skin and meridians.
If the welts are of red coloring, then through acupuncture it’s believed that the cause will be of both wind and heat. If they are pinkish or white in appearance, then it’s typically determined that it’s a combination of both wind and coldness that are afflicting the skin. It’s important to note that there is a lot more that goes into diagnosing the problem from the angle of an acupuncturist.
The goal of acupuncture in treating urticaria consists of two things. One is to hopefully tackle the root problem and relieve the issue permanently, while the second involves addressing the branch issues in the qi and alleviating the symptoms as fast as possible. Considering that there are at least 2,000 points and up to 20 meridian channels – there is plenty to work with.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
The pain management of this type of medicine is certainly individual specific, but in most cases many people either mention that there was no pain, or very little of a sensation felt. An experienced acupuncturist will make sure to use well-sanitized needles, put your worries at ease, and be so skillful that you probably won’t even notice once he/she begins.
The Acupuncture Points That Are Used To Treat Urticaria
One of the questions that you may have on your mind is which portions of the body will be used with needles. It can’t be said in a black and white fashion which part of the anatomy will be used, but we can address the most common points that are often times approached. Just keep in mind that your experience may be different.
The spleen 10 point (SP10 or Xuehai) is regarded as one of the most common acupuncture points when it comes to skin issues. Although a needle is not inserted into the spleen directly, it is positioned at the back of the knee, which can help improve the flow of qi through the meridian and to this area.
The large intestine, or LI11 (Quchi) is another common trigger point that can be stimulated by insertion of a needle in and around the inside elbow.
SP6, also known as San Yin Jiao, is another acupuncture point associated with the spleen. It’s located at the back of the lower leg and beneath the calf muscle.
The positive effects of stimulating all of these trigger points when practiced on are in aiding with digestive issues, spleen disorders, hot skin diseases, blood disorders, anxiety, hypertension, inflammation, damp heat skin diseases, hives and acne.
What Is The Efficacy Of Acupuncture As A Hives Treatment?
Very few studies have been conducted on these two items paired up together specifically. However, in Iran at a medical university, a placebo vs. genuine acupuncture test was given to about 100 patients over the course of several weeks. All of them suffered from chronic urticaria, and naturally the point of the study was to determine if there were any positive results ascertained from using acupuncture.
When the study was concluded, the evidence pointed at the fact that the real form of acupuncture was able to control the intensity and duration of hives outbreaks by about 25%.
The professionals who conducted the research also made note that the final week seemed to show the greatest improvement for the patients, and noted that there was a pattern of episodes reducing in duration and
intensity with each treatment.
However, just like with any form of medicine, it’s still regarded that acute urticaria is much easier to treat with acupuncture than chronic hives. Although patients with chronic and idiopathic forms of urticaria are not left hopeless, as several follow-up appointments involving treatment with an acupuncturist may bring desired results.
Luckily, options are a plenty. There are 6 different acupuncture methods designed to overthrow urticaria.
Auricular Acupuncture As Treatment For Urticaria
For people who suffer with chronic urticaria, a combination of both standard and auricular acupuncture can result in a positive ending after several repeat treatments.
Auricular acupuncture is considered a microsystem in Eastern medicine, because it deals with specific trigger points that can all be located in one part of the body – in this case the ears.
To perform auricular acupuncture, it requires someone with both a gifted hand and mind, because there are many points on the ear; with each requiring delicate and steady precision.
In fact, there are over 200 points to be exact, with ones that lead to fingers, elbows, allergy points, shoulder, face and more.
Acupuncture Point Injection For Hives
Acupuncture Point Injection is a marriage between an ancient Eastern medicine and pharmacology. The idea is simple – inject medicine into acupuncture points.
The medicines that are most commonly used for this are Chinese herbal medicines, B vitamins, antibiotics and magnesium sulfate. The one that is used specifically for chronic urticaria sufferers is vitamin B1 (thiamine). People who have been studying urticaria closely will notice that the discussion of B vitamins come up frequently. B1, 3, 6 & 12 are also believed to be essential in the easing of hives.
Hopefully, this article will help you understand the process of acupuncture and it’s relationship with hives in the past. It should also help you to see that there are many treatment options outside of conventional medicine.