Acupuncture and Hives: Relieve, Reduce and ReverseThe skin is the largest organ of the body. It is a breathing, moving mass that is the first responder to many outside, as well as, inside influences. The skin is also like a built in alarm system that, through minor to major changes in things like color, texture and touch, can alert us to more serious problems that could manifest down the line.

If left untreated skin disorders can run rampant. Worse yet, if they are suppressed they can dissipate only to lie dormant for weeks, months or even years unexpectedly coming back with just as many, if not more symptoms at any given time.  Hives (uriticaria) are a common skin ailment that manifest due to a variety of causes, however in more than 70% of cases the origin is unknown. Presentation of hives can range from small, raised, pimple-like protrusions to wide, flat, swollen wheals ranging in size from a dime to a dinner plate. Hives, more often than not, are the result of a histamine (blood chemical) response to allergens such as food, medication, insect bites, animals or environmental influences. The most common types of hives include: acute, chronic, physical or dermatographism (response to firmly stroking or scratching the skin).

Conventional attempts at relieving hives usually involve steroidal or non-steroidal topical and/or internal remedies that often attempt to suppress the natural histamine response. These remedies often tamp down symptoms to the point that they seem to disappear or at least lessen, rendering them manageable. However, the response can be fleeting as the root cause temporarily retreats only to resurface in the future.

Acupuncture and traditional medicine approach hives as an energy imbalance that needs to be targeted from the inside out. In a Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) November 1998 article it was reported that, “acupuncture…may provide an effective alternative for treatment of patients with urticaria, particularly those refractory to medication therapy.”

Acupuncture: Reduce Hives, Improve Skin
Determining the cause of hives through traditional medicine is to think beyond the targeted area. Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) considers hives to be a manifestation of a wind pathogen which has entered the body and stirred up an imbalance resulting in an angry, topical response. In turn, the temperature of hives is also noted. If the hives are red, swollen and warm this can be attributed to excess heat energy within the body. If they are white, flat and relived by the application of heat there may be an issue of excess cold.

Acupuncture can move this unwanted energy through the system bringing in stronger energy to relieve or even cure the hive response. Using specific meridian points throughout the body and not just at the affected area, acupuncture can be a highly successful application even before, during or after conventional medications have been considered.

Some popular acupuncture points for hives that may be targeted include:

  • Spleen (SP 10) Xuehai (Sea of Blood) – Located just about two fingers above the top inner corner of each bent kneecap. This point invigorates and moves the blood benefitting healthy skin and skin disorders.
  • Spleen (SP 6) Sanyinjiao (Three Yin Intersection) – SP 6 sits just above the inside ankles of the rear (posterior) portion of the tibia bone. Spleen, Kidney and Liver all crossover one another here (hence the point’s name). It resolves dampness, harmonizes the liver, strengthens the spleen and cools the blood.
  • Large Intestine (LI 11) Quchi (Pool at the Crook) – Found in the depression at the outside elbow crease between the elbow tendon and radial bone. LI 11 expels exterior wind, clears heat, regulates Qi and blood, relieves itching, and resolves dampness.

The 5 Prong Remedy
One of the reasons why conventional medicine has become so popular is that it takes the necessary guesswork out of the remedy equation. Instead, it offers one or two synthetic choices that anyone can use. The problem is that each person carries their own chemical make-up and even though a prescribed pill or ointment seems to work, it only does so on the first level without penetrating further to rid the body of the root cause altogether.

With natural remedies your personal constitution can be assessed and a specific botanical formula can be applied for a more potent, safe and long lasting response. Under the strict guidance of a naturopathic doctor the following remedies may be incorporated into a 5 prong approach that could relieve or dissipate hive outbreaks.

EPO – The University of Maryland Medical Center reports evening primrose oil (EPO) as being high in the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). According to their published research, “A study of 1,207 patients found that EPO helped relieve symptoms from skin conditions, including itching, crusting, edema (fluid, swelling), and redness.”

Devil’s Claw – This herb has been attributed to acting as a natural analgesic (pain reliever) as well as an anti-inflammatory according to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Using it for hives can reduce swelling and discomfort.

Stinging Nettle – The University of Maryland Medical Center also states that drinking stinging nettle in tea form can help reduce inflammation attributed to hives.

Licorice – Far from just a candy, licorice in capsule form has the ability to also reduce inflammation associated with conditions such as hives.

Chamomile – This all around flowering herbal remedy has been used for centuries as a calming agent for many different ailments including angry skin conditions.

A Similar Solution: The Science of Homeopathy
Homeopathy is the science of the law of similars. Using plant, animal and/or minerals that mimic similar symptoms of a particular condition, a homeopath can determine the best remedy for you. In the case of hives the most beneficial homeopathic choices could be:

  • Apis Mellifica (Western Honey Bee) – relieves intolerable itching and reddened swellings.
  • Urtica Urens (Dwarf Nettle) – helps to relieve itching blotches and erythema with burning and stinging.
  • Natrum Muriaticum (Cell Salt – Sodium Chloride) – relieves itching and burning of hives and urticaria.
  • Arsenicum Album (Arsenic from Iron, Cobalt or Nickel) – helps to relieve itching and burning of hives, especially those relieved by warm applications.

There is no reason to suffer through a continual bout with hives. Attempting every type of conventional medicine will only frustrate you even more. Working with a naturopathic doctor, several remedy attempts can be applied at once thus targeting the source and hopefully extinguishing or eliminating it altogether. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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