An acupuncture needle, an herb, and a droplet of water

Using Traditional Chinese Medicine To Heal My Eczema

My journey to discovering Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a way to heal my eczema was a very serendipitous one!

My full body eczema flare up

About 13 years ago, I was 20 years old and attending San Francisco State University and had just experienced my first death in the family, the death of my godfather. The trauma and stress of that experience was so great that I literally became what I called a “human rash.” I developed a full-body flare from my scalp to my legs of red, dry, flaky, raw, oozing rashes that bled and cracked and felt incredibly painful. It was to the point where it hurt just to move my neck or certain appendages that were covered in cracking, bleeding rashes. Looking back, I literally don’t know how I continued to to go college full-time and work part-time during that time.

Exploring alternative treatments

At the same time, I had just signed up for my minor in Holistic Health. I was taking classes on "Eastern Perspectives" which included topics around yoga, meditation, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Also concurrently, my mom, who used to work at the United States Postal Service, and had developed bad arthritis and was seeking help from an acupuncturist for her pain.

Deciding to stop using steroids

Just as she started her treatments, I had enough of my pain and was determined to find a way out of it by any means necessary. And those means would no longer involve using steroids. I had been on steroids since the age of 5, and after 15 years, it was clear that they were never going to be the end of my eczema. My mom suggested that I see her acupuncturist to see if he could help me. I went to see him, and while he didn't do much for me, he suggested that I see another acupuncturist he knew of who also specialized in dermatology. It all happened within one week of me deciding I was going to find my way out of the pain and torture of eczema.

Trying Traditional Chinese Medicine

When I saw Dr. Jialing Yu, her way of conducting her appointments was very different than what I was used to. She got straight to the point and asked me about my eczema, she actually LISTENED to everything I had to say about it, its origin, and what I suspected made it worse. I never had a doctor listen to me at all, let alone ask me what I thought about my own experience with my eczema!

Finding relief with TCM

She took my pulse, looked at my tongue, gave me an elimination diet to follow, and then prescribed me herbal formulas to drink and handmade herbal ointments to use topically. I know many people can't stand the bitter taste, but let me tell you, after my first appointment, I was already 75% better! And while I fluctuated from time to time, it was always a matter of whether or not I chose to stick to the elimination diet and take the herbal dosages as prescribed or not. Over six years, I went from seeing her every week to every month to once a year. It has been eight years since I last saw her. After having eczema for 15 years and healing from it in 6, I was sold. So, maybe TCM is not for everyone, but if you can stand the herbs and really want to heal, I say do whatever it takes!

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