Acupuncture, a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy based on Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, has been used to treat itchiness for over 2,500 years. Itchiness, or pruritus, is an unpleasant sensation that provokes the desire to scratch and can be a symptom of skin diseases or systemic diseases. It can be classified into acute and chronic itchiness, with chronic itchiness lasting more than six weeks and significantly impacting patients’ quality of life.
Common Western Medicine Treatments for Itchiness
Pharmacological therapies, such as antihistamines, are commonly used to treat itchiness but are often ineffective, especially in cases of chronic itchiness caused by skin, liver, or kidney diseases. Other treatments like creams containing local anesthetics, capsaicin, doxepin, strontium nitrate, or nedocromil sodium can help relieve itchiness. However, they cannot be applied to large areas of skin and may have side effects like dry and atrophic skin.
The Research on Acupuncture for Itchiness
Clinical studies on acupuncture therapy for itchiness have been increasing, with several trials demonstrating its therapeutic effects. Placebo-controlled studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce histamine-induced acute itchiness in healthy adults and chronic itchiness in patients with conditions like uremic pruritus, type 1 hypersensitivity, atopic dermatitis, and neurogenic pruritus.
A systematic review conducted up to June 2014 aimed to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for itchiness. The review included three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from a total of 2530 articles. The meta-analysis results showed that acupuncture therapy was effective in alleviating itchiness compared to placebo acupuncture and no treatment groups. However, the authors of the review cautiously suggest that more studies on various ethnic samples are needed to confirm the conclusion that acupuncture therapy could improve the clinical efficacy of itchiness treatment.
Itchiness may be either acute or chronic. However, acupuncture can effectively help treat any type of itchiness you have, especially itchiness that’s caused by underlying organ imbalances. Acupuncture is a safe and natural remedy for itchiness. It doesn’t come with the risk of side effects that can be caused by creams and other medications.
If you suffer from health problems such as itchiness, why not pay a visit to our clinic? Our team of professional Chinese Medicine practitioners will be delighted to aid your health in any way they can.