Welcome to Acu in Practice! Here in the Pacific Northwest we have experienced significantly dry, hot weather over the past 2 months. Not surprisingly, I have seen plenty of allergic dermatitis in my patients during that time. In most cases, the lesions are dry, red and itchy. In TCM, we refer to this as Wind Heat dermatitis. However, the important question is “Why does the body react to this Wind Heat and/or to these environmental antigens?” Each individual and their allergic symptoms are unique and there are multiple TCM patterns that can lead to this presentation. However, to keep it simple, in TCM the allergic dermatitis can be grouped into 2 basic categories – inherited or acquired. With inherited allergic dermatitis, the root imbalance is a deficiency of Prenatal Kidney Jing which can be loosely related to genetics in Western medicine. With acquired allergic dermatitis, the imbalance occurs over time due to a deficiency in energy available to build the immune system and fend off the external pathogens such as the antigens and the Wind Heat. For example, a poor diet or the use of medications/chemotherapy that suppress the immune system.
How do we treat these root imbalances? Here is a quote from Dr. Xie’s text TRADITIONAL CHINESE VETERINARY MEDICINE: FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES – “The Kidney is the root of Prenatal Jing. The Spleen is the root of Postnatal Jing. Prenatal Jing is continually depleted by the day to day Qi requirements of the body. The Postnatal Jing, created by the Spleen Qi from food (Gu Qi), can replenish the Prenatal Jing.” (page 127).
Thus, in either case, inherited or acquired, to treat allergic dermatitis and other immune system imbalances, we must focus supporting the Spleen and providing the healthiest nutrition possible in order to improve the immune system.
In addition, we must use acupuncture and herbs to Clear the Wind and Heat, itching and inflammation, associated with the allergies in order to improve the comfort of the patient while waiting for our nourishing treatments to strengthen the foundation of their immune system.
This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA (IVAS) and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice.