My quest for natural remedies for eczema continued throughout the latter half of 2017. I tried to “self heal” with my own research. This self healing comprised of supplements, vitamins and eating whole organic foods in order to heal my body which I had hoped would heal the eczema.
I gave the self healing a few months with, sadly, no difference in my condition. Therefore, I set out to find a natural doctor to help.
I believe that meeting the RIGHT person whether it be the right naturopath or the right doctor is key. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s all luck of the draw. Although I try to thoroughly research each individual prior to making an appointment. However, I’ve noticed that there are lack of reviews on practitioners and sometimes a costly “chance” is what is required.
My Natural Remedies For Eczema
For most of 2017, I started eating whole organic foods. I would only eat out up to two times a week. When eating out, I still tried to eat as clean as possible. At home, my meals consisted of (1) a carb source which was either brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes or gluten free pasta; (2) protein of chicken breast, turkey and fish; and (3) veggies which I tried to change up weekly so that I get a variety of leafy greens. Also, I incorporated greens superfood supplements (i.e. Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder with Wheat Grass and Greens), acai bowls, and fresh organic juices. I even purchased my own Omega Slow Speed Masticating Juicer so that I could make my own organic green juices.
The definition of “healthy”, in my opinion was followed to a “T”. I was working out regularly and only gave my body “healthy” foods. Today, I’ve realized that “healthy” foods is individualized. Did that statement confuse you? I’ll explain in more detail in a bit.
After feeding my body all these healthy foods and supplements for several months and seeing no results. I decided to see if the “experts” could help. Therefore, I went to a Naturopath and my initial appointments with her consisted of a sit down “get to know me” session as well as a physical which she performed. I also had to do blood work. The results came back all normal, with no issues.
Her diagnosis: my skin issues were pretty much stress related. I was prescribed half a dozen different supplements (which I list below) and a Brown Rice Diet plan. I had to avoid sweet, spicy, greasy and oily foods, as well as processed foods (easy for me), coffee (NOT easy for me), alcohol (kinda easy for me), reduce simple carbs and high salt content foods, and increase high potassium foods such as fish, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, coconut water and blueberries. She also wanted me to (1) exercise 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times per week (already doing that); and (2) relaxation exercise or meditate at least 10 minutes per day.
– HMF Forte: probiotic to promote gut health
– Biotone EFA: essential fatty acid that helps support cholesterol levels and provides antioxidants and to support optimal health
– Vitex: an herbal supplement that helps relieve PMS (now which female doesn’t get PMS???)
– Pantothenic Acid: aka vitamin B5 which supports metabolism, energy, skin and hydration
– Digest Plus: enhances the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates
– Vitamin D3: living in a cold climate like Canada, we all lack sunshine
* Most naturopaths in Ontario, Canada prescribes supplements from the Genestra Brand
At this time, my patience is pretty much lacking since this issue has been lingering for such a long period of time. Therefore, after being on the diet and taking the supplements for about 2 months (we won’t go into how much $$ this has cost), and seeing very little to no results. Thinking back, probably the main reason was that the Naturopath kept changing my appointment because of her schedule, so I decided to ditch her. Hasta la vista, baby!
The Journey to Finding Natural Remedies For My Eczema Continues
Have you ever tried acupuncture? Well, I have many times and I truly believe in it. It cured my seasonal allergies when I was in university. So when a family member told me about a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Practioner who helped cure him of his eczema, I decided, why not, what have I got to lose (except maybe some more $$).
My only concern with TCM is not being able to communicate effectly with the practitioner because the OG ones are definitely old school chinese. Since I don’t speak the language, sometimes I find it hard to tell them my concerns and/or to understand what the issue is and what the treatment plan will be.
The TCM Prognosis
TCM uses herbal medicine and various mind and body practices such as acupuncture, cupping and tai chi to treat and/or prevent health problems.
The TCM diagnosis which consists of listening to your pulse and visually diagnosing your tongue during each weekly session came to the conclusion that I have a spleen qi deficiency and damp heat.
Spleen Qi Deficiency
What the heck does this mean? Here’s what the symptoms are of spleen qi deficiency:
- loose stools with undigested food
- a pale tongue with a thin white coat and teeth marks on the sides.
- a weak pulse
- weakness of the arms and legs
- weak muscles
This is the reason why I’ve felt sluggish during every gym session, especially when I’m lifting. I always tend to feel like I’m unable to really push myself.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen is paired with the stomach and these are the main organs of digestion and the distribution of foods and nutrients throughout the body. The spleen extracts qi from the foods we eat which is used by the body to build immunity, keep things flowing freely, keeps the other organs functioning properly, and helps to regulate mental and emotional functions.
My issue is that I also have stagnation which means that since my spleen is weak, things are not flowing freely. Therefore, there is water buildup in my legs and that is the reason why the eczema is so severe there.
I have now been seeing the TCM for just over 3 months. I’ve been taking the chinese herbal medicine daily and have weekly acupuncture sessions. I’m happy to finally say that I’m on the right path to recovery!!
Healthy Foods May Not Be Healthy For Me
Remember my statement above when I said that healthy food is individualized? Meaning that something healthy does not mean it’s healthy for me. For example, cold and raw foods (i.e. salads, raw veggies) depletes spleen qi. So all those juices that I’ve been having were actually doing more harm for me than good. Foods that are cold in temperature takes more energy for the spleen to digest and are seen to extinguish the digestive fire. Therefore for spleen qi deficiency, warming ingredients are appropriate. So having my veggies cooked and eating more root vegetables such as parsnip, carrots and sweet potatoes are more beneficial for me.
Now do you think that the juice cleanse you’re doing is actually doing your body good?
How Climate and Lifestyle Is Impacting My Health
Furthermore, Canada has long winters and exposure to damp weather actually weakens the spleen. This explains why when I went on holidays to the heat of the Caribbean, my eczema cleared up. Gives me a reason to move to a warmer climate. Hmmm…something to seriously think about.
Another cause of a weakened spleen is from our everyday lifestyle. We’re always on the go and having to multitask and, that is, particularly hard on the spleen which is responsible for doing all the processing. Our emotional wellbeing can also overload the spleen when we worry and overthink things. These are all traits that I have…woohoo!
After approximately 3 months of seeing my TCM, my skin is finally on the path to clearing up. Since TCM treats the root cause of the issue, the likelihood of recurring eczema are slim. Hence why it’s taken 3+ long months of taking chinese herbs daily and having weekly acupuncture sessions. It may have been a slow process, but it’s working and that’s all I wanted. I still will continue to see the TCM since it’s not 100% cleared as yet.
If you notice in the “Current Situation” picture below, there are some discoloration in my skin from the eczema. According to the TCM, the discoloration of the skin is from stagnation or bad blood circulation. This has been part of my treatment and, as shown, it’s still a work in progress.
Tips For Naturally Healing Eczema
First, patience is required. The body takes a long period of time to become imbalanced for eczema to develop. Therefore, it also takes time for the body to go back to a balanced state. Look into finding a natural practitioner so that they can naturally heal your body from within. There’s always an internal cause of why something is happening externally. You need to cure that and then you will see results on the outside.
In the meantime, to help with the itching and the dryness, I swear by thes creams – Aroma Crystal Therapy All Natural Gardeners Dream Cream, Badger Healing Balm and L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter. The Gardeners Dream Cream is an all natural cream with essential oils that helps soothes the itchiness. While the Badger Healing Balm and shea butter helps with the dry, cracked skin. I’ve tried many all natural creams and these have been my go to.
What is your experience with acute eczema?