An estimated 15 million people in the United States suffer from eczema, which usually looks like dry, scaly red skin patches accompanied by intense itching. Standard treatment can include corticosteroids, which have some serious side effects.

Now, a group of German researchers may have an answer to provide relief from the itching.

Thirty people with eczema were treated with acupuncture right after being exposed to an allergen such as dust mites or pollen. It turned out that the subjects all reported lower levels of itchiness. Even more interesting, when they got a second exposure to the allergen, their flare-ups were less severe.

The researchers concluded: “Acupuncture at the correct points showed a significant reduction in type I hypersensitivity itch in patients with atopic eczema.”


Pfab F, Huss-Marp J, Gatti A, et al. Influence of acupuncture on type I hypersensitivity itch and the wheal and flare response in adults with atopic eczema – a blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Allergy. [Epub ahead of print]


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