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Welcome to December, a time when some are in major party mode and others slightly stressed trying to organise the Holiday season meal through to shopping for ‘gifts’.  It is a time when certain ‘stress’ conditions can flare up. I am going to share on eczema also known as dermatitis, which can also be triggered by stress. Eczema is a skin condition that can create a lot of emotional upset as well as unnecessary physical ‘agro’.

Eczema is known as an ‘inflammatory’ skin condition which basically means the result of a ‘hyperactive’ immune system. The condition can vary from being red and dry through to raw and weeping on various parts of the body. There are various theories as to what ‘causes’ it, triggers it and alleviates it, but there is no traditional cure.

The causes include:

  • Family history of allergy type conditions such as hay fever, dust, wasps, food etc
  • Food intolerances such as milk, wheat, eggs etc
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as zinc, vitamin A, magnesium and so on
  • Vaccinations
  • Emotional imbalance

The first two causes are generally embraced by all medical professions, be they a general practitioner of traditional medicine or a nutritionist/naturopath. The last three causes are mainly recognised by the more ‘naturopathic’ practitioners.

In most cases of eczema ‘treated’ by a standard medical doctor the symptoms are usually very well ‘masked’ but the cause is not addressed. In such situations the eczema is either controlled/managed or suppressed.

Controlled/managed eczema:

  • Such as using a standard hydrating cream but as soon as this cream is not used the skin flares up again.
  • Removing specific foods that aggravate the skin, for example with intolerance to dairy, taking out dairy from the diet will alleviate the eczema but it does not ‘cure’ it. This is indicated by the very fact that when dairy is consumed again the eczema re-appears
  • Changing all clothing to cotton and changing fabric cleansers etc

Suppression of eczema, this is the most harmful method of ‘treating’ (rather masking) eczema

  • Use of steroid creams which suppress the eczema…why? You may ask…well firstly the steroids suppress the hyper-active immune system, in so doing the rest of the immune system takes a ‘bashing’ too and steroids go onto reap havoc with the hormonal system, nervous system, that is why the side effects of steroids include, skin thinning, easy bruising, weight gain, lack of healthy growth and development, acne, diabetes, osteoporosis, adrenal fatigue, the list is pretty endless……..
  • Anti-histamines or any other medication that ‘plays’ around with the immune system suppresses eczema

To actually really ‘treat’ eczema one needs to address the CAUSE…otherwise we are gambling with our health with the body becoming ‘addicted’ to external support rather than ‘treating’ from within….Let me introduce you to an eczema case (more to follow next month) that we have had in clinic that show eczema can be ‘treated’, not just managed or suppressed.

First Case: Jamie a 6 month old boy. Both of his parents are generally ‘healthy’ but father has history of hay fever. Jamie was ‘birthed’ by an emergency C-section. He developed the eczema at 6 months of age when he was introduced to natural organic yoghourt. Before that there was no indication of any ill health. He was not vaccinated and completely breast fed until 5.5 months of age where he started to show signs of requiring ‘solid’ foods.

His mother is a nutritionist so she had him tested for any mineral deficiencies already, which came back ‘perfect’. During the first session the mother started to cry as I asked about Jamie’s ‘birth’. She described it as being ‘traumatic and felt violated’ by the experience. Everything else about Jamie’s case seem pretty straight forward (although I was aware that Jamie may need to be ‘treated’ for the family history of hay fever at some point which can be linked to eczema). Jamie was prescribed a remedy for the birth trauma that his mother experienced which he would have experienced also.

Follow up session: 4 weeks after the first session, Jamie returned with his mother. Within a week of taking the remedy the eczema cleared completely and mum had introduced the yoghourt 14 days after the first session and the eczema had been ‘cured’. The dairy ‘intolerance’ was actually triggered by the ‘traumatic’ birth experience. Jamie is now 17 months of age and has never had any eczema issues just the odd snotty nose here and there and is absolutely fine with dairy foods.

This case is an example of the fact that one does not have to either suppress or control eczema for the rest of their life. Actually suppressing eczema turns inwards to the lungs and manifests as asthma. This is well known amongst the medical establishment such that babies/children treated with standard medications for eczema go onto develop asthma! But they can’t explain why, although the naturopathic approach can explain this ‘phenomena’ as basic suppression. It is very important that when we ‘treat’ skin conditions we do so by addressing the cause and NOT suppressing the condition.

Happy Holidays!

Khush