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Eczema Frequently Asked Questions - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Eczema Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have Eczema?

  • Partly due to genetics, immune dysregulation causing allergic inflammation, and environmental factors.
  • If you have a family history of eczema you are more likely to develop it. Environmental factors like bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus) colonization of damaged skin, and chronic phthalate exposure (found in textiles, food products, and plastics) contribute to inflammation and immune dysregulation.
  • There is some evidence that the presence of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium commonly known for causing stomach ulcers, can also contribute to immune dysregulation and inflammation of the skin barrier.
  • Food triggers are also an important contributor to eczema. Increased intestinal permeability contributes to allergen sensitization, so chances are good that your digestive system needs some help. A naturopathic doctor can work with you to establish which foods may be contributing to your eczema.
  • If you have endocrine problems like thyroid disease it is best to take your medication and be well managed, as worsening hypothyroidism may also worsen the severity of your eczema.

What is the best treatment for Eczema?

  • A combination of dietary management, skin care, and stress management will help to control the chronic symptoms of eczema and address the underlying causes.

Can diet affect Eczema?

  • Eggs, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, tomatoes, and artificial colours & preservatives have been identified as exacerbators in a large percentage of eczema cases. Elimination of these offending foods has been shown to restore normal intestinal function and reduce the progression of new food allergies. Avoidance of these foods may be continued for up to one year to achieve the best results.
  • There is also a growing body of evidence to support histamine intolerance in the development and severity of eczema. In histamine intolerance, ingestion of histamine-rich foods (think red wine, aged cheeses, cured meats) overwhelms your gut’s ability to break down this inflammatory molecule. Over time, more systemic signs of histamine intolerance (rashes, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies) develop.
  • Eating more fatty fish (eg. salmon, herring) in pregnancy, lactation, infancy and childhood has shown protective effects against eczema in epidemiologic studies

What lifestyle behaviours can help with my eczema?

  • First, stop scratching. Scratching will break the skin barrier and allow for bacterial colonization.
  • In terms of keeping clean, baths are more beneficial than showers, as long as you remember to “soak and smear”; bathe, pat yourself dry, and then apply a very generous amount of moisturizer to the skin. For added benefit, soak oatmeal in a clean cloth bag in your bath to soothe your skin.
  • People suffering from the itchiness of eczema tend to have more anxiety and feel more stressed out. Finding an outlet for your stress and keeping your anxiety at a manageable level will help to benefit your outlook and the severity of your eczema. A naturopathic doctor has many tools to address high stress and anxiety.

What are natural topical remedies for Eczema?

  • Sea buckthorn oil, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, calendula oil, chickweed cream, and moisturizers containing beeswax can all help to moisturize the skin and maintain its barrier. It is also important to use a mild, pH-neutral soap free of any perfumes or fragrances to avoid any unwanted skin irritation.

What Supplements are good for Eczema?

  • Daily fish oil supplementation and use of the probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are two supplements with good evidence for use in eczema. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new medication or supplement.

It is not uncommon for people with eczema to also experience anxiety, sleep and digestive issues, allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) and asthma.

A naturopathic doctor will take a thorough health history to determine any other health concerns that should be addressed along with your skin health and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you have Eczema? What have you tried to help their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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References:

Kido M., Tanaka J., Aoki N., et al: Helicobacter pylori promotes the production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin by gastric epithelial cells and induces dendritic cell-mediated inflammatory Th2 responses. Infect Immun 2010 Jan; 78: pp. 108-114

Elias P.M., and Schmuth M.: Abnormal skin barrier in the etiopathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2009 Oct; 9: pp. 437-446

de Maat-Bleeker F., and Bruijnzeel-Koomen C.: Food allergy in adults with atopic dermatitis. Monogr Allergy 1996; 32: pp. 157-163

Agata H., Kondo N., Fukutomi O., et al: Effect of elimination on food-specific IgE antibodies and lymphocyte proliferative responses to food antigens in atopic dermatitis patients exhibiting sensitivity to food allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1993; 91: pp. 668-679

Kremmyda L.S., Vlachava M., Noakes P.S., et al: Atopy risk in infants and children in relation to early exposure to fish, oily fish, or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids: a systematic review. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2011 Aug; 41: pp. 36-66

Barnes B.: Thyroid therapy in dermatology. Cutis 1971; 8: pp. 581-583

Maintz, L., et al. “Evidence for a reduced histamine degradation capacity in a subgroup of patients with atopic eczema.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Vol. 117, No. 5 (2006): 1106–1112.

Worm, M., et al. “Exogenous histamine aggravates eczema in a subgroup of patients with atopic dermatitis.” Acta Dermato-Venereologica. Vol. 89, No. 1 (2009): 52–56.

Case History Eczema and herbs to help - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Case History: Eczema and herbs to help

When I first saw Lucy she had a number of health concerns.

There was an ugly patch of burning, weeping eczema covering most of her lower right leg. It had been there for years. Her bowels were loose. Suffering with surges of adrenaline, she swung from fury to depression in any single day.

Her mood swings made it difficult for her to shop and prepare food. She ate eggs and a few raw vegetables every day. Reading her eyes I saw low stomach acid and a constitutionally weak liver. Her tongue was fiery red.

I recommended Lucy make a poultice of powdered slippery elm bark and St. John’s Wort infused oil and plaster it over the eczema every night. I offered her a tea to calm her mind and tincture to regulate her bowel.

The poultice of slippery elm and St John’s Wort oil cooled and calmed the inflammation while drawing excess fluid from the weeping tissue. St John’s Wort infused oil is a traditional burn remedy.

I also advised Lucy to limit her eggs and add more variety to her diet.

Over a period of two months, the eczema on Lucy’s leg cleared up, her bowels became regular, and her mood improved.

Unfortunately, her anger continued to rage and a new symptom appeared: a dry mouth. Lucy woke up parched several times in the night. She drank litres of water during the day.

I continued to encourage her to curb her temper and try to see the world from other points of view. I offered her cooling, nourishing herbs like marshmallow, plantain and chickweed and adaptogens like American ginseng. None of them relieved the thirst.

One day, complaining of an itch on her back, she lifted her shirt to show me. Thin red welts mark the area where she had been scratching, but what really interested me was a dark patch of skin over her kidneys. The discoloured skin was even the shape of her kidneys.

Looking at the skin discolouration I thought of the plant goldenrod and offered her a tea made with its leaf and flowers. The symptom of thirst cleared up quickly, as did the itching. Over a period of six months, the patch of dark skin on her back faded. Goldenrod is a specific herb for poorly functioning kidneys due to inflammation.

All was well for some time. Lucy’s skin was clear and her bowels were regular. Her skin no longer itched and her mouth was not dry. Her temper continued to flare, but not with same fury. A year went by. Lucy visited a skin clinic in Perth to helped make her skin healthy.

Then a crisis in Lucy’s personal life threatened to take all that she loved: her family and home. The crisis was demanding she stop the victim game that justified her use of anger. When the crisis deepened, a rash appeared on Lucy’s face.

As it spread, it covered the entire lower half of her face, from her cheekbones to her chin. The skin became thick, as red as beets, and hot to the touch. It began to peel and shed.

Again, we used St John’s Wort oil and revived the previous formulas that had helped Lucy before. It did not help. I offered her some energy healing and drew some of the heat from her face. It was a temporary fix. Eventually I simplified the protocol and offered her only burdock tincture and goldenrod tea. The herbs quieted down the skin rash, but did not resolve it.

The challenge was that every time Lucy lost her temper (which was several times a day) the red mask-like rash swelled and thickened. Then one day, desperate for relief, Lucy revealed the shame of her anger. The shame spewed from her mouth carrying the sound of a wild animal’s desperate cry. The shrieking pain of shame came directly from Lucy’s belly. Within ten minutes the mask faded.

A year has passed since Lucy expressed the visceral voice of shame. The mask has not returned. I have never seen Lucy so calm and agreeable. Overall her health is better than it has been for years. Although she occasionally complains of a lack of intensity in her life, she is discovering the health (both physical and mental) advantages to being peaceful with the world. Her skin is soft and glowing…

An except from The Herbal Apprentice: Plant Medicine and the Human Being by Abrah Arneson Cht.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you have Osteoarthritis? What have you tried to help their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Can Hives Be Caused By Stress and Trauma - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Can Hives Be Caused By Stress and Trauma?

I have worked as a Natural Allergist now since 2004, and in that time many people have come to me seeking relief from hives and rashes. Most have been told that their hives are “idiopathic”. In doctor speak that simply means “We have no idea what is causing this problem..”!

I can test these clients for allergens, whether food, environment, heat, cold or electromagnetic frequencies. However, in the case of chronic hives, the answer most often is not allergies, it is stress and trauma that the body is holding on to.

The client may appear to be reacting to something they eat or touch, but when asked they will say that one day it is okay… another it will create a considerable reaction.. this is a clear indication to me that the issue is not with the food or thing they touch, but comes with an internal, emotional response.

One example that comes to mind is a guy who was experiencing hives when he went in the sun. We tracked the reaction down to the day, 16 years previously, when his son drowned in the sea in the Caribbean.. this naturally caused a massive amount of emotional trauma, which the body interpreted as being to do with the heat and the sunshine on his skin.

It is well documented that psychological stress is linked with chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives) and other skin complaints including rashes, psoriasis, rosacea.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22507051

Stress, whether long-term or acute, triggers reactivity in the autonomic nervous system and a state of hyperarousal in the sympathetic nervous system. This may manifest as hives.

In the case of PTSD following injuries, the hives can appear at the site of that injury. E.g. hives were affecting the area of the body where the person had been stabbed years previously.

Put plainly, the body’s immune system has become over-reactive. It detects the stress and mobilises histamine (inflammation) and the immune system to address the perceived threat. Unfortunately, stress cannot be dealt with by our immune system and histamine, there is no invading pathogen to attack, so an autoimmune reaction occurs – the body attacks its tissues, causing the skin reactions.
http://www.aocd.org/?page=Urticaria

Another way to view this is that the body has developed an allergic reaction to the stress and trauma.
http://www.hives.org/stress-hives.php

What can you do about it?

The first step is to acknowledge that emotions, traumas and stress can be a part of actual physical symptoms in any part of the body. I find this can be the most challenging step for many clients.

Lifestyle and relationship stress

If you follow the guidelines published by TrueCounsellor, you will know that firstly, you need to address any lifestyle factors, reduce any current stress in your life. This may mean looking at your job and making plans to change it, or addressing issues in your relationships, and making sure to create work/life balance.

For some the act of planning to change their job, even if not immediately, provides some relief – there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the stress is reduced.

Psychotherapy, counselling and coaching can be helpful to determine where the stress lies and to develop strategies for alleviating that stress.

Old traumas

We all hold emotions in our bodies. To deal with these, we need to work with the conscious mind, as above, but also release the trauma from our physical body. This can be done in many ways, some of which are as follows:

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

NLP works with your unconscious and the memories that your psyche has organised according to your individual “timeline.” It addresses memories from your life and genetic memories – events experienced by your ancestors.

Craniosacral therapy and cranial osteopathy

Craniosacral therapy and cranial osteopathy work with the subtle structures of the body, and with the energy and emotions. A goods therapist will put their hands on and be able to feel the body ‘shaking inside’ with unreleased trauma. They use gentle techniques to assist the release of these traumas from the tissues.

Somatic breath work

This modality is designed to rebalance the body’s systems and to release trauma. It can be practised at home once you have the techniques.

Energy healing

There are many types of energy healing, from Reiki and Chakra Balancing to Pranic healing, Angel healing and the Laying on of Hands practised by some religions.

The whole purpose of any energy work is to facilitate the release of emotions and to bring balance and harmony for the entire person. It has been practised by many cultures for many centuries.

NAET (TM) treatments

NAET TM works to release the body’s association between allergens and emotions. They can also be used to target traumatic events specifically and to release the associated emotions held in the body and to release those emotions.

In conclusion

Take the time to consider whether your hives and rashes may be due to emotional traumas or stress. Try to be honest with yourself. One way that we survive trauma is to bury it deep inside and avoid looking at it. Facing it can be painful, but rewarding, and can be the start of a whole new you.

If you think that stress or trauma may be a part of the cause of your hives, book a free health coach assessment with me to discuss the best approach for you.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do have hives? Were your hives aggravated by stress? Let us know in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, https://www.ottawaholisticwellness.ca. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
How Can You Treat Severe Acne Naturally - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

4 Therapies To Treat Severe Acne Naturally?

From personal experience, I know that having acne can be emotionally traumatic. I developed acne in my early teens and 40 years on you can still the scars on my cheeks. In the late 1970’s treatment options were limited to antibiotics and creams. None of these helped so I was left to cope with going to school and university with enormous zits on the end of my nose. I am also still dealing with after effects of the antibiotics!

Fortunately, there are alternatives to antibiotics (which are still prescribed) to treat severe acne naturally. I actually found a natural cure for my acne by luck. While studying Naturopathy at College one of our practical projects involved removing a food from our diets for two weeks. I chose to avoid all dairy products. After one week I suddenly realised I had no acne. Since that point, scientists have produced evidence that dietary modification and other alternatives to treat severe acne naturally.

4 Ways To Treat Severe Acne Naturally

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin. Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain and to help treat various health conditions including acne.

In double-blind placebo-controlled study researchers in China found that after 12 acupuncture treatment sessions of moderate acne vulgaris was associated with a reduction of inflammatory lesions and improvement of the quality of life.

2. Dietary Modification

Diet has been shown to influence many aspects of your wellbeing including the health of your skin. Acne has been associated with dairy and high glycemic load.

In a 2009 systematic literature review of 21 observational studies and 6 clinical trials, researchers concluded that there exists convincing data supporting the role of dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods in influencing hormonal and inflammatory factors, which can increase acne prevalence and severity.

In 2012 double-blind placebo-controlled study researchers in Korea concluded that a reduction in glycaemic load of the diet for 10 weeks resulted in improvements in acne.

3. Light Therapy

LED light therapy is a painless, relaxing, non-invasive skin-care treatment that has multiple benefits particularly stimulating collagen and treating mild to moderate acne.

In 2009 researchers carried out a prospective, randomized, open and comparative study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of blue light treatment versus a topical benzoyl peroxide 5% formulation in patients with acne grade II and III. They concluded that blue light irradiation was as effective as benzoyl peroxide in acne treatment grades II and III but there were fewer side effects.

4. Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.

Moxibustion has been shown to help many conditions including acne.

In a systemic review of randomised control trials, researchers in China concluded that moxibustion is safe and effective for treatment of acne, and it is possibly better than routine western medicine.

What therapy is right for me?

At this point, you may be thinking which therapy is right for me. When choosing an approach with any of my clients I will always choose the simplest option first. Based on this strategy here is my suggestion for which order to take:

  1. Remove Dairy – the simplest and safest to try on your own.
  2. Try a low glycaemic diet – seek the advice of a registered functional medicine practitioner, naturopathic doctor or nutritionist.
  3. Acupuncture and moxibustion – search for a Traditional Chinese Medicine trained acupuncturist.
  4. Light therapy – LED Light therapy is available in Ottawa at Oxygen Medi Spa.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do have acne? What have you tried to help with their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, https://www.ottawaholisticwellness.ca. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact