When I first met my wife her entire body was covered in eczema, a condition she had since she was a toddler. Nothing helped. She tried homeopathy and tinctures, naturopathy and a variety of alternative tests, meditation and other stress relief techniques and a variety of restrictive diets and special supplements. Steroid creams offered temporary relief, but she didn’t want to use them long term due to side effects.
I could understand my wife’s fear of steroids. Being the mainstay of treatment for skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, ever since their grand introduction in the 1950s, many people have enjoyed the quick and effective relief they offer. However, more than 60 years later, we are now seeing the other, darker, side of steroid use. Thinning skin, atrophy, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, acne, pigment changes, delayed wound healing and increased risk of skin infections are all commonly seen side effects of steroid use. Other complications include steroid addiction, red skin syndrome, diabetes and even stunted growth in children.
Most of the side effects from steroids are encountered after long term use, especially with the more potent ones. I tell my patients that using a steroid ointment for a week or so may be fine, as long as it cleared the problem and the steroid could be stopped. Unfortunately, a week or two of steroid use often turns into many months, if not years, of use.
I encouraged my wife to try Chinese medicine. At first she said no—she was done looking for answers—she had tried everything ‘alternative’ and just needed to accept her condition. I explained Chinese medicine was different as it has its own unique way of seeing the body.
Dermatology in China is one of the oldest specialties in the world, being one since at least 300 BCE. The methods used to treat skin disease, or any other health issue, have been progressively built upon over many thousands of years, thus the collective experience to treat something like eczema would be massive. Not many other systems of medicine have this same long-term tried and true history.
After a year of encouragement, my wife decided to see my own Traditional Chinese Medical doctor— my first mentor. He had a close look at her skin, asked some questions about her general health and then prescribed a mixture of herbal medicines she was to drink everyday. Three months later her skin was clear for the first time in 21 years. Everyone, including her parents, were amazed. I was amazed.
I can still remember my wife saying, ‘Feel my skin! I never thought I would ever have moist skin. I always thought it would be dry, rough and itchy.’ Now, over 15 years later, my wife still has clear skin. Herbal medicine helped restore my wife’s internal balance, rather than just suppressing the symptoms, and it was her story that motivated me to study Chinese medicine dermatology.
Dr. Erikson has dedicated his life to helping others overcome skin disease. He has studied with some of the best Chinese medicine dermatologists in the world and has become an internationally respected educator using herbal medicines to treat skin disease. For over a decade, Dr Erikson has been helping people experience healthy skin, naturally. He can be reached by phone at 778.886.1180 or through his website at www.drerikson.com.