Is there an alternative to using steroids or anti-histamines for itching during pregnancy?
Many women wish to avoid corticosteroids and anti-histamines during the last trimester for the treatment of itching and heat rash. These heat rash conditions have been allocated technical names such as prurititic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy shortened to PUPPPP but in traditional Chinese medicine the most common cause is due to wind.
Can the environment cause itching?
Chinese medicine has over the centuries observed the effects of nature and the environment on the human body. Modern medicine has also acknowledged that the weather and environment can cause disease, such as living in damp moldy houses can aggravate and cause asthma. The nature of wind is such that it blows onto the surfaces of houses for example and can also blow onto the external body. The itch during this 3rd trimester period is due to the wind. Wind can also come from inside the body which is poetically referred to as internally generated wind.
Anemia and blood deficiency causing itching?
In particular, in traditional Chinese medicine, blood deficiency is a common root cause of itching. In modern medicine it is reported that many pregnant women have anemia. In Chinese medicine, this blood deficiency is caused from the growing baby taking any reserves of blood that the mum may have in order for the baby to grow and thrive.
How can wind cause itch?
Acupuncture points have functions and indications allocated to them which include such terms as “resolve damp” or “disperse wind”. Thus, some acupuncture points that have the historical use of dispersing wind which are used to treat itch and other skin diseases.
Which acupuncture point can treat wind?
One such example is a gall bladder point on the outside of the thigh, GB 31 which has the Chinese name of fengshi. This name translates as wind market to emphasize its role of dispersing wind.
What about to treat the cause of the wind?
In the authors experience, the most common cause of wind is blood deficiency and in particular during pregnancy is even more commonly so. As the baby grows it takes everything that it can get from the mum, energy, blood, supplies of yin and yang and which is why so many mums to be are drained, pale and tired coupled with imbalances of hot cold. The blood goes to the growing baby, and the deficient blood in the mum to be causes wind and then itchiness. Hence, the need to treat the blood deficiency which is done by tonifying the spleen to produce blood.
Which acupuncture points can help to tonify the blood?
We ask Kane Monrad of Connect Therapies in Hamilton what acupuncture points does he use. “There are of course many acupuncture points but one such example is Stomach 36 , known as zusanli in Chinese. This point is regarded as a major tonic point and can be used to treat many conditions both acute and chronic that involve tiredness and weakness. As the point has a major effect on building spleen function, the production of blood is the end result. Strong healthy blood then anchors any wind and then stops the itch. One of my favorite other acupuncture points is Liver 8, qu quan which means spring at the bend referring to its location at the knee crease“. Many acupuncturists also use Liver 8 to tonify the yin to address mental and emotional strain which can build up to birth date. Kane says “Though this Liver 8 point doesn’t have any recorded classical indications to address itchy skin, I use it to help the blood of the liver and address the root cause of the wind and I also find it useful to treat cramps and flat moods“.
Where can I go to get acupuncture for itching during pregnancy in Hastings?
Heiko Lade, the director of The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings has been in private practise for over 30 years.