Acupuncture reduces eczema itch

Acupuncture can reduce itching in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) and may help them reduce their use of topical corticosteroids (TCS), according to a study carried out in Germany. A total of 121 patients were randomised to one of three treatment arms; acupuncture (ACU), osteopathic medicine (OM) or a no-intervention (control group; CG). All received routine care (TCS and emollients). Patients in the ACU group received eight semi-standardised 30-minute treatments at one to two-week intervals. Standard acupoints were used at every treatment (Hegu L.I.-4, Quchi L.I.-11, Sanyinjiao SP-6 and Xuehai SP-10), supplemented by optional points chosen for the patient’s individual presentation. Those randomised to OM received five 45-minute semi-standardised OM treatments at roughly two-week intervals. Obligatory treatment locations were the cervical column, thoracic column, ribs, diaphragm, lungs, intestines, cranial bones and cranial fascia. Meanwhile, patients in the control group were placed on a waiting list and allowed to use routine care. Although disease severity scores were found to be similar across all groups at the end of the treatment period, investigators found clinically relevant differences in itching between the ACU and control groups, and in treatment responder rates, indicating that ACU and OM outperformed usual care. Additionally, TCS use was reduced in both treatment groups compared to controls.

Acupuncture and osteopathic medicine for atopic dermatitis: a three-armed, randomized controlled explorative clinical trial. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2022 Dec;47(12):2166-2175.