Acupuncture and herbal medicine treat fungal infections like tinea
Tinea is a superficial fungal disorder caused by dermatophytes. Tinea is also known as ringworm. This kind of fungus is only able to survive in the upper most layer of skin cells, hair and nails. Tinea fungal infections resemble many other skin conditions, so it’s very important to do a proper differential diagnosis. One of the ways that tinea fungal infections are different is their asymmetrical skin rash.
The most commonly experienced problem of Western medical treatment that I hear from my patients with tinea fungal infections (ringworm) is once they stop using medications, they often have a recurrence. Because Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treat the infection, but also strengthen the skin and body overall, recurrence on infections is less likely. This is why I urge my patients to continue treatment for a few weeks after symptoms resolve to make sure the treatment of the infection is consolidated and they are now in good overall health. Being strong and healthy will allow the body to be less susceptible to infections. Of course, it is also important to make some lifestyle modifications – like flip-flops in the locker room instead of bare feet – to make sure that exposure to the fungus that causes tinea is limited.
What parts of the body are susceptible to tinea fungal infections?
Tinea can affect many parts of the body. The most commonly affected parts are:
- Tinea of the hand and foot (tinea manuum and tinea pedis) – Commonly known as Athlete’s Foot, tine affecting the feet and hands is most commonly acquired from locker rooms and communal showers. The rash appears on the webs between the fingers and toes before spreading to the rest of the foot or hand. There is often peeling, scaling, redness and, in some cases, blistering of the skin. Some people experiencing itching, but not all. In advanced cases, when the skin begins to crack, pain will develop.
- Tinea of the body (tinea corporis) – This type of tinea (ringworm) affects the body, face (not men’s beards; this is a different fungus), and limbs. Body tinea is more common during the summer and in warm climates. The distinguishing symptom of tinea corporis is its ring-shaped rash (annular lesions) and the raised borders around the rings. The raised borders are known to enlarge and grow into odd shapes. Rings may grow together to make new shapes. Itching is more common in this type of tinea.
- Tinea of the nails (tinea unguium) – Tinea of the nails us usually an after effect of tinea of the hands or feet. Damage to the nails predisposes them to tinea infections. Tinea of the nails is very difficult to treat, and will require patience and adherence to treatment protocols.
- Tinea of the groin (tinea cruris) – Tinea of the groin is also known as “jock itch.” Tinea infections in the groin are more common in the summer, after sweating or swimming and continuing to wear wet clothes, or in winter when warm clothing cause sweating. This kind of tinea infection is common in men and rarely seen in women. Tinea infections of the groin appear with half-moon shaped plaques. Commonly, people will have scaling. If the infections spreads out of the groin, it is common to see a rash with a vesicular border, which means there will be small blisters. The scrotum is rarely affected, but the buttocks may be affected.
How does acupuncture and herbal medicine treat tinea infections?
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine work to treat tinea infections (ringworm) in a few ways. Firstly, acupuncture and herbal medicine strengthen the patients body and restore balance. All diseases arises secondary to some kind of imbalance. Herbal medicine is taken internally and also applied to the site of tinea infection. A number of herbs have anti-fungal properties so treatments are working from the inside out and outside in. I prescribe topical herbal soaks and washes to deliver powerful medicine directly to the affected areas.
Some people choose not to use herbal medicine in addition to acupuncture. For most skin conditions, this is OK, but treatments take significantly longer to get symptoms to resolve. In the case of tinea fungal infections, acupuncture alone is unlikely to resolve infections. Herbal medicine is key to achieving positive and lasting results. It is also important to note that even with herbal medicine, patients must be willing to strictly adhere to treatment protocols if they want the symptoms to be resolved.
My additional training in dermatology allows me to customize each treatment to you, the patient, and make sure you get the results you want.