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Any parent of a child with eczema knows the horrible, helpless and heart wrenching feeling of watching your little one suffer. While any traditional treatments such as emollients and cortisone creams prescribed by a medical professional should be applied as directed, it is perfectly understandable that desperate and worried parents are likely to research other supplementary options in the hope they too will provide some relief. There are lots of popular ideas out there like trying to pinpoint potential food allergens which can cause flare-ups or changing detergents and other household cleaning products and well as a wide range of homoeopathic remedies.  However, one of the lesser-known treatments which has shown to be highly effective in treating some cases of childhood eczema, is acupressure. In this article, Emma Guy, acupuncturist and founder of Acupuncture That Works, explains all. 

What is acupressure?

Acupressure practitioners use manual pressure of the fingertips on specific points on the body to help restore balance and harmony within the body’s natural energy system. It derives from traditional Chinese medical treatment that uses the principle that energy runs through the body through meridians or channels. If these channels become blocked, weakened or are not working in harmony, then they can cause health and wellbeing issues. Using pressure from fingertips, acupressure works to unblock energy channels to relieve symptoms and improve overall wellbeing.

While acupuncture uses needles to stimulate the flow of energy (qi) around the body, acupressure is gentler, using finger placement and pressure on specific points around the body. Both forms of treatment have been used for thousands of years and are shown to be very effective for a variety of different conditions, both mentally and physically.

Smiling boy lying on acupressure treatment couch
Acupressure is a gentle and non-invasive and can be effective in managing the itch associated with eczema.

Is acupressure safe for children?

Acupressure is considered a safe and natural way to take away the pain and discomfort of a child. In fact, acupressure is an effective home remedy for parents and children to help stimulate the self-healing properties in the body.

With over 300 acupressure points in the body and some specific to children and others to adults, it is essential that acupressure is performed by a trained acupressure therapist who has experience with paediatric acupressure. However, some therapists will show parents specific acupressure points for therapy at home in between sessions too.

The most critical aspect of acupressure safety, is that the child or baby feels relaxed during treatment. To lessen the risk of damage or injury, the child needs to feel comfortable and safe. In many cases, this will mean the parent holding the child while treatment takes place. It also means the therapist needs to take the time to build up the relationship with the child.

For obvious safety reasons, make sure to visit a trusted professional. If your child has a serious medical condition it may be wise to seek a doctor’s opinion before proceeding with the treatment, just for extra reassurance.

How acupressure helps children with eczema

In a study by the National Eczema Association in the US, those given acupressure where found to have a reduced itching sensation, they also reported positive findings with their skin and its appearance. The study also showed no side effects. In the same study, the control group had no change in the symptoms. Although this was a small study, findings with acupressure in other studies have also found that acupressure can lessen the itching sensation. Want to try it at home? Emma has also written a guide to using two easy to find acupressure points which can ease eczema symptoms and aid relaxation. Emma has used these acupressure points to great effect with a number of eczema kids.

What you can expect from a paediatric acupressure session?

Acupressure treatment is unique to each adult and child. Before beginning treatment, the therapist will take a detailed history from the parent or child, this may involve some unusual questions but helps the therapist to build up a full picture of health and wellbeing.

Depending on the child’s age, the parent will either engage with or hold their child during treatment. The procedure is very light, like a massage and does not hurt. Sessions will usually only last for a few minutes, but children will often notice the benefits far more quickly than adults as their bodies respond much faster. The number and frequency of treatments will depend on the severity of the condition and will be a discussion between the therapist and parent.

As with any eczema treatment, you can only know if it is effective by trying it and seeing the results for yourself.

Want to know more about alternative remedies?

Why not check out our blog post Natural Remedies for Baby Eczema: Which Ones Work? A Review of the Evidence

Here at ScratchSleeves we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child and favourite allergy friendly recipes, we also manufacturer and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult years in a range of colours. Visit our webshop for more information.

A big thank to Emma Guy from Acupuncture that Works in Cheshire for her contribution to this piece.

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Coming from a family of eczema sufferers, Jae draws on years of practical, first hand experience living with eczema.

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