I was reading this week about suggested cures for eczema and other related dermatological complaints. These treatments included cognitive behavioural therapy, investigative procedures for allergies not to mention a huge selection of different creams, notions and potions.
It’s a long time since I first suffered from any form of eczema or related condition. At the time I was working away from home a lot. Staying all week in 5 star hotels always sounds pretty glamorous. The reality is living in one room which isn’t yours, eating alone and a constant diet of over-rich meals can put a lot of pressure on the system, not to mention the inevitable stress from justifying a high salary and living expenses.
After about three months of this the top of my neck and just under my chin started to itch, then went red. A few weeks later and my neck started to bleed. Not professional when you turn up for work with blood stains on the collar of a white shirt so this was getting serious.
I went along to see the doctor at my general practice. We started off with a steroid cream that had no effect whatsoever, although it did provide an extra barrier to prevent blood oozing out. (Yes it was getting that bad). We then tried something else which was equally useless. He suggested a lifetime on antibiotics – which didn’t appeal.
By a strange coincidence the barber’s shop I used at that time was right next door to a Chinese medical clinic. I have always been extremely sceptical about “alternative” therapies of any sort, so you can imagine it required some degree of desperation for me to finally decide to give it a go. After all, every remedy available for Western medecine had failed so this was the last chance saloon. And a number of skin conditions were listed among the various ailments and symptoms they claimed they could deal with.
So I booked an appointment. The receptionist made a note of some personal details and I was ushered in to meet the Chinese doctor who was to treat me. He took my pulse, inspected my tongue and looked at the blotchy areas around my neck. He asked some questions about my lifestyle.
Eczema was never mentioned. He explained that my ying and my yang were out of balance and my blood was too hot. I managed to keep a straight face.
Back in the dispensary, he selected 10 or 12 different ingredients from a range of boxes on the wall behind. These were distributed evenly over 7 paper plates, and then the contents of each plate was tipped into a paper bag. I left the clinic with 7 bags of dried substances and instructions to boil the contents of one bag each morning in water and drink the infusion. I then should boil the residue in the evening, drink the weaker liquor and then throw the residue away. I was to repeat the procedure each morning for a week. It was suggested I should drink more water and less alcohol, but, hey, let’s be realistic.
It so happened that the following week I had planned to work from home so the next morning I boiled up the first bag of ingredients. To say the smell was appalling would be an understatement. The taste was even worse. However, I persevered. In the evening I boiled up the soggy remains from the morning for another dose. After all, I had paid my money, so even if it didn’t work I should give it every chance. By the third morning I was starting to get used to the taste, but the complaints from the rest of the family about the smell didn’t diminish. Also I suspected that they rather enjoyed the sight of me “taking my medecine”. That evening I thought my skin was starting to calm down. The morning of the fourth day there was a definite improvement, and by the end of the week eczema, psoriasis, or whatever I had been suffering from had cleared up completely.
Of course there could have been any number of other explanations, but the simple fact of the matter was that after trying every remedy that Western therapy could offer, one week of Chinese medication had done the trick. I should add that towards the end of the week I tried to work out what was in each paper bag. Bits and pieces of twig and bark. Something that looked very much like a magnolia bud, and surely that can’t be a giant dried woodlouse? Better not look any further.
A year or so later and still no reoccurrence of whatever I had been suffering from earlier, but our neighbour, whose husband of many years had recently passed away, mentioned that she was suffering from a severe outbreak of eczema. Her doctor had tried various treatments, none of which had worked, so she was now being treated by a “holistic therapist”. Various procedures had been proposed, the first of which would identify any allergies that could be the cause. It did strike me as odd that any allergies should suddenly make themselves apparent after over 60 years, but reminded her of my own experiences. A month later and still no improvement. She was starting to get a bit worried about the cost as well as the lack of progress so I managed to persuade her to go along and talk to my Chinese doctor.
Two weeks later she was a new woman. Total cure.
Take a look at Laura Dolgy’s family experiences
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