I have a client who has been experiencing extreme itchiness on her legs while running. She is an experienced runner, and this has been happening during both summer and winter. Prior to last summer, she had not experienced this before. Last summer, she returned to running after giving birth to her first child. She hasn’t tried running in “skins” but has trouble in both shorts and track pants. Have you heard of this before, and if so, do you know of any potential remedies?
Well, this is a common theme these days. Most people have skin dysfunctions and have a hard time determining the cause. Is it sweat, fabric, detoxification, hygiene product or stress induced? First off, my biggest recommendation is, if you don’t assess your client, you will be guessing! What does that mean? Well, if you don’t take the time or if you don’t refer your client out to get the below issues assessed, you will be perpetuating the vicious cycle of guessing = inhibition of healing, increased time of chronic stress leading to other physical, mental and emotional issues. As well, when in doubt, refer out!
- Health History
- Metabolic Typing (discovers an individual’s macro-nutrient ratios: carbs to proteins to fats)
- Comprehensive Health Appraisal (discovers imbalances in the body’s systems: muscular, hormonal, limbic)
- Lifestyle Evaluation (discovers what external stressors a client has and how it is effecting their bodies systems, i.e. stress stimulates sympathetic nervous system=poor digestion among other things)
- Physiological Load and Daily Readiness Assessments (discovers amount of stress in musculoskeletal, hormonal, and limbic systems and what strategies will reduce and bring about a healthy balance)
- Food and Sleep Diary (establishing eating habits, food intolerances and discovering circadian rhythms)
- Digestive Health (processed foods, sugar, flour and dehydration, i.e. is your digestive system healthy or do you have a fungal or parasitic infection?)
- If needed: toxic home/office checklist, gluten, candida questionnaire, neurotransmitter questionnaire, food intolerances, metabolic lab testing on detoxification pathways
The above will give you lots of individualized answers on the origin of this issue. Then from there, you or the other practitioner can work on developing a prioritized and individualized nutrition and lifestyle coaching program.
From a generalized point of view, here is what could be going on:
Gut: Most people with this type of dysbiosis usually have leaky gut, increased sensitivity to foods and the environment. Some of the other symptoms include acne, bowel or skin problems, connective tissue disease and psoriasis. Gut issues can be associated with Fermentation Dysbiosis, which is characterized by bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue and gas. Most people with Fermentation Dysbiosis over indulge on sugar, wine, beer, fruit, grains and fiber. It is the fermentation of all of those carbs that provides the environment for the multiplication of all the bad bacteria in the gut. As well, all of this is associated with Candida (i.e., FUNGUS!), which can lead to an array of problems such as eczema and psoriasis. I would recommend putting her on the fungal diet from the book The Fungal Link, as well as referring her to BioHealth Diagnostics to do a lab test (401H at www.biodia.com).
Detoxification: We have five organs of detoxification: colon, lungs, kidney, liver and skin. Poor food quality and poor lifestyles can back up all these organs. When this happens, the last place to detox from is the skin, which is the largest organ in the body. I would recommend going on a food elimination diet (gluten, sugar, salt, milk and flour) to aid in cleaning up her system.
Heat: Most of the time when there is heat in the blood, the Chinese believe this can cause cystic acne or rashes. Acupuncture treatment involves both distal and local points.
- Lung Heat patterns may be treated by using points such as Large Intestine 11, Large Intestine 4 and Lung 5
- Stomach Heat patterns may respond to acupuncture points such as Large Intestine 11 Stomach 44.
- Toxic Heat patterns may be treated with points such as Du 14 and Large Intestine 11
- Blood Heat patterns may be treated as with Toxic Heat, with the addition of Spleen 10
- Damp Heat patterns may be treated like Stomach Heat patterns with the addition of points such as spleen.
Acupuncture: The lesions themselves may be treated by a technique known as "surrounding the dragon," in which needles are placed superficially about one inch apart to surround the area where the acne is present and retained for about 20 minutes.
Ear acupuncture, in points corresponding to the lungs, stomach and endocrine system, may prove useful as well.
Herbal Medicine: Herbal medicine focuses on heat according to the differential diagnosis, while reducing the inflammation and attempting to prevent the formation of new lesions. A combination of herbal medicines taken internally and an externally applied solution is preferable.
- Lung Heat may be treated with formulas of herbs such as Pi Pa Ye and Sang Bai Pi.
- Stomach Heat may be treated with proper supervision using combinations of purgative herbs, such as Da Huang and Mang Xiao.
- Toxic Heat may be treated with combinations such as Jin Yin Hua and Lian Qiao.
- Blood Heat may be treated by using herbs such as Sheng Di Huang and Mu Dan Pi.
- Damp Heat may be treated with combinations of the herbs used to treat Toxic Heat, along with other herbs, such as Yi Yi Ren and Tu Fu Ling, to drain dampness.
Hygiene Products: Some other areas you want to assess or look into are hygiene products that contain paraben, synthetic oils, gasoline or any other synthetic compounds or solvents that can inhibit the skin from “breathing.”
Stress: We are exposed to many various stressors each day (EMF, chemical, nutritional, physical, mental, emotional, environmental, etc). It all depends on the person, as well as how he or she experiences and adapts to them all. When we bounce out of homeostasis, we should be able to adapt and come back. But most people do not, and often they start moving through what I call the stages of dysfunction: pathophysiological, pathomorphological, symptoms and death! To make a long story short, over time, the body cannot handle all of this stress and it keeps releasing catabolic hormones. This leads to many other thyroid, adrenal, gut and gonad issues as well. If we don’t adapt and keep living in a state of dysfunction, we typically see fatigue issues, chronic inflammation, blood sugar handling issues, digestion issues, hormonal imbalances, blood pressure issues, sleep dysfunction and detoxification issues. The adrenal glands are tied to a lot of these systems, so when they become dysfunctional, so do the other systems. When this arises, we create the environment for parasites, fungus and bacteria to grow. This in turn to can to the symptoms listed above, as well as skin dysfunctions.
I would recommend referring your client to BioHealth for the 205 Adrenal Test, as well to a holistic nutritionist or a C.H.E.K Holistic and Lifestyle coach. This will aid in creating a foundation for her healing to take place. I hope this gives you some direction!