German researchers have found that acupuncture can significantly reduce itching in patients with atopic eczema.
An allergen was applied to the skin of thirty participants with atopic eczema, before and after true acupuncture, sham acupuncture (needling at non-acupuncture points), and no acupuncture. Objective measurements of wheal and flare size at the site, plus skin perfusion, were all carried out ten minutes later. Researchers found true acupuncture performed just after allergen exposure, appeared to soothe subjective feelings of itchiness significantly more than the sham or no-treatment controls. They also found a significant preventative benefit on itching, and a less severe skin reaction, when true acupuncture was given prior to allergen exposure.
(Influence of Acupuncture on Type I Hypersensitivity Itch and the Wheal and Flare Response in Adults with Atopic Eczema – A Blinded Randomised Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial. Allergy Journal, July 2010.)