Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks

Updated October 2, 2003








Acupuncture for Sebaceous Cysts
By Brian Benjamin Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian is an author of international renown and public speaker. He is currently writing his book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing. Brian practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in sunny San Diego, California.


I thought that I would field you a question. I was going to have a small dime-sized sebaceous cyst removed from my scalp that I have had for several years. Do you know of an alternative to surgery?

Thank You,

Acupuncture for Skin Problems

Yes, acupuncture can be quite effective for skin problems- cysts, warts, scars. What the acupuncturist does is surround the lesion with needles, and may apply electrostim to the needles. Another local treatment would be an herbal formula, the contents of which would depend on the nature of the cyst as diagnosed by the herbalist/acupuncturist.

Treat the Root to Prevent Recurrence

Sometimes, surgery for these problems doesn't result in a permanent change. It's best to look for the root of the problem- What if you do have surgery, get it removed, and then another one forms? The acupuncturist may do other points that deal with the root and related patterns of imbalance.

Chinese Medicine on Skin Problems

Chinese medicine is personalized, so for the best treatment, you'll have to see an acupuncturist one on one, but here is some general info:

  1. External (skin) problems are usually manifestations of an internal problem.
  2. The skin problem is located on particular acupuncture meridians (channels). This helps the acupuncturist diagnose what internal problem might be the cause, and how best to target the treatment.
  3. Acne, cysts, and pustules are what Chinese medicine calls dampness and phlegm. The latter is a harder more concentrated version of the former. If there is white pus, it is considered cold or neutral; yellow pus is considered heat. Also, there can be blood stagnation, which is a dark or red or purplish skin lesion or cyst. Depending on the nature of the lesion, the external herbal treatment is different.
  4. Diet (food choices) and digestion are major factors in acne, dampness and phlegm. Greasy food, hard to digest foods, and irregular eating times are hard on the digestion. Poor digestion leads to dampness, which is a kind of toxicity, or diseased fluids. For more about a good diet for digestive problems and dampness, read this article.
  5. For a Chinese medicine case study on acne, read this article on another website. There are some typos in that one- e.g. I'm pretty sure he means 'Topical,' not 'Tropical Acne.'

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor