ECZEMA This essay was set to demonstrate the increase in eczema over the past generation.

Introduction
The word Eczema originally derived from the Greek word ‘Ekzeh’ which literally translated means ‘boil out’. The symptoms that can appear as a result of the condition reflect this as an accurate translation. Blisters, flaking, dry, heat and soreness can present itself to the patient with the condition.
Yasgur defines eczema as an ‘inflammation of the skin of an acute or chronic nature…’
Both definitions highlight the skin irritation that must be traumatic and disturbing to the patient experiencing the disease.
It is accepted that the skin is the largest organ of the human body and therefore one can surmise requires the same respect, care and attention that any internal organ beneath its surface usually receives; However, sadly this is not always the case.

Discussion
Medically, eczema has in increased in prevalence in the population over the last generation as previously the condition was relatively rare. To date, the reasons for such increase are unknown. It could be argued that that society has also dramatically changed since a generation ago. That said, one needs to argue the sociological and medical link to the epidemiological increase, possible causes and maintaining causes to the skin complaint.
Yasgur defines eczema as an ‘inflammation of the skin of an acute or chronic nature…’ any inflammation as Yasgur describes, must be traumatic to the person experiencing the disease. The skin itself is made up of a number of layers and has a unique physiological system that works from both internal and external stimuli. Taking this physiological system into consideration plus the sociological/ lifestyle changes that have occurred over the past generation, the following key examples could indicate the reasons for the increase in prevalence, in particular, diet and food intolerance, allergies, drug reactions and stress.

Diet and Food Intolerance
Over a generation, diets have changed dramatically due to large supermarket chains, convenience foods, mass production and lack of the ‘grow your own’ culture that was necessary a generation ago. The preservatives, increase in salt, additives and colourings to our manufactured food build up within our bodies and become toxins within our system. In turn these increase the amount of pollutants being released into the body, blood, organs and ultimately the skin causing the intolerances and eczema symptoms more acute to the patient at the time, maintaining causes of the eczema due to no dietary changes and ultimately the acute condition turning into a chronic problem. Hence an example of the internal physiological system associated with the skin.

Allergic Reactions
More and more people are diagnosed with allergic eczema and contact reactions. The increase in skin products such as cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes and also laundry based and other household products may be a reason for exacerbating the eczema condition. More mad more people use non organic, chemical based products on their skin or have contact with their skin that contain potentially harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde that result in allergic reactions.
Perfumes and other fragrances such as deodorants and body sprays can contain large amounts of alcohol and laundry products can contain allergy causing components. All these items, when contact with the skin can trigger an immune response resulting in a reaction such as allergic eczema. Here is a good example of the external physiological system that can cause the skin to react.

Drug Reactions
Over a number of years and increase in pharmaceutical drugs and the financial tariff associated with them is evident in today’s society. It is no coincidence, therefore, to witness an increase in eczema as a result of drug reactions.
Similarly to food, although, it could be debated that this is more serious, drugs that are taken by an individual have the ability to cause a further problem to the person taken them. Described as a ‘side effect’ in conventional medicine and widely accepted without full questioning. The suppressive nature of pharmaceuticals, also exacerbate a skin reaction as the original symptom being suppressed has to re-form and fight back within the body and this can sometimes take on another form from the original symptom, complaint being treated. Then, in turn this new symptom requires further pharmaceutical treatment and the downward spiral of someone’s health starts and continues. For example, increasing the strength of topical steroids in the suppressive treatment of eczema by conventional medicine methods.

Stress
Stress reaction eczema or the worsening of symptoms as a result of a stress response is also being diagnosed more frequently and today’s fast pace living, financial pressures and debt, materialism is resulting in more and more people being diagnosed with skin problems. As a result of the constant stress responses occurring in the body and the chemical reactions that occur skin reactions are experienced by a large amount of the population living the stressful lifestyle. However, it is fair to say that as a result of the stressful living, dietary intake may be poor; use of pharmaceutical medication may be part of their day to day life or medical history and therefore not each area works within isolation.

All of the factors highlighted illustrate the possible reasons for the marked increase in eczema skin conditions over the past generation. Conventional medicine holds the belief that the correct process of treating eczema is mainly to apply topical steroidal based creams and offer relief to the individual by suppression of the symptoms that they are presenting with. This is a negative treatment route to follow and although this may result in a relief of the uncomfortable symptoms that can be experienced, the long term effects are not treating the underlying cause and can then present in the patient as another condition at a later date. This is possibly proven with the link between asthma and eczema in children in particular.
Homeopathy can be an invaluable healing medium for an eczema patient to consider as the vital force can be aided to fight the part of the body affected and reduce eczema as a curative method. Homeopathy will treat the ‘whole person’ and will advise on other treatments such as diet and healthy eating, stress reduction and a generally more natural lifestyle. Remedies such as Belladonna can aid the reduction of the uncomfortable symptoms whilst the homeopath treats the underlying cause and possible miasmatic reasons and maintaining causes for eczema within that individual patient.
Caution here should be aired as the eczema can indeed ‘flare’ up whilst undergoing homeopathic treatment. The aggravation of symptoms is somewhat different to a side effect of pharmaceutical treatment and the exacerbation of symptoms should be considered as positive. The law of cure believes the body heals from inside out so an exacerbation of symptoms is considered part of the healing process. For the patient themselves, this can be a confusing time as it is fundamentally opposite to how we are brought up in this current society and consider ‘treatment’ to reduce symptoms quickly without consideration for the suppression that occurs and longer term effects. Here lies the challenge to the homeopath treating an eczema case, with regard to working with the patient to support them through a possible aggravation of symptoms in order to help them accept that this is part of the process of healing and ultimately better in the long term.

Conclusion
As this essay demonstrates, the increase in eczema over a generation can be argued to reflect the changes in sociological factors over the same period of time.
Food, cosmetics, stress and not to forget the amount of pharmaceutical products consumed in society can be attributed to the increase highlighted. As society continues to take its current journey and path, further increases of a previously rare condition will become more and more prevalent and ultimately the only winners will be the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing and selling more suppressive treatments to our medical professions who in turn prescribe them to the general public.
However, there is one light at the end of the tunnel that continues to burn for a positive future for our skin. By treating eczema from the inside out using homeopathy can help to support a cure and ensure the condition becomes as rare as it was a generation ago.

David Feakes
October 2011

A gentle miracle post by David.

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