What are complementary therapies?

Complementary therapies are separate from conventional scientific medicine. Although they are not a cure for eczema, some can be helpful when used together with conventional treatments. However, what benefits one person may not necessarily help another. Western herbal tablets and creams are generally screened in order to reduce the risk of toxicity, and are widely available in pharmacies and health food shops. Some of these have provided relief of eczema symptoms for some people.

However, creams that come from other parts of the world have been found to contain topical steroids. For example, potent and very potent topical steroids have been found in homeopathic creams, Chinese herbal creams, ‘Wau Wa’ cream and OSAS (intensive body lotion with aloe vera).

Herbal remedies can have powerful side effects (e.g. liver and kidney damage resulting from Chinese herbal medicine), so we recommend that if you wish to take this approach, you talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional first and have regular blood tests to keep a check on the liver and kidneys.

Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy and reflexology can be useful in helping you to relax and cope with stress.

Complementary therapies tips

  • If you are thinking of using a complementary therapy, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about it first.
  • Only use therapists who are properly trained and registered with their professional body. Find out what their qualifications mean and check that they are insured if anything goes wrong with the treatment.
  • Check the ingredients on all labels. If they are not clearly listed, it is wise to avoid them.

For more information on complementary therapies, please see our Complementary therapies and eczema factsheet