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Atopic dermatitis: Conventional and Integrative Medicine


Kam Lun Hon*, Samantha Chu, Alexander K. C. Leung and Alex Wong  


Although Western medicine and ideas about atopic dermatitis (AD) have become popular in many Asian countries, local beliefs about the disease and its treatment often prevail. The multi-racial background of these countries as well as the influence of the diverse religions (such as Taoism and Ramadan) in these regions often lead to diverse belief systems about the causes of AD (such as the Chi concept, also known as the balance of yin and yang) and the types of treatment (e.g. herbal remedies, topical versus concoctions and decoctions). In addition, many of the cultural practices are preserved among the southeast Asian minorities residing in the United Kingdom and North America. Eastern treatments typically take a holistic approach to AD and emphasize the psychosomatic component of the disorder. This overview summarizes the difference between Conventional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine in epidemiology, etiology, therapy, and prognosis in children with AD. There are several similarities in genetic and environmental factors in epidemiology and etiology; however, differences exist in terms of the concept of management. Complementary and alternative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and integrative medicine usage are prevalent among the Asian population but are becoming more popular and accepted in Western societies.


atopic dermatitis; complementary and alternative medicine, eczema; cultural difference; integrative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine


Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Calgary, and The Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

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