Hydrotherapy for Eczema in Avène, France: Aidan’s Story
This is an incredible story from a mom, much like many of us, just didn’t know what else to do to help your son find eczema relief after years and years of trying everything. They end up at the Avène Hydrotherapy Center in France. Just what makes this center so interesting for those with skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, puritus, ichtyosis, scarring and burns? The water is rich in skin-soothing silica and bicarbonates and comes from springs deep underground where rainfall has been stored and circulated by a naturally occurring aquifier for 40-50 years. It’s healing properties are recognized by the French National Academy of Medicine. This clinical trial shows great improvement in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis patients after seeking treatment at the center for three weeks.
When I first heard about this place, I was fascinated and wanted to learn more. So I’m very grateful for April’s first hand experience she’s sharing with us today.
Hydrotherapy for Eczema in Avène, France: Aidan’s Story
By April Moffett (Bio below)
When Aidan was born he was in the NICU for four days. A week after I brought him home I noticed he had severe cradle and it was spreading to his forehead. His face felt all bumpy. He never really felt soft like a baby should. He was my third and he was completely different from my other two. After about four months he developed hives all over his body. Huge welts from his head to his toes. I figured out it was from the mixed cereal I put into his bottle. I took him to his pediatrician and they told me he was allergic to wheat and to we did our best to keep it away from him. They also prescribed Elidel for the eczema on his feet and hands. I used it minimally because I read the side effects and you aren’t even supposed to use it until at least two years of age! His eczema continued to get worse and the doctor prescribed even stronger steroids and medications like Desonide, Mometasone, Clobetosol, Fluocinolone, Fluocinidine, Protopic and Desoximetasone.
Of course, these weren’t all prescribed while he was an infant but he has had to use all of them topically since birth until just last year. They all worked for a little while and then they would stop working and his prescription would be bumped up to the next strongest steroid. Through the years we saw a homeopathic doctor who really didn’t help at all. We also saw a kinesiologist, but Aidan saw no relief. He’s been to see an immunologist and was tested for Job’s syndrome, a condition that affects several bodily systems and particularly the immune system, because his IgE levels were off the charts and he had a couple of other symptoms as well. The worrisome part of this condition is that it has a history of being fatal. He was on Neoral (Cyclosporine), an immune suppressant, for over two years. It helped in the beginning, but again he went right back to where he was before we started. I changed dermatologists when he was 8, not because I didn’t like the doctor, but because I just wanted a second opinion to see if there were other options. The new dermatologist took him off of Neoral and put him on a stronger immune suppressant, Azathiaprine. This DIDN’T help at all!! He started to deteriorate before my eyes. Aidan was losing his hair, his was still very dry and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep him from infection. His skin was so dry and thin that it was cracking at the joints. He couldn’t walk and needed my husband and I to carry him all over the house. When he was in the 2nd grade he was so sick and in pain that he collapsed in the hallway at school. The nurse brought him a wheelchair and that was the last day he was in school. I had to rush him to the hospital because he had developed MRSA, a severe staph infection. After the hospital we tried UV light therapy three times a week. It didn’t help and it seemed to burn his skin. I couldn’t bare to watch him suffer anymore I didn’t know what else to do. He was 9 years old at the time and had been hospitalized 6 times in his short life and he was slowly fading before my eyes. I had done everything possible including changing his diet, homeopathic oils, organic cleaning products, and some things too crazy to mention. I had to change his sheets and wash his towels daily in super hot water and double rinse them. I cleaned his room constantly, we even ripped all the carpet out of the house and put in wood floors and that still didn’t work.
A Treatment Opportunity in France
I thought I had exhausted all my resources until I heard about the Avène Hydrotherapy Center from my friend who works for Pierre Fabre, the owner of the center. Her son and my son Aidan, are best friends and have been since kindergarten. She was at a business conference where they announced that they sponsor two children once a year to go to the therapy center. I figured what the heck? Why not? Nothing else worked, so we might as well try this, so let’s try to get a sponsorship. My friend worked diligently for two years to get Aidan sponsored and last year he was chosen. While at Avène his treatments consisted of daily jacuzzi baths, shower sprays and mists, under water massages, wet wraps and facials all including the Avène water. The Avène creams also have their spring water in them. The hydrotherapy at Avène ended up being a God send and was the ONLY thing that worked for Aidan. Before we went to Avène, Aidan was on oral meds (Cyproheptadine and Hydroxyzine) to help with the itching. He was also on topical ointments (Desonide, and Protopic), but I did stop the topical ointments right before we left for Avène. Since coming back in early September he has maybe taken his oral medicine twice. I haven’t used a topical steroid ointment since late July! He is so much healthier now and has gained a lot of weight which he hadn’t before. I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but a lot of kids and adults have been helped. Not cured, but helped. Now, Aidan is so full of life it’s unbelievable. This hasn’t cured him, as you know there really isn’t a “cure” for eczema, but it has improved his quality of life and we are looking forward to the future. Whereas last year we feared it.
What can hydrotherapy do for #eczema? Look at these photos! @eczemacompany #AvèneCenter
Bio: April, Aidan’s mom, shares the daily trials and dilemmas of Aidan’s journey with Atopic Dermatitis associated with environmental and food allergies. You can find Aidan and his story on Facebook.