Chinese medicine has much to offer in caring for your child’s health. Western medicine often sets up a cycle of overtreatment–e.g. overprescribing antibiotics that weaken the digestion and then make the child more vulnerable to the next illness and the next round of antibiotics and so on. While it is definitely important to see a pediatrician regularly and in acute situations, the sensitivity of children often calls for the gentler perspective and treatment that Chinese medicine can offer. Because children are so sensitive and changeable, they tend to respond quite quickly and easily to gentle treatment. We use many potential modalities, depending on the child’s condition, comfort level, and calmness.
Needles can be a source of fear even for adults, so much care is taken to build trust with the child and no needling will take place without the child’s permission first!Especially at first, other modalities are often used instead of needles. These include stimulating the points with tuning forks, massage or shonishin (shonishin is a Japanese pediatric modality that involves specific tools and techniques for rubbing and tapping along the the acupuncture meridians). If the child feels courageous enough for needles, he or she will find out that the pediatric needles are actually quite tiny and painless and can have good effect even if retained for a very short time. Kids, like adults, often discover that they really like getting acupuncture!
We also prescribe herbal formulas to children. There are many pediatric formulations available, usually as glycerine tinctures, so they taste good and are easy for kids to take.
And again, because kids are so sensitive and adaptable and are also building health habits that they might carry into adulthood, it is very important to address diet and nutrition. Children’s digestive systems are a little weaker than grownups and often more prone to producing phlegm. Especially for frequent colds, asthma, and digestive troubles, dietary changes may be a very important aspect of treatment.
Regular acupuncture and/or herbal treatment can reduce colds, ear infections, and tummy troubles, as well as help with more complex issues like asthma, skin conditions, bedwetting, insomnia, and ADHD.