Most people have heard about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for adults, but few are aware these health therapies are also effective in treating children--from babies to teenagers. Pediatric acupuncture is somewhat of a misnomer, as acupuncture with needles is not the usual, or only treatment option for children. For example, the Chinese have developed a medical massage for children called pediatric Tui Na-- a series of acupressure and other manipulations that support healthy functioning of the immune, circulatory, digestive, and neurological body systems in children. The Japanese have also developed a needle-less pediatric system for treatment of children called Shoni Shin, which utilizes small metal tools that are rubbed or tapped along meridians and acu-points with essentially the same effect as needles. It is helpful for parents to know that nearly all children 4 years and older can withstand a few needles. Often, even younger children do well with them and are fascinated by the entire process. Acupuncture needles are considerably thinner than the hypodermic needles that tend to scare most kids-and adults. The specialized pediatric needles I use on my youngest patients are even thinner than normal and I use them regularly on my 8 and 4 year old with little discomfort…in fact they both request acupuncture now when they are sick!
Your acupuncturist may also prescribe herbs or supplements to support your child’s health. It’s important to get sound professional advise before giving your child any herbal remedy. Acupuncturists are one of the few licensed healthcare providers in California who are trained in herbal medicine, so ask if yours if he or she has experience working with children. A good pediatric practitioner will also offer nutritional consultation with parents, as the modern American diet is the primary cause of most health problems in children. When looking for a Pediatric Acupuncturist, you should interview the practitioner about how they work with children. What techniques do they use? How do they negotiate treatments with children? What forms of herbs do they prescribe? Are they easy to administer? Do they offer education and remedies that you can use at home? I believe giving parents protocols to support their child's health at home is essential. I think it helps if your practitioner has children of their own so they have a realistic perspective and practical experience communicating with kids. My own children have always been my best teachers.
The following is a partial list of situations where you may want to utilize a Pediatric Acupuncturist to assist you with your family health care needs:
allergies, acne, asthma, attention issues, bed-wetting, colds, constipation, coughs, depression, diabetes, developmental delays, diarrhea, digestive problems, ear infections, eczema, failure to thrive, hyperactivity, headaches, immune health, menstrual issues, obesity, physical injuries, seasonal cold and flu prevention, and sleep problems.
If you have any questions about pediatric treatment and Chinese Medicine, please give me a call!
To your child's health,