by John Winternitz, MA, LAc., Pediatric Acupuncturist
Did you know that children can benefit from acupuncture and Chinese medicine? In fact, children often respond to acupuncture and herbal medicine more rapidly than adults and we can resolve most issues with only a few treatments! I mean, how great would it be for your kid to miss fewer days of school and to not be held back from the things they enjoy because of sickness, pain, allergies, or mood swings? Not only is that great for your child to not be sick, but it is a huge relief for parents also to not have to miss so much work.
I know what you are thinking, “but what about the needles?!?!” Believe it or not, we can treat children with or without needles.
The traumas that kids experience from vaccinations, blood draws and other western medical treatments make it unlikely that children are going to jump at the idea of having any kind of treatment with needles. This is often what deters most people. Don’t worry, we understand and we see this all the time (and even with adults!).
Here are a few ways that we can treat children in Chinese Medicine:
Shonishin Pediatric Treatment is a beautiful style of Japanese acupuncture which is a needle-free form of acupuncture designed specifically to work with children. This is a form of acupuncture that is safe for children of all ages including babies. It works by tapping and gently scraping acupuncture points to elicit a light skin reaction. Because children are so full of Qi/energy/life force, this method is more than sufficient to move the qi and get your child well and on their way to healing.
Herbal Medicine for Children: Herbs are another way to help support your children whether they are acutely ill, chronically ill or whether you are looking for a more preventative approach and you simply want them to be stronger and more resilient to getting sick in the first place. Herbs for kids can also be great for digestive issues, mood stabilization, among many other concerns.
Moxibustion, especially when used in a Tiger Warmer is a wonderful way to support the recovery from ear infections, colds, and cases of flu, as well as digestive issues. Moxa is an herb that is burned inside of the Tiger Warmer and used to warm acupuncture points, bringing movement and enrichment to your child’s Qi/energy/life force. This treatment is very pleasant and often brings a great sense of comfort and well being to kids immediately.
Cupping can be a great addition to any pediatric treatment. Cupping is the gentle suctioning of strategic places on the body to bring about blood flow and healing. Kids are often fascinated with cupping! And it feels like a massage to them.
Lastly, it is important to note that children are always given 100% control in the treatment room. We will never try to convince a child to do needles if they do not want to and we move at the pace that is most comfortable for your little one. As we build rapport with you and your child, this often opens up the possibility of children working with acupuncture needles in the future and having a wonderfully positive outlook on all the amazing benefits of Chinese Medicine.
Conditions that Chinese medicine is excellent at treating in children are ADHD, ADD, anxiety, asthma, digestion issues, acute illnesses like colds and cases of flu, headaches, sports injuries, mental health, etc.