In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are four primary methods of treating children: Dietary Therapy, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese Pediatric Massage and Acupuncture.
Chinese herbs are prescribed in individualized formulas which are custom written to suit the needs of each child. These formulas typically consist of anywhere between four and fifteen herbs. Many herbs have anti-bacterial or anti-viral properties while others work to promote the body's innate ability to heal and recuperate. Herbal formulas can be very effective in the treatment of acute illness as well as in preventing illness when there is a history of chronic infections and antibiotic use.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the most sophisticated herbal medicine systems in the world. It is very important, especially in the treatment of children that herbs are prescribed only by a licensed professional. Side effects of properly prescribed herbs are uncommon, and if they do occur are quite mild.
Digestion plays such a pivotal role in the health and well-being of infants and young children. Their diet is extremely important in preventing and treating the most commonly encountered children's diseases. The same diet that the average parent in Western society has been led to believe to be healthy for infants and children can be problematic according to TCM. Most pediatric diseases can be either completely eliminated or markedly improved if a child's diet is modified.
There are a number of ways that Chinese herbal medicine can be dispensed for children under the age of eight. There are pills, powders, and teas. Any liquid form of Chinese medicine may be effectively administered with an eye dropper.
No child can eat whatever they wish and still remain entirely healthy. The majority of food a child eats should be cooked because cooked foods are easier for them to digest due to their immature digestion. Children should be fed whole foods with a high percentage of vegetables, fruits, grains and complex carbohydrates and smaller amounts of meats, eggs and dairy products.
Pediatric massage, or Tui Na, can be highly effective for treating commonly encountered pediatric diseases such as cough, constipation, chronic abdominal pain, dermatitis and asthma. It is gentle, safe and without side effects. Chinese pediatric massage is specifically designed to prevent and treat pediatric disorders and uses specialized techniques and pressure points that are particularly beneficial for children. Chinese pediatric massage is useful for treating children up to 8 years of age. However, the younger the child is, the more effective pediatric massage can be.
There are certain combinations of specific massage techniques for the purpose of rebalancing particular patterns of disharmony within the child. Usually, a Chinese pediatric massage treatment will last 20-30 minutes and most techniques are performed while the child is clothed. The frequency of massage depends on whether the condition is chronic or acute. Pediatric Tui-na is soothing and relaxing for the child and does not cause pain or discomfort.
In general, acupuncture is not often used in the treatment of children especially under six years of age. In TCM, the primary modalities used in pediatrics by the Chinese doctor are herbal medicine and massage. However, pediatric acupuncture, called Shoni-shin, is a type of acupuncture specifically designed for the treatment of children, which does not penetrate the skin.
This treatment works wonders for common respiratory and digestive ailments. It can enhance circulation and relaxation, thereby improving health in general. Shoni-shin is a form of bodywork that makes use of small metal tools designed to bring qi to the surface, help it move by "spreading" it along the channels, and stimulate specific acupuncture points. There are about a half-dozen different tools in a shoni-shin kit, none of which penetrate the skin. A shoni-shin treatment can be performed in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the age of the child and the severity of the illness.