I have had multiple people ask me if acupuncture (and herbal medicine) can be safely administered to children, and let me just say emphatically, Yes! Treating children using acupuncture, up to a certain age, is a bit different than it is for adults, but the results are just as profound, if not more so. Acupuncture techniques can absolutely be performed on children, and even toddlers and infants.
A unique system of treatment was developed in Japan several hundred years ago, which focuses on the youngsters who often come into our clinics. This technique is called shonishin, which means "infant/child needle." Shonishin is applicable to all kids, from birth up until the age of seven or eight. It utilizes small tools that gently stimulate acupuncture points and channels with various rhythmic tapping, rubbing, and pressing techniques. This is, in essence, a special form of bodywork. Needles are also acceptable for use on children depending on the situation, but they are never retained in the skin for more than one minute and the child is under constant supervision throughout the entire process. Treatments are designed so as not to cause much discomfort, and because the treatment is soothing and relaxing, as well as symptom-eliminating, children really start to look forward to coming in for their treatments.
Children's illnesses are often due to the health qualities of mom and dad during pregnancy, poor sleep habits, lack of discipline (read: "regularity and balance"), overeating, malnutrition, environmental toxins such as secondhand smoke, etc. Because they are still growing and learning to adapt to the world around them, kids tend to develop very predictable and treatable illnesses. This is a generalization, with exceptions always to be found, but most kids are prone to weak digestion; colds and flus, especially with fevers, sinus discharge, and cough; and emotional turmoil. The good news is that all of this can be both alleviated and prevented with regular acupuncture and shonishin treatments.
The usual frequency of treatment varies from child to child, with more acute cases often requiring shorter courses of treatment, and chronic conditions requiring more long-term treatment plans. Generally speaking though, the usual frequency of treatment is once to twice per week, depending on the severity of the illness, for up to three months. Then, maintenance treatments are often given at least once per month.
Pediatric acupuncture and shonishin has been shown to effectively, and consistently, alleviate suffering from the following:
If you do not see your child's particular condition listed above, please contact me as this list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Aside from relief from the sufferings that these conditions bring on, children, and their parents too, will also have an improved quality of life by not missing as much school, sleeping better, and having more energy for extracurricular activities.
For more information as to how acupuncture and shonishin can benefit yourself and/or your little ones, please contact me at 618-694-5189.
This page is intended to serve as a source for links to blogs and articles about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine that both new and returning patients may find informative and/or entertaining. It is also where I will share information about the history, principles, and benefits of this awesome medicine.