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Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Children

I’ve had many requests for more information on how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help keep your kids healthy and vital. 

This medicine has been used for a very long time in treating dis-ease and maintaining the health of everyone, including children. Using the same principles and medical theories as the basis for understanding the human body, and the dis-harmonies that create ill health, we adapt the treatment protocols to suit children from infancy, through adolescence and into adulthood.

The use of needles for children will depend on the practitioner and the child. In China, it is not uncommon to use very thin needles to treat infants and babies with acupuncture. However, needles can be easily swapped for Tuina massage, acupressure and a traditional Japanese technique called Shonishin. Shonishin translates to ‘child needling’ and uses a variety of small metal tools as a non-invasive and gentle way to treat children.

These tools are used to scrape down the meridian lines (moving qi and blood) and as acupressure tools held on specific acupuncture points to create different actions. 

Depending on the individual child, their needs and the parent’s consent, very fine and flexible needles may be used for children of any age. Often these needles will only be retained for a short amount of time. In saying that, I recently read a study where fine needles were used on a baby and retained for 10-15 minutes with positive results. Fewer points are chosen for the prescription and if the child is needle-phobic there are many alternatives for treatment. Press tacks (very small needles on adhesive backing), as well as ear seeds, would also be considered in the treatment of children.

Aside from needles and Shonishin, Tui Na massage is a wonderful and effective way to treat children, using light and gentle techniques to balance and harmonise their well-being. Some of these techniques (including Shonishin) may be taught to the parent to continue treatment at home. 

Moxibustion, which is the burning of mugwort herbal floss (in the form of a stick or cone) is used to warm an area or specific acupuncture point and may be utilised in the treatment of children. Cupping therapy can also be adapted for effective paediatric use, utilising much gentler techniques. Gua sha (scraping) is an important treatment tool when there is an excess of heat in the body.

The treatment approach is always individualised to the client and would depend on their constitution and presenting signs and symptoms. Dietary changes may also be suggested to re-balance the child’s system depending on their condition, and Chinse herbal medicines may be recommended for further treatment options. 

I have created a short survey (2 minutes) and would love your input before I launch my offerings for paediatric acupuncture and Chinese medical health support.

I will never forget one of the exam questions for a paediatric subject at university; a case study of a young boy expressing agitation, inability to sit still, angry outbursts, constipation, large thirst and redness in the face. In Chinese medicine, this is a clear picture of excess heat causing an imbalance in the system. In other schools of thought it could be seen very differently.

I am inspired to learn more and develop professionally in this area of treatment. Keep an eye out on my social media as I will announce when my books are open for Children's appointments. In the meantime, you are welcome to reach out with further questions.

Thanks for reading, may you and your family be well <3

Reference List:

Chat GPT. Retrieved from on 16/1/24

Images sourced from Canva. Retrieved from on 16/1/24

Loo, M. (2002). Paediatric Acupuncture. Elsevier Ltd.

Murg, K., Raith, W., & Urlesberger, B. (2018). Use of Acupuncture in an Infant with Restlessness and Agitation. Medicines, 5(2), 55.

Rossi, E. (2007). Paediatric Tuina and Acupuncture: the Xiaoxiao clinic in Milan. Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Wernicke, T. (2014). Shonishin: The art of non-invasive paediatric acupuncture. Singing Dragon.

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