I receive many inquiries from parents about how and when Traditional Chinese medicine can help their children. The Chinese medicine medical system has been used for thousands of years and can effectively treat infants, toddlers, children and adolescents on a regular basis. For parents who would like to address their keiki’s illnesses with safe and natural methods, Chinese medicine is a great way to do it.
So what conditions can Traditional Chinese medicine treat? The most common health issues I see with kids are related to the Lung and Spleen. These manifest as upper respiratory illnesses (cold and flu, cough, earache, allergies, asthma) and digestive problems (colic, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ache).
Why are the Lung and Spleen so important? In Chinese medical theory, the Lung and Spleen are responsible for our immunity and digestive strength. A Chinese classic states, “Children’s Lung and Spleen qi are often insufficient.” Because their immune function is still immature, children are more susceptible to catching viruses. They are also easily afflicted with gastrointestinal imbalances. For example, the transition from absorbing nutrients in the womb to being able to digest and assimilate food on their own, can be difficult.
What other conditions can successfully be treated? Other pediatric conditions treated with traditional Chinese medicine include: sports injuries, teething pain, bed-wetting, malnutrition, eczema, acne, hormonal and emotional imbalances, hyperactivity, and support with attention and focus.
What do we do in a traditional Chinese medicine session? In a session, we diagnose the ailment using pattern differentiation. For example, a cough can be wet or dry. This is important to distinguish because these two coughs would be treated differently. Pediatric acupuncture is safe and effective, but not necessary with every child. Most children grow to love acupuncture when they realize it doesn’t hurt, and they feel better with treatment. Other primary modalities used to correct illness are pediatric massage, guasha, moxibustion, nutritional therapy, and herbal medicine.
Kid-friendly herbal tinctures are easy to use and are very effective. For example, a favorite tincture of mine is Tender Teeth by Blue Poppy. This is great for soothing teething pain. I enjoy showing parents how easily they can do pediatric massage at home to correct and prevent illness.
When should I bring my child in for a treatment? The best time to come in is at the first signs of illness or injury. Because children are very “yang” in nature, they can have an illness that can quickly progress and become more serious. Similarly, if they are treated early, kids are typically very responsive to treatment and can quickly regain their health. A treatment plan is established for those with chronic conditions. Whether helping speed the recovery process of illness or injury, or preventing future illness by strengthening immunity, Chinese medicine will help facilitate health and longevity.
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