Some Recommendations for Preparation
Working with children and babies is very different than working with teenagers and adults. Their treatment requirements and methods are not the same as that needed by a full size human. If you are thinking about Chinese Medicine as a treatment for your child, here are some tips to prepare you for what to expect.
In order to achieve a smooth acupuncture session, we need to support your child during acupuncture treatments, especially during the first visit. I never want to force the child to get acupuncture if they don’t want it. If your child flat out denies trying it, don’t worry, I have plenty of other options for treatment that are especially made for kids. I can offer sho-ni-shin, a Japanese style of pediatric acupuncture that utilizes small non-invasive tools that are lightly used to treat the acupuncture channels. We can also use a point stimulator that delivers a slightly stronger form of acupressure, or a micro current stimulator that is usually really interesting to the child and non-invasive to use. As children have highly responsive bodies, they don’t need a lot of stimulation like adults do, and acupressure and sho-ni-shin are often all that is necessary.
I like to tell parents to avoid the words “poke,” “pokey,” or “needles” because if the child has had vaccination shots this will make acupuncture seem scary and painful, which it is not. I often use the term “pins” or “taps” as these terms elicit less fear for the child. So, please, when you are talking to your child about bringing him or her into the office, please be mindful of using appropriate and inviting language that does not promote fear.
During your child’s initial visit we will have a discussion about the health history, and I would suggest bringing something special to help entertain the child while we talk (toys, games, or something interesting to them). Short attention spans are something we always have to be working with, especially for the little guys under 5 years old, so please keep in mind that the more the child is not thinking about what we are doing, the more we can get done! If your child is attached to something like a blanket for security, please make sure to bring that as well.
A Simple Examination
During our examination, I will want to take a look at the tongue and to check the pulse. Often I will do a light abdominal exam, and possibly look at the throat if necessary…and then that’s it! I like to talk to the child about everything we do before I do it so that they are involved and prepared for the touch.
Here are Some of the Most Common Ailments that Kids Come into the Clinic For:
Allergies and Sinus (environmental/seasonal, pet, food and chemical)
Digestive complaints or Picky Eating habits
ADD, ADHD, or other focal disorders
Stress and Anxiety
Fatigue or other Energy complaints
Ear infection, Cold or Flu
Your Child’s Treatment
For the treatment portion, I like to talk to both you, the parent, and also the child about what they are comfortable doing. If the child has said already that they don’t want needles, I’ll often just offer it, let the child look and touch a needle (safely, of course!), and then show them how the “pins” work on myself or even a parent. As we do this each session, the child often becomes more comfortable with the idea and agrees to try a “pin” one day. As they become more ‘brave’, acupuncture needles start to become just part of the routine, and the child will allow more needles each session.
Babies and young children can be effectively treated with a non-needle Japanese acupuncture technique called Sho-ni-shin. This is a non-invasive technique where tapping, brushing or rubbing at specific acupuncture points or along entire channels is employed. Children are highly sensitive as they have not had the time to accumulate a lot of past ‘baggage’ as adults have. In effect, their channels are open and ready to receive and respond to mild manipulation. Thus, Sho-ni-shin is extremely effective in balancing a child’s energy patterns and restoring their natural state of health without actually utilizing needles. I like to use a combination of several different styles of techniques, including Sho-ni-shin, light Chinese cupping, mild micro-current stimulation and herbal therapy.
If needles are off the table for awhile, we will then do more non-invasive methods as described above. If you have brought your child in for NAET Allergy Elimination, the treatment will look just a little bit different than a regular Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) session. We will need to muscle test your child for positive allergens, and then perform the allergy clearing portion of the treatment. Muscle testing is a simple and non-invasive action that will tell us which allergens your child is reacting to. If the child is small, usually 5 years and under, we can test him or her through a surrogate (that means you, Mom or Dad), and treat the child directly. For babies, I generally test and treat completely through the surrogate. Regardless of whether you choose NAET Allergy Elimination or regular TCM treatments, the sessions will last about 20 minutes. I truly enjoy working with kids, and I hope the sessions are as fun for you and your little one as they are for me!