Acupuncture for children Paediatric acupuncture london
Acupuncture is suitable for children of all ages, from newborn to teenage years. They are sensitive to their surroundings and respond to any unusual conditions in their lives. New food that is hard to digest, change of school or childcare, conflicts with siblings etc. can easily cause imbalances that if unresolved can quickly develop into health problems. Acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese Medicine (moxa, cupping, tuina, guasha, acupressure) aim to resolve those imbalances and provide a smooth transition into an adult life. It can also be used as an adjunct to conventional pediatric care.
The first visit last about an hour. After establishing the general nature of child's complaint, careful observation and asking various questions, Kate will make a diagnosis in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The treatment itself is very different than treatments for adults, it is much quicker and can last from few seconds to 5-15 minutes, depending on the age of the child. Most time is spent gathering information and making sure child is comfortable.
Kate uses a special needling technique and offers smallest needles (size of a strand of hair) for her young patients. As a paediatric acupuncturist, Kate understands that not every child will undergo acupuncture. A child is never forced to have acupuncture treatment and there are several other non-needle treatment techniques that your acupuncturist may use. They are easy, painless and have a similar therapeutic effect to acupuncture. Moxa - a method of gently warming specific acupuncture points, massage and acupressure can also be used, some techniques can be taught to parents to carry on at home. Kate also offers laser treatment (a needle free alternative).
Babies and children usually respond very quickly to the needle and non-needle treatments. They may experience a significant relief in symptoms immediately or shortly after the treatment. If child presents with chronic condition it is expected that a gradual improvement in the condition is achieved.
Number of treatments required varies from child to child and depends on many factors: condition treated, TCM diagnosis, child's constitution. For simpler patterns it can be one to ten treatments, ten to twenty for others, while some deeply rooted conditions may require many more treatments. Treatment is suited to child's individual needs and adjusted with the progress.
Shonishin Paediatric Acupuncutre
It is a Japanese form of treating children, sho=little, ni=children, shin=needle. Using Shonishin focuses on gentle, specialized, mostly non-inserted treatment techniques that children find comfortable and even pleasurable. Dramatic results can be obtained even with very light treatment. Shonishin techniques involve rhythmic stroking, tapping, and pressing the skin to give different kinds of gentle stimulation. These techniques harmonize and fortify the child's vital energy, and strengthen the child's constitution. Depending on the patient, treatment are carried once or twice a week. Parents will also be tought how to use certain techniques between sessions to enhance treatments.
It is a powerful form of medical massage which can be used either preventatively or to help a child through chronic or acute illness. It can be used in the clinic and also taught to parents.
Much of the treatment is applied to the infant’s hands, forearms, back and abdomen. The massage treatment is gentle and simple to apply and makes an excellent alternative to acupuncture. It is also commonly used alongside acupuncture treatment. Paediatric Tui Na is generally suitable for children below the age of 14. However, it is most effective on children below the age of 6, including newborns, infants and toddlers. For children above the age of 9, a combination of Paediatric and acupuncture are typically used to achieve optimal results
In China treatment is given in courses of daily treatments for 5-10 days with a few days break in between courses. Practitioners in the West teach parents how to apply the treatment once a day in between treatments from the practitioner.
Conditions treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine
WHO suggests benefits from acupuncture for:
Digestive problems: tummy aches, diarrhoea, nausea and vomitting
Weak immune system
Respiratory disorders: cough, tonisilitis
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Please have a look at my Blog and Research papers for some interesting facts.
Dietary & Lifestyle advice
It is often that changes in child's diet can make a huge difference in how they feel. With some conditions Kate asks to cut out some foods for the duration of treatment and then slowly reintroduce them. It all depends on TCM's diagnosis.
Very often adjusting child's sleep routine, or regularity of meals can have a tremendous difference. With some children, introducing some regular exercise or on the other spectrum, reducing the overload may help.
There are many studies coming out of China and Germany proving the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments for children.
Massage for conditions commonly seen in children
Please find PDF document: a very helpful and easy to follow Tuina massage guide for treating cough in children, by Robin Green, L.Ac. MTCM