The Unique Physiology of Children
Chinese medicine wisely recognizes that children have unique physiological characteristics and do not consider them to be miniature adults. With this as his foundation, Fred employs 5 treatment modalities with his ‘tiniest’ of patients:
Shonishin: (pronounced show-nee-shin) Originates from Japan, where it is considered an essential and recurring massage treatment for children. Painless and gentle, this ‘acupuncture’ technique uses non-inserted silver tools designed specifically for children to stimulate the meridians and acupuncture points. The massage tools never penetrate the skin and are designed to tap, rub, and brush the skin in order to strengthen the child’s developing meridians and organ systems. A treatment can be performed in 10–20 minutes depending on the age of the child and the severity of the illness.
Tui-na: Traditional Chinese infant massage and like shonishin has profound effects on childhood illnesses. It is a favored modality of Fred’s because time-tested techniques are easily taught to parents thus empowering the most important healers in a child’s life and creating strong emotional bonds between child and parent through the medium of touch. It is the only hands-on system that has been developed specifically for the total healthcare of infants from birth to six years.
Dietary Advice: Chinese medicine teaches that children come into the world with immature digestive systems and are unable to break down their food completely. This leads to what Chinese medicine calls food accumulation — the root cause of many digestive problems and is in infants and young children. A healthy digestive system is the pivot upon which a healthy child depends.
Herbs: Both Chinese and Western herbs are used to great effect. For example, Fred has always calmed his feverish children with an infusion of chamomile, lemon balm, catnip, peppermint, and elderberry. Reduces the fever quickly; calms a fussy child; and tastes delicious.
Acupuncture: Using acupuncture needles is always a last option, but there are situations when it’s absolutely necessary. Tuina or shonishin are not recommended when treating skin rashes or conditions where the skin is compromised. When the child is overly tired, restless or so hyperactive that he/she cannot sit still through a treatment, it is best to use needles. Fred never uses more than two or three points per session, and there is no retention on the points for children under 10. For high fevers, bleeding tends to be the best modality; for cold situations, moxa therapy is a must.