Some of the most common conditions that we treat children for are issues related to Allergies, Dermatology, and Asthma. We also treat children for many other concerns, including chronic ear infections, headaches, and various aches and pains.
With children, we use gentle Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, pediatric massage, and cupping. Children’s energy, or “Qi,” is often more at the surface and moves more quickly than that of adults, and with young children, needles are often inserted and then immediately removed—your child may not even notice that they were there. We use even tinier needles than average acupuncture needles, and we often just use a couple of needles with kids. We always let the child decide if they want to try acupuncture, and often kids are curious. Needles are not inserted deeply, and they are often not felt much at all. A child can be seated or laying down during treatment—whichever is more comfortable for them. With older children, we can retain the needles for about 10 minutes, or longer, depending on the child's comfort, and our assessment.
From a traditional Chinese medical standpoint, the organs related to digestion include the stomach, spleen, and large intestine. From a Western standpoint, we don’t often think of the spleen as related to digestion, but in Chinese medicine, the Spleen does carry the function of helping with digestion. If a child comes in with tummy aches or diarrhea, we may look at nourishing or warming the spleen & stomach. This can be done by using diet: perhaps just adding some more warm, cooked food to the diet, or herbs such as cinnamon or ginger. Or we can use Chinese herbal tinctures which contain herbs that nourish these systems. We can also use acupuncture on points related to the stomach, spleen, large intestine, or any organ systems that seem to be affected by your child’s ailment. One of Chinese medicine’s advantages is that we can tailor each treatment toward the individual. What works best for one child’s tummy aches may be very different than what works for another’s. Moxa (moxibustion) is another technique that can be used for digestive issues that are cold in nature. Sometimes we will feel a child’s belly and it literally feels cold where the pain is. In those cases where there are signs of cold, we might use moxa as a a warming technique. It usually feels good and soothing.
From a traditional Chinese medical standpoint, we look at why a child may be having skin issues. We usually first decipher whether the child’s condition is due to cold or heat, or what type of situations or environments exacerbate their condition. We might work with the Lung or Bladder channel for a skin condition, or we might work with the Stomach or Large Intestine, if it seems related to those channels or organs. For some children, stress is the biggest trigger for their skin issues, in which case, we might work with the Liver channel, which often relates to stress. Again, the beauty of this medicine is that we can individually tailor a treatment for each child that comes in.
We often look to the Lungs for treating symptoms of asthma, which probably isn’t a surprise. Sometimes we look at other organ systems as well. One modality that can be really nice for treating coughing, wheezing, or other symptoms of asthma is Cupping. Kids often love cupping, as it is fun and interesting, and also feels good (adults love it, too). Sometimes we will do cupping on the back, over the back muscles, or over the lungs, to help warm the area and move stagnation. If your child is being treated for asthma by their primary care provider, but still suffers from symptoms, Chinese medicine can be a great resource to explore.
We often treat children for allergies, as well as for colds, congestion, chronic ear infections, and headaches that may or may not relate to sinus congestion. There is so much we can do to help children who suffer from nasal congestion, sinus headaches, or various types of allergy symptoms. We often show parents how to do acupressure themselves at home for their children (by the nose, or on the hand) for allergies or sinus issues, and we can also do acupuncture in these areas. Often the relief is immediate.
When it comes to any of these concerns, we often think about the root and the branch of any issue. For example, in the case of allergies, we can do acupuncture or acupressure to immediately help alleviate symptoms. However, we are also interested in why a symptom or set of symptoms is presenting, and Chinese medicine has many resources to help nourish oneself constitutionally. Children are often health and resilient, and it often doesn’t take much, in terms of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, or treatment, to help them feel better or gain strength. We are interested in not just alleviating current concerns, but in strengthening and balancing your child’s body and energy so that we can prevent further problems in the future, and help them to cultivate health and balance.
Easing the Passage: Supporting Tweens with Chinese Medicine
Adolescence is a time of great change and challenge. Adolescents experience rapid physical changes and strong emotional states. The rapid changes can create a feeling of unease in one’s body, particularly if one’s body doesn’t fit dominant gender and racial standards of beauty. Acupuncture and other physical therapies can help reconnect adolescents to their body and restore a sense of safety within themselves. Chinese Medicine can provide insight into this stage of life and help to restore balance.
Chinese Medicine associates each season with specific organ systems and attributes. Adolescence is reflected by the attributes of Spring time. There is new plant growth, change and unpredictable weather. In Chinese Medicine, the Spring is associated with the wood element and the organs liver and gallbladder. When healthy, the Liver and Gallbladder support clarity in judgment and confident decision making. They are also responsible for hormonal regulation, healthy joints and vision. A healthy wood element is best represented by bamboo. Bamboo is strong yet flexible and thrives in a wide variety of environments. When the wood element is out of balance there can be resistance to change, frustration, depression and physical symptoms such as headaches, joint problems, depression, irritability, menstrual disturbances and insomnia.
At Union Center for Healing, we provide care for all stages of life. For adolescents, we offer treatments that can ease the passage between childhood and adulthood. We are an inclusive center that serves the needs of all communities and values the uniqueness of each individual. For tweens, we offer a special welcome package on their first visit. It includes a journal that can be used to write down their feelings and keep track of their symptoms. We also give our tweens a clearing essential oil spray formulated by energetic healer and herbalist Suzanne Ragen. This spray can be used in their room to clear energy and focus the mind. We also provide customized dietary and lifestyle recommendations based on the principles of Chinese Medicine. If you know a tween who could benefit, you can contact us at info@unioncenterforhealing. com