Over the last year I have had the amazing opportunity to learn from Julian Scott who is an expert in the field of paediatrics. Julian Scott specialises in treating children and eye conditions in the United Kingdom. He also wrote the first book in English on the treatment of children with acupuncture and dietary advice following his paediatric training in China.
Paediatric Needle-Free Acupuncture for the Treatment of Children
A lot of people are quite surprised at the number of ailments that acupuncture can successfully treat. The one area of treatment, however, that elicits the greatest surprise is when we inform people that we can treat infants and children with acupuncture.
Throughout acupuncture’s history, it has been applied to children as part of their healthcare regime. Traditionally, however, this treatment has been a modified version of ‘adult’ acupuncture, but still required needles to be inserted into the skin of the children. And yes, this did cause the children discomfort and distress. The attitude was, much like our western medical application of injections for children, that the discomfort was something that needed to be endured, because the treatment is necessary. Today, conventional acupuncture education doesn’t cover paediatric acupuncture in great detail. Again, it is taught as a slightly gentler application of adult acupuncture. As a result of this, a lot of acupuncturists in practice choose not to treat children, as most of us are quite averse to causing children any distress.
Shonishin: Japanese Paediatric Acupuncture Treatment
This technique is called “Shonishin” and it was developed out of the extremely refined Japanese Acupuncture traditions. Using a variety of specialised tools and techniques, the Shonishin method stimulates the acupoints and meridians using rubbing, tapping and pressing methods on the surface of the body. No needles are stuck into the children, and they generally find the treatment very relaxing and fun, as no pain or discomfort is felt.
According to Chinese Medical theory, infants and children are considered to be extremely ‘yang’ in nature, possessing a huge amount of active, vital Qi, which is what is fuelling their rapid growth and development. Because they are so vital, children have the capacity to heal very quickly and effectively. Likewise, any parent knows, that this vigour can also mean that they can fall sick, and deteriorate at a rapid rate also. It is this amazing vitality that means that the treatment stimuli required to elicit therapeutic change in their systems need only be very subtle, compared with what is required for adults. Therefore, the Japanese masters, in the early part of the 20th century, began to develop and formalise the Shonishin method of pediatric acupuncture, recognising that not only were the gentle techniques used favoured by children but that this was all the stimulus their systems required to be corrected and returned to health.
Some of the childhood ailments that Shonishin may assist with:
One of the real gems of Shonishin treatment is that parents have access to a preventative treatment regime for their children that will aim to keep them in good health and wellness. One of the more common complaints parents bring their children to our clinic for is recurrent colds, particularly throughout winter. Some children with compromised immune systems will tend to bounce from one cold to the next, continually being exposed to ‘bugs’ at childcare, kinder and school. Shonishin has proven time and again that it is a fantastic treatment option to help strengthen and maintain a child’s immune system, and stop the ‘colds & flu merry-go-round’.
One of the most common issues faced by children relate to their digestive health. Often it is common problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, stomach pain or vomiting. Children generally fall into a few specific types when their digestive health is compromised. The most common two are what we would refer to as an ‘excess’ pattern or a ‘deficient’ pattern. The