And Children Too!

Children are very receptive to the effects of treatment, and mostly do not require needles at all! There are a variety of ways to help a child feel better with Chinese Medicine.


Shonishin is actually a Japanese technique, that makes use of small, hand-made, metal tools that look like a rake or a comb. They are used to brush, rub or tap on the child’s arms, legs, back and tummy. The sensation is quite soft, and most children take to it very quickly. Small children of course love to “help” by taking a tool and tapping on some points themselves.

I may also choose to incorporate moxa, which entails warming a couple of the points. The child is always in charge, and is asked to tell me when things are too warm, or too “pokey”.


Tui Na is a method of rubbing points on the hands, feet, legs or belly. Tui Na is a wonderful adjunct, and often the parents are shown the technique and sent home with handouts that they can do at home for follow-up.

How to Get the Most Out of Shonishin Treatments

  • Shonishin treatments work best when offered at the very first onset of symptoms, but can be effective in more chronic cases as well.
  • Treatments usually only last about 10-15 minutes, but your appointment might be longer to give your child time to settle into the new environment, and allow the practitioner time to get to know you and give you added advice.
  • When your child is suffering from an acute condition, your practitioner might recommend that you come in more frequently until the condition passes.

For more chronic conditions and for preventative purposes it is usually recommended that you come in once or twice a week over a longer period of time.

What to Expect When You Come in for a Shonishin Treatment

Caregivers are encouraged to be present with the child to provide comfort and support during the treatment, as an integral part of the child’s healing process.

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Coughs
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Fever
  • Digestive disorders such as colic, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Bed wetting
  • Sleep disorders
  • Failure to thrive
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Pediatric pain

Understanding Chinese Medical Theory in Pediatrics

According to Chinese Medical theory, infants and children are considered to be extremely “yang” in nature, meaning they possess a huge amount of active, vital Qi (energy).

This energy is what fuels their rapid growth and development, as well as their ability to heal very quickly and effectively.

Likewise, as any caregiver knows, this vigor also can mean that young people become ill more quickly and their health can deteriorate at a rapid rate.

Because their energy is so strong and at the surface, children and babies respond very well to treatments that appear to be much more subtle as compared with what is required for many adults.

In other words, it might not look like a lot is happening, but when it comes to treating kids and babies, because their systems are prone to change so quickly, less is actually more.

In fact, young people are much more likely to being over-treated than adults, leading to more negative symptoms.

That’s why finding an experienced shonishin provider is key.