Acupuncture is well-tolerated even by young children, who find that it doesn’t hurt and in fact makes them feel better! Kids are often fascinated by acupuncture and our non-needle treatments and participate in good spirits. We have treated children as young as 5 years with regular acupuncture with good results.
For younger or more sensitive children, Shonishin pediatric acupuncture is a technique that uses specialized, rounded tools, rather than needles. It was developed specifically for infants and children up to the age of seven.
Shonishin has been used with success in treating infants and children with a wide variety of conditions, including colic, indigestion, GERD, constipation, and diarrhea. It has shown some success in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), allergies, asthma, eczema, hives, bedwetting, and stuttering. Children as young as one month old can be treated.
The practitioner rhythmically strokes, rubs, taps and presses the skin to produce a variety of gentle stimulation sensations. Sometimes a press sphere–a tiny stainless steel ball–is taped in place and left for a few hours to stimulate an acupuncture point.
Shonishin is administered quickly, usually in 20-30 minutes, and is typically performed with the child clothed or just wearing a diaper. The technique is most effective when given several times per week until the symptoms are alleviated. Once the primary health concern is addressed, treatments may continue to prevent recurrence.
While initial treatments are administered only by skilled acupuncturists, many procedures can be performed by the child’s parents at home (a silver teaspoon makes an ideal home-based Shonishin tool). The techniques are quickly and easily learned, allowing parents to perform daily treatments between visits.
Regardless of treatment of whether we use regular acupuncture or Shonishin, we frequently develop a kind and gentle rapport with our young patients. Regular home-based Shonishin treatments can help strengthen the parent-child relationship. Regular daily preventative massage done by parents will increase circulation of qi and blood, and strengthen the child’s immune system. The soothing, relaxing massage can also improve sleeping and eating habits.