Children & babies

Chinese medicine has so much to offer parents and their babies, children and teens.

In the case of illness, there are self-help home remedies and/or in-clinic help for  childhood and teen health issues such as:

  • ear infections
  • glue ear
  • eczema (1,2)
  • autism spectrum disorder (3)
  • headache and migraine (4)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (4)
  • paediatric fibromyalgia (4)
  • dysmenorrhoea (period pain) (4)
  • asthma (5,6)
  • allergic rhinitis (hayfever) (7)
  • sleep, anxiety, depression, stress (4, 8)
  • upper respiratory tract infections (eg cold, flu, fever, cough) (9)
  • bed wetting (10)
  • behaviour and attention problems (11)
  • and other common problems

Raising children with Chinese medicine knowledge

Chinese medicine also offers a great system for looking after your child with what I sometimes call “grandparent wisdom”, which is the way we used to care for ourselves and our children before we had modern technology and chemical medicine.  It focuses on preventing illness, and also building the potential of each person to become strong and resilient.


Keeping children well and preventing illness

There are also fantastic wellness treatments that pick up blockages and imbalances just as they are starting to show, and clearing these problems away so the child’s energy can flow freely and release their vital energy to grow, learn and develop.


Other therapies

Sometimes I like to refer parents to do other treatments alongside Chinese medicine – such as osteopathy, craniosacral, naturopathy, homeopathy or chiropractic etc.  The combined effect of these therapies can be really powerful. If you are already using other forms of natural medicine for your children then please feel free to come along and see how Chinese medicine can help you round out these other approaches.


Letting the child’s “natural self” shine through

I am really passionate about natural medicine for kids, because I have seen what can happen when a child is struggling with a health issue and is then given the right natural approach.  They flourish and thrive, becoming who they really are – rather than being weighed down by the struggle of their illness.  It can be a such a source of joy for parents to realise that they have their child back – meaning their real personality is shining through again.


Chinese medicine and your GP

I see Chinese medicine as “Complementary Medicine”, not “Alternative Medicine”.

What does that mean?  “Complementary” means it goes alongside, it fills in the gaps and it has strengths that balance the weaknesses of Western medicine.  It is not an “alternative” to Western medicine, meaning it is not supposed to replace Western medicine.

Every parent is well advised to have a trustworthy GP that they can turn to for advice (and often simply reassurance).  Having said all that, it can be quite empowering for you, as a parent, to realise that there are also lots of home-care, common-sense and natural ways for you to care for your child’s health.


Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture for children is considered safe when given by practitioners with appropriate training and skill.


Learning more for your whole family’s health

You might just want to bring your child in to get a certain problem “fixed up” and that’s OK.  But there’s a lot I can offer the parent who wants to know more, who would like to be more confident to turn to gentle, natural remedies first.

I love supporting parents in this process, and it truly doesn’t matter where you start in this journey.  Some parents come to the clinic with lots of knowledge and experience in natural medicine, and others have none.  Actually, a lot of the time parents know more than they realise, they’ve just never had the chance to explore it with someone and to gain reassurance.

Wherever you begin, that’s the right place for you.  I will support you as you go through the process of learning, as you gradually gain confidence to move into new territory and see that yes, there really is a lot you can do for your child using these ideas and remedies.



Treatments for childhood illnesses

Chinese medicine offers much for range of childhood illnesses such as ear infections, glue ear, upper respiratory tract infections, eczema, bed wetting, attention and behaviour issues and so on.  Please feel free to call or email me if you’d like to talk about your child’s condition.

The strength of Chinese medicine is that we view the body in a very different way from Western medicine, so our way of picking up problems and diagnosing disease is different, and then of course the treatments are different too.

I use a range of treatments and I adapt them to suit each child, each time they come to the clinic.


Sho Ni Shin – this is a gentle no-needle Japanese technique to open up and clear the energy pathways, drawing out unhealthy energy and nourishing good energy.  A full Sho Ni Shin treatment can take 15-20 minutes, but I do a shorter version depending on the attention span and needs of the child, focusing on the areas that need it most.  Luckily, when it comes to treating children we say “Less Is More” – which means babies and little ones just need the smallest of instruction and their bodies respond so well to this.


Qi Gong – this is Chinese energy medicine, similar in some ways to Reiki.  Children love receiving Qi Gong treatment – they are usually very open to it and they find it relaxing and nurturing.


Acupuncture – I can use Acupuncture two ways – one is holding the needle just above, or resting on the skin, while directing the energy using Qi Gong techniques.  The second way is to use standard acupuncture with the needle passing through the skin. Some parents may be wary of using this form of acupuncture for children, but rest assured most kids are absolutely fine with it and barely even notice it’s happening!  The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they are, and the easier it is.

Sometimes the standard acupuncture therapy is really the right treatment that day and will bring the quickest results.  I always work with the sensitivity of the individual child.

The length of treatment depends on the child and their age.  Acupuncture for babies is quick – just really touching on each point and only using around 2 or 3 acupuncture points.  Wriggly toddlers are the same – just in and out, either while they sit on your lap or playing with toys.  From about the age of five or six, they are often OK to lie on the massage table for an adult-style treatment, but still only for a few minutes.  The older the child, the longer the session, but always in accordance with the child’s temperament.


Chinese Herbal Medicine – Herbalism is a stand-alone therapy in China, and this is often the case in the West as well, particularly for kids.  Sometimes herbal medicine is the best approach for the child, and other times it’s best used with one of the therapies above.

Herbs usually come in a sweetened form (many brands use stevia leaf to sweeten) either as liquids or water-soluble granules.  Most kids are fine to take them in that form, but you can mix it with apple sauce, juice etc if necessary. I often prescribe raw herbs which are cooked into a tea and sweetened with honey.

I also like to use external application of herbal creams and ointments for various childhood complaints such as glue ear or eczema. Other forms of herbs include ear drops or herbal powder puffers for sore throats.

The benefit of Chinese Herbal Medicine is that the child is receiving treatment every day, and this is a great way to keep them going between visits. Also, it’s handy to have herbs at home to reach for in times of illness – natural medicine that aims to control the symptoms and treat the cause at the same time.

Modern scientific studies have shown Chinese Herbs to have various ingredients that are antibiotic, antiviral, antiinflammatory and so on.  So although they are natural and use whole plant parts, they are also active medicines.



Treatments for wellness and vitality and preventing illness

The wellness approach is where you can really benefit from the strength of Chinese medicine to sustain the good effects of your “illness treatments”, to build upon the good effects of the treatments to nurture and foster the vitality and resiliance that will allow your child to thrive towards their unique potential.

The child who was “always sick” gradually becomes sick less often, and finally they are a child who looks really well – vibrant, curious, adventurous and resilient.

For children who are already in good health, the wellness approach helps to keep their vital energy tanks topped up so that they can bounce back well from illness and have plenty of energy to learn, develop and play.


Education and workshops

During the clinic visit

I love to educate parents during the clinic visit, because you’ve often got a question that’s become relevant to you at that time.  That is when you’re most open to hearing the Chinese medicine view, and deciding how you might apply it to your own situation.  I do give general pointers about digestion and so on, as it’s so central to kids’ health.  But to be honest, the ideas usually stick and you get your “aha” moments when you’ve got a problem and you see how the Chinese medicine way applies to you and your child.

An important part of education is helping you talk to other people about what you’re doing (mothers group, friends, family, in-laws…).  Funnily enough, I see so many parents who have very little trouble adapting new routines and approaches into their own family’s routines, but if they come up across negative comments, well-meaning advice or raised eyebrows they have no words to describe what they’re doing.  It can be pretty confronting and can undermine their confidence.  So part of education is simply helping you to find the words to communicate that you’re OK with what you’re doing, and to give a simple explanation if asked.



Workshops are an ideal way to get some background information about the hows and whys of Chinese medicine for kids, being a “natural parent” and what that means for you, the basic aim of Chinese medicine in relation to your child’s health, how to do acupressure, lots of simple ideas about diet and digestion (the heart of childhood imbalances), and a few “kitchen-cupboard remedies” for basic childhood health issues.  My wish is that you will come away with a better understanding of what you can do as a parent, what you can expect from a health practitioner (complementary or Western), and the confidence to engage with natural medicine ideas – wherever you are right now.


For further information

Please email me if you’d like to go on the contact list to receive updates about the workshops and other news regarding kids’ health.

Please call or email me if you have any questions about Chinese medicine and your child.



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