Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Children
There is a rapidly growing population using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Alternative Therapies in Australia for a myriad of health conditions.
However, most people do not know that TCM can benefit their children as well. There are many questions we receive from concerned parents for this type of treatment.
* Is Acupuncture safe for my children?
* Can TCM still help if my child has a needle phobia?
* What conditions can TCM help?
* How many treatments does my child need?
Acupuncture is a safe and highly regulated form of therapy in Australia. It can be performed on children of all ages, as young as a few months old. Acupuncture is often used in TCM treatments for Paediatric health conditions; however, it is not the only treatment method we use.
Acupuncture for children is a very gentle painless procedure, which feels like a mosquito bite, or sometimes feels like nothing at all. For most babies and toddlers, it will be a simple quick insertion and removal of needles, so the parents do not need to worry about their children not being able to stay still.
For older children, the needle will be retained for a short period time. Unlike adults, children generally respond to the treatment faster as their body is like a fuel tank and is in the state of constant growing and changing. Most children will be reluctant to receive acupuncture at the start, however, once a relationship and trust is established between them and the practitioner, they generally will open to it. The key is never to force them.
Chinese medicine also provides other treatment methods that do not involve needles. This includes:
* Paediatric massage
* Moxibustion – a non-invasive TCM technique that involves the burning of herbal mugwort (Artemisia argyi), to facilitate healing
* Chinese herbal medicine in different formulations such as liquid or powder for oral administration, herbal creams, or herbal baths
* Non invasive pellets to stick on acupuncture points
* Diet and lifestyle advice for children and/or parents.
Usually more than one method, but not all will be used in a single treatment.
Treatment methods used and the number of treatments required will differ between children. We will make a comprehensive diagnosis and prescribe individualized treatment that is best for their condition(s).
We strongly believe that every child is different and unique; therefore a customized treatment tailored to each individual is essential to achieve an optimal health outcome.
* Digestive Issues – Colic, Reflux, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Wind, Poor Appetite
* Respiratory Issues – Asthma, Cough, Runny Nose, Tonsillitis, Glandular Fever
* Low Immunity – Recurrent cold &amp; flu or infections
* Skin Conditions – Eczema, Nappy Rash, Warts, Chicken Pox, Molluscum Contagiosum
* Sleep Issues – Bed wetting, nightmares, difficulty falling or staying asleep, fatigue
* Behaviour / Emotional Disorders – ADHD/ADD, autism, hyperactivity, anxiety, stress or low mood
* Delayed Development – underweight, malnutrition, delayed growth physically and mentally
* Neurological Disorders – cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis
* Aches and Pains – teething pain, headaches, earache, muscles or joint pain, strains
Traditional Chinese medicine approaches health matters for your little ones in a safe and natural manner that is effective with little or no adverse effects. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries or would like to make an appointment for your children with us.
Chinese Medicine and Food Intolerances
According to Chinese Medicine Theory, in order to have good health you must have sufficient Qi (energy) and your body’s internal organs must be balanced and work in harmony with each other.
Chinese medicine views food allergies and intolerances as a result of Spleen, Stomach, Liver, Large Intestine and Lung imbalances.
Most food allergies are not actually allergies to food, rather food intolerances. Food intolerances arise when the organs become imbalanced and weakened and can no longer carry out their function in the digestive system.
A weakened digestive system fails to digest particular foods resulting in uncomfortable signs and symptoms such as the following:
* Abdominal pain / distention
* Bloating / Gas
* Constipation / Diarrhoea / Both
* Decreased or increased appetite
* Nausea and vomiting
* Floating, foul smelling, bloody or mucus stools, undigested food in stools
* Bone and joint pain / Osteoporosis
* Weight loss/ Weight Gain
* Depression / Anxiety
* Food cravings
* Hair loss
* Muscles cramps / Bruising
* Nose and gum bleeds / Mouth Ulcers
* Skin disorders / rashes
* Malnutrition / Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
* Frequent urination
* Sinus and nasal problems
* Heart palpitations
* Headaches / Migraines
* Fluid Retention
* Yeast infections, Thrush
* Lactose / Fructose / Gluten Intolerances
Western medicine offers no solution to food allergies or intolerances. People suffering from these symptoms are often told there is no treatment and to simply “maintain” the condition by avoiding foods that cause any illness or discomfort.
Chinese medicine cannot cure food allergies (as true allergies create antigens in the blood) but can often cure food intolerances. Food intolerances in accordance to Chinese Medicine theory is due to what is called a “Spleen Deficiency.” This refers to a weakness in the Spleen’s energy, rather than the organ itself.
Treatment In treating Food Intolerances, a combination of acupuncture, customized herbal medicine and food therapy is often used.
The number of treatments and length of therapy that a patient may receive is based on the patient’s health, age and severity and longevity of the condition.
Chinese Medicine Weight Loss Tips
1. Drink room temperature and warm drinks in small amounts throughout the day. Avoid drinking cold drinks. Too much water is not good for weight loss. It further weakens the digestive system, inhibiting weight loss. Listen to your body and observe how much you need to drink. Drink only when you are thirsty (if you are never thirsty, make a conscious effort to drink water) and monitor your urine output. More than 12 times a day is generally too much.
2. Avoid sweet and greasy foods Sweet and greasy foods will weaken the spleen and produce more ‘damp’ and ‘phlegm’
3. Cook your food when possible. Eating cold and raw foods weaken the spleen and digestive system. Raw foods in Chinese medicine are considered ‘cold’ natured foods, which weakens the digestive system. When the digestive system is weak, it requires foods to be cooked and easy to digest. Raw foods can be very good for you, but when your digestion is weak, it may not have the energy required to break down a large salad, leaving you bloated and tired.
4. Eat your largest meal between 7 and 11am This period of time on the Chinese clock corresponds to the Spleen and Stomach, which is the time when your digestion is the strongest. Have a nutritious lunch and eat an early light dinner.
5. Eat until you are 80% full This will reduce over eating and avoid bloating and digestive problems. Do not eat in front of the TV or whilst reading, as you may get distracted and over eat. Eat slowly and mindfully. Take the time to enjoy flavours and sensations, as this helps you feel more satisfied.
6. Get active Exercise for a minimum of half an hour every day. This will assist with weight loss and tone up muscle.
7. Set realistic weight loss goals and follow them through.
8. Eat foods that are full of Qi and natural life energy Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and organic meat. Avoid foods that are refined, processed and packaged and filled with artificial chemicals. They may be low in calories, but also low in nutrition.
9. Sleep early Go to bed by 10:30pm to allow the liver and other organs to fully detoxify the body. The liver cleans the blood between 1-3am and you must be in a deep sleep before 1am to get the full benefits. Sufficient rest is important for a healthy metabolism.
Chinese Medicine and Weight Loss
In Chinese Medicine, good health consists of the body’s systems working in harmony in accordance to the individual’s constitution. If all is working well, there will not an issue with weight.
Chinese Medicine takes a holistic approach to weight conditions by focusing on the underlying changes in the body. Weight regulation in Chinese medicine doesn’t involve calorie intake and expenditure. It focuses on restoring, channelling and sustaining the body’s Qi.
Restoring Qi raises the metabolism and provides the body with an in invigorating feeling of well-being. When the Qi in the digestive system is strong, the body works at its optimum to transform and transport the food you ingest into energy you can use.
Excessive stress, inadequate sleep and poor eating habits weaken the Qi. Prolonged stress and sleep deprivation raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes the body to store fat, rather than burn it.
In Chinese Medicine, the underlying treatment principles for weight loss are:
1. Harmonize the stomach and promote fat digestion Overconsumption of greasy, sweet and friend foods are difficult for the stomach to digest, causing them to be retained. Chinese medicine and acupuncture work to promote the secretion of digestive fluids and help the digestion of fatty materials in the stomach.
2. Activate blood circulation and remove any blockages Activating blood flow and removing blockages assist in lowering lipid content in the blood and slows down the sclerosis process (hardening of the blood vessels).
3. Remove blockages in the Liver and Gallbladder The liver plays an important role in Qi circulation, as well as the enhancement of blood flow and food digestion. The gallbladder secrets bile and aids in digestion. Proper functioning of the Liver and Gallbladder is essential to break down fat.
4. Relieve chest congestion and eliminate phlegm Fatty tissue is considered turbid phlegm in Chinese Medicine. The excessive phlegm associated with excess weight leads to difficulty breathing and shortness of breath during exercise, chest oppression and dizziness. Chinese medicine and acupuncture enhance the function of the lungs to disseminate the accumulate phlegm.
5. Induce purgation by promoting bowel movements Excessive weight or obesity fathers too much fatty tissue and waste build up. The large intestine usually under functions and causes constipation. Regular bowel movements reinforce excretion and eliminate the body’s waste.
6. Induce diuresis (excretion of urine) and eliminate dampness (Note: Dampness is a Chinese medicine term referring to all liquids and oils not adequately metabolized in the body) Weight conditions normally involve some sort of fluid retention, whether it is swollen eyelids, retention of fluid in the tissues, obesity or other conditions. Inducing diuresis is a direct way to eliminate excessive dampness.
7. Regulate emotions and sleep The emotional and mental state of an individual plays a large role in weight issues. By regulating the emotions and the body’s ability to cope with stress, emotional and habitual eating habits can be addressed. Addressing sleep issues will also facilitate in weight loss, as the body is getting sufficient rest to detox and function.
Chinese Medicine & Excess Fat
The Spleen is said to be at the root of all phlegm production. The Spleen in Chinese medicine theory controls the digestive system. It controls the transportation and transformation of all the food and body fluids.
If the Spleen becomes weak, the digestive system becomes weak and begins to dysfunction. It can no longer move and transform food and waste fluids, resulting in the wastes to gather, collect and transform into ‘damp’. If the accumulate damp is left untreated over time, it will congeal into phlegm and become fat tissue. This means no matter how well or how much a person eats, they are left feeling tired, sluggish and usually hungry as the body is not absorbing nutrition from food, which makes weight loss hard.
Treatment Treatment for weight loss may vary as the body continually changes and requires different forms of treatment in the course of a disease or illness. A combination of Acupuncture customized herbal medicine, moxibustion, ear and electro acupuncture, dietary, exercise and lifestyle adjustments may be used.
Besides the individuals physical state; sex, age, lifestyle patterns, geographic location, emotions, past medical and family histories are all taken into account when a treatment plan is created.
Chinese medicine treats the underlying cause of the weight issue, resulting in permanent weight loss. When the body is in balance, the metabolism will process food properly and excess weight should come off provided the right foods are eaten in moderate portions.
Chinese Medicine and Fertility
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been treating both female and male infertility conditions for over 2000 years. It aims to restore harmony in the body by clearing any Qi and Blood blockages in the body’s channels, and balancing hormones which may be at the root of the cause.
With fertility issues on the rise in the last 25 years, more and more couples are seeking alternative methods to conceive. Recent research shows that acupuncture on its own can increase the pregnancy rates of people using / not using IVF by up to 40%.
There have been many cases of patients who have tried IVF several times and were unsuccessful, and have become pregnant after Chinese Medicine treatment.
In females, Chinese Medicine may improve fertility and assist with conception by:
* Regulating hormone function to produce more follicles
* Improving ovarian function to produce better quality eggs
* Decreasing levels of stress that can affect a woman’s ability to ovulate and conceive
* Increase blood flow to the uterus
* Increase the thickness of the uterine lining
* Prevent the uterus from contracting
* Decrease risk of miscarriage
* Strengthen the immune system
* Offsets side effects of drugs used in hormone therapies and IVF
* Regulating menstrual cycles and FSH levels
* Alleviating symptoms of endometriosis, fibroids, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Adenomyosis
* Improve sperm quality
* Improve sperm count
* Stimulate blood flow to reproductive organs
* Reduce physical stress levels
* Increase motility (forward movement) and morphology (shape) of sperm
Treatment Treatment of Infertility includes acupuncture, customized herbal medicine, diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments. For women, the initial stage of treatment involves regulating the menstruation cycle, clearing any congestion in the pelvic cavity, and any underlying conditions (hormone imbalances, Fibroids, PCOS, Endometriosis, emotions etc). The number of treatments and length of therapy that a patient may receive is based on the patient’s health, age, genetic factors, and severity and longevity of the condition.
I am currently on medication, should I stop taking them?
According to Chinese Medicine Theory “where there is blockage, there is pain.” Most pain conditions arise as a result of a blockage of Qi and Blood in the body’s channels.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is extremely effective in relieving the suffering and discomfort of acute and chronic pain conditions.
It creates short pain relief by stimulating blood flow to release natural opiates and serotonin in the body and creating electrical impulses which inhibit pain. It also encourages long term healing and repair by increasing blood circulation to allow the body to heal itself and to nourish tendons and ligaments.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine also aims to:
* Reduce inflammation
* Relax the muscles
* Increase tissue healing
* Break up scar tissue
* Improve the ability to deal with pain
* Regulate emotions
* Speed up the recovery process of any injuries, sprains or tears
* Reduce dependency of pain killers and other medications
* Increase the ability to perform everyday functions
* Enhance the quality of life
* Prepare for and recover from surgery
The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize Acupuncture’s ability to treat over 30 diseases including the following:
* Headaches and migraine
* Peripheral neuropathies
* Sciatica and lower back pain
* Neck Pain
* Frozen Shoulder and Tennis Elbow
* Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
* Dental pain
* Tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Post operative pain
* Trigeminal Neuralgia
* Cervicobrachial syndrome
* Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Stress Injury
Treatment In treating Pain conditions a combination of acupuncture, electro acupuncture, customized herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping and massage is used. The number of treatments and length of therapy that a patient may receive is based on the patient’s health, age and severity and longevity of the condition.