By Megan Dettloff-Meyer, MSOM, L.Ac.
With October being Children's Health month and October 24th Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Awareness Day, the timing seems perfect for us at Origins Acupuncture and Wellness to embark on our mission to raise awareness and accessibility of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for pediatric patients. When people think Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture needles come to mind, and most parents don’t usually think of subjecting their young child to this form of treatment! We have so many other tools to use. We rarely use needles on kids under 5 or 6, and after that it’s up to them and the parents if they want needles or not. I’ve had 2 year olds insist on having acupuncture needles as part of their treatment and loved it! This article is intended to provide information on Traditional Chinese Medicine tools used for pediatric treatment and demystify Chinese Medicine a bit.
Some of our favorite tools for pediatric patients are: acupressure, tui na massage, cold laser therapy, therapeutic grade essential oils, herbal and dietary therapy based on Chinese Medicine principles and patterns of disharmony, and trace element hair analysis.
Chinese Herbs: Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal therapy has been in use and documented for over 2,500 years. Properties of the herbs and the patient’s pattern of disharmony guide formula selection. Pediatric formulas are prepared as vegetable glycerin based tinctures which are very palatable for all patients.
Dietary Therapy: In Chinese Medicine, food is the first medicine and establishes our foundation of health (or lack thereof). We educate our patients on foods to eat and avoid based on the little one’s TCM pattern.
Trace Element Hair Analysis: Trace Elements is a certified lab in Texas that tests the mineral profile of hair. A hair sample is taken and sent to the lab for analysis. The lab report shows the patient’s mineral profile, points out imbalances, and provides dietary and supplement recommendations to balance mineral profiles. Minerals are essential building blocks for our bodies and need to be in proper balance for all systems to function properly. Our minerals serve as keys to the endocrine system in a sense. Each endocrine gland has a mineral at the core initiating proper function for that gland. Or it doesn't have that mineral, in which case it isn't operating optimally. For the thyroid it's Iodine, the thymus it's Zinc, the testes and ovaries it's Manganese, for the parathyroid it's Calcium, the adrenals it's Potassium. An issue with any of of those glands could simply be the result of a mineral deficiency or imbalance. Many people can actually be causing further imbalances by the supplements they are taking daily.
Infants are born with weak Lung, Spleen, and Kidney Qi and if not properly fed and supplemented (if needed), that imbalance leads to further patterns of disharmony (excess in the Heart, Liver, and Stomach meridians). If they don’t get the adequate Qi boost they need through diet (or other Qi supplementing modalities) as children they may deal with greater issues in the future, such as: asthma, digestive issues, ADD & ADHD, bed-wetting, weak immune systems, skeletal disorders, sleep disturbance, emotional upset, the list goes on and on....Incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine into the lives of your child and family is an investment for a healthier future!