The practitioners at Six Fishes welcome babies and children, including newborn infants. In Chinese Medical theory, as soon as an infant is born, with the very first breath, postnatal energy (Qi) is created. It combines with the Prenatal Qi that is received from the parents to nourish the infant’s health for the rest of their lives. Newborn infants can get massaged as soon as they’re born!
Infants and young children have very delicate energy that circulates just below the skin. Because of this, needle insertion is not necessary to achieve the desired effect. In fact, in some cases, it may be too strong an approach. Tui-na and other massage techniques, along with Japanese Shoni-shin treatment, are ways to treat children without needles.
Shoni-shin is a Japanese, mostly non-invasive needleless treatment for children. Sho means little; Ni means children, and shin means needle. Small tools are brushed along acupuncture pathways to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. Shonishin is so gentle that most children find it comfortable and even pleasurable. Results are frequently obtained even with very light treatment.
In a word: no. Children are not “little adults.” Each child is unique. we honor their health by balancing their constitutions
In general, we base the treatment of infants and children on an appreciation that their Qi is more delicate. We use light stimulation for babies, sometimes just taping a needle on the surface of the skin with no insertion at all! Kids tend to produce more phlegm, they spike fevers more quickly, and they become upset more easily. The heart of all TCM treatment for children lies in strengthening their digestion. When children’s metabolism is robust, good health follows.
They absolutely can. We treat children of all ages with herbs. We have even treat infants. Just as treating children with acupuncture has its own set of guidelines, so does herbal treatment. First, we reduce the dose to match the child’s weight, and then the formula is carefully constructed to protect the child’s digestion. Once the child can swallow pills, we can give them that way too!
There are two keys to giving herb successfully: the first key is to hide the herbs in a new juice. Don’t use a familiar juice. We generally discourage children from drink juice; however, it does make a convenient herbal delivery system.
The second key to success lies in the attitude of the parent/caregiver: Be upbeat about it! Herbs are wonderful for kids. Founder Cara Frank’s children have both taken herbs since they were babies. How? By having an easy-breezy attitude about the bad taste. This method works for adults too! Just say, yes, they taste yucky, but you’ll feel better soon. No big deal! The more aligned the parent/caregiver is about taking herbs, the more the child will comply with little or no fuss. Take your herbs with your child in a show of solidarity!