Many parents would be well acquainted with the likes of antibiotics, cough syrups, fever and cold medicine. However, for children who frequently require medication for coughs, allergies and digestive ailments, there is always the fear that they might overdose their kids.
Children are now starting pre-school education at an earlier age, before their immune systems have fully developed. Placed in new environments with potential sources of infectious bacteria they have yet to be exposed to could result in children falling sick more often. Their weak immune systems may also cause periods of prolonged illness.
So, some parents hunt for safe, natural remedies that are effective for children. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one such alternative that has been growing in popularity with younger parents. Aside from providing herbal medication and other non-invasive treatments, TCM also boosts children’s immune systems and encourages overall wellness.
Healthy energy, or ‘Qi’ as it is known in TCM, refers to the body’s natural resistance against diseases or the body’s vital functions. TCM views children’s body constitutions as delicate as their organs are still developing, which renders them vulnerable to falling sick. Although they are susceptible to contracting and transmitting diseases, children recover rapidly and respond well to TCM treatments because of their dynamic physiology. Following a consultation using TCM techniques such as observing, hearing and smelling, physicians can tailor a treatment plan that works best for the child’s condition. Apart from TCM massage, or Xiao Er Tui Na, Chinese herbal medicine may be prescribed and dietary changes recommended.
TCM massage for children (Xiao Er Tui Na)
TCM massage for children, also known as Xiao Er Tui Na, aims to promote health and well-being without the need for medication. It is an ancient technique which involves stimulating unique acu-points to regulate energy flow within the meridians to improve natural organ functions.
Effects of Xiao Er Tui Na
- Enhances bodily functions
Clinical research has proven that the TCM acu-points and meridian lines can balance ‘Qi’ and ‘Blood’ (气血) circulation in the human body. Such acu-points and meridians also play a vital role in regulating the ‘Ying’ and ‘Yang’ (阴阳) elements in our body. Massaging these acu-points along the corresponding meridian lines can enhance children’s immunity systems, as well as regulate the body as a whole to bring about overall wellness.
- Mitigates pain and alleviates discomfort
Xiao Er Tui Na can ease any pain and discomfort the child is experiencing. This is done through using massage techniques that target relevant related organs, i.e. the lungs, kidney, liver, heart and spleen, for therapeutic effects on the child. Its healing benefits apply to a wide range of illnesses including flu, asthma, constipation and colic.
- Boosts physical resistance against illnesses
Xiao Er Tui Na builds up children’s resistance against diseases. Through the therapeutic actions on the acu-points along the meridians, the child’s ‘Qi’ and ‘Blood’ flow are regulated to optimal levels. This balance is vital to achieving overall wellness – it also has the effect of preventing the illnesses from worsening.
Xiao Er Tui Na at home
Parents are encouraged to give their child a TCM massage at home. In a simple Xiao Er Tui Na technique (shown in the picture below), the child lies face down, while you use your fingertips to massage along the baby’s spine, working from the lower tailbone up to the neck area.
In addition to Xiao Er Tui Na, TCM also prescribes Chinese medicine to strengthen children’s immune system. These medicines are very mild, and suitable for children – common ingredients in TCM herbal soups include huang qi (黄芪)，dang shen (党参)，bai shu (白术)，fu lin (茯苓) and huang jing (黄精).
TCM Xiao Er Tui Na treatment is suitable for children from six months to six years. Oral Chinese medication is prescribed to children aged two years and above. Thomson Medical TCM physicians can provide an external herbal pack for children who do not like the taste of herbal medication.
4 simple ways to boost children’s immunity
- Take it warm Do not drink and eat cold food or beverages.
- Have a balanced diet Children who are picky eaters may lack nutrients which are essential to the body’s growth and development.
- Rest Have ample rest.
- Be active Participate in moderate outdoor activities.