Children &






TCM and Children


According to TCM, children are not just considered miniature adults but they are also believed to be immature both physically and functionally. Most common pediatric complaints are due to this immaturity. Chinese medicine states that because children’s bodies are immature and therefore inherently weak, they are susceptible to diseases that affect the lungs such as colds, coughs, allergies and asthma and the spleen (or digestive complaints) such as colic, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach aches. Furthermore, TCM doctors discovered that there is a close relationship between the lungs and spleen. For example, in clinical practice it is common for respiratory problems to either begin or be aggravated by faulty digestion due to an improper diet. Another observation pediatric specialists noted was those children easily and quickly return to health when the root of their illness is addressed.


Digestion and Diet – The Key to Most Childhood Health problems


In TCM, the digestion is comprised of the spleen and stomach. There is a statement of fact in Chinese medicine that the “children’s spleen is insufficient”. This statement particularly applies to children younger than 6 years of age because this is the average age a person’s digestion matures. The immature digestion combined with an improper diet accounts for the most commonly encountered pediatric complaints including: colic, ear infections, eczema, cough, swollen glands, allergies and asthma.


In summary, most of the commonly encountered pediatric diseases are either:


  1. Upper respiratory complaints such as cough, common cold, asthma and allergies which are indications of phlegm in the lungs or
  2. Digestive tract complaints such as colic, diarrhea, stomachaches and vomiting which are caused by a weak digestion.


Children’s Health Problems that TCM can Treat Effectively


  1. Asthma
  2. Cough
  3. Eczema and other skin problems
  4. Bedwetting
  5. Hyperactivity (i.e. ADHD, ADD, etc.)
  6. Digestion problems (i.e. colic, constipation, diarrhea etc.)
  7. Allergies
  8. Ear infections
  9. Common cold




Acupuncture primarily refers to the insertion of very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles into certain spots on the body, which have been proven for 3,000 years to balance the qi and blood in the body in very specific ways. If one goes to an acupuncture clinic in a TCM hospital in China, one will see children being treated from time to time. However, to be frank, most children do not relish the idea of being stuck by a needle. Acupuncture needles do not hurt the way hypodermic needles do since they are much, much finer and nothing is injected into the body.


We have several ways of coping with this. Even patients who have had previous experience with acupuncture before coming to our clinic are often pleasantly surprised at how virtually painless and more comfortable our acupuncture treatments are. First of all, we use the needle as thin as human hair. Secondly and the most important is the technique. Technique plays the biggest role in achieving painless needling. We spend years in training refining our painless acupuncture techniques. Inserting and manipulating thin, fine and soft needles without bending them requires highly sensitive skills. Parents always are amazed by the result. Also, we try to use fewer insertions than they would in an adult for the same condition. Remember, it is one of children’s inherent characteristics that they transmit changes (both pathological and healing) more quickly and easily than adults.


Chinese Herbal Medicine


Chinese Herbal Medicine is great for both the preventative and remedial treatment of illnesses. There are a number of formulas that have been used by Chinese doctors for 3000 years to improve the general health of children. Preventative herbal formulas may be used to inhibit chronic or recurrent tonsillitis, ear infections, cough, asthma, colic and abdominal pain etc. The dosage and type of formula is modified as the children’s illness changes.




    • Allow infants to wean themselves. When breast milk no longer satisfies the child’s hunger or growth needs, it is appropriate to begin inducing other foods.
    • Introduce new foods slowly, one at a time. Emphasize simple, easy to digest, non- allergenic foods: cooked and pureed carrots, yams, spinach, apples, pears, bananas; diluted, unsweetened fruit juices, vegetable or meat broths. Never give infants and young children iced or refrigerated foods or liquids, because the coldness can damage the stomach and intestines, inhibiting the capacity to digest, assimilate and eliminate. Liquids and soft, cooked foods served warm or at room temperature are the most desirable and beneficial, especially when children are sick.
    • Do not immediately add flavorings or condiments like salt, soy sauce, pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, oil or vinegar unless it is for specific nutritional or medical reason. It is important for children to develop the faculties of taste and smell at their own rate for healthy mental and neurological development.
    • If it is necessary to give children vaccinations, antibiotics, or other medications, be sure to supplement these treatments with ample doses of beneficial intestinal bacteria (non-milk based acidophilus, bifidus, sporogenes) and warm fluids. The effect of strong medications on the sensitive intestinal tract can easily upset the child’s immunological function and digestive efficiency.

© Chinese Acupuncture & Natural Medicine Clinic 2019