Shonishin Pediatric Acupuncture


Many people around the world have come to understand and appreciate the benefits of acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine as an essential part of their healthcare. As more and more people are exposed to these complementary healthcare modalities, many people are also realizing the benefits these modalities provide in addressing the medical needs of children. Some of the most common conditions treated include:

  • coughs
  • allergies
  • fever
  • asthma
  • ADD and ADHD
  • bed wetting
  • digestive disorders
  • colic
  • sleep disorders
  • failure to thrive
  • pediatric pain
  • symptoms associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

It should be noted that pediatric acupuncture is very different from the style of acupuncture typically used on adults. In many cases a needle is not inserted at all but is instead lightly touched to the skin. In most cases there is simply no need to insert a needle because children are so full of energy that they react very quickly to the stimulus in a very positive way.

Perhaps the most effective form of pediatric acupuncture is a style known as Shonishin which is a form of pediatric treatment that developed over 400 years ago in Japan. The treatment consists of pressing, rubbing, tapping, or light scraping of the skin to provide a gentle stimulation that will improve the severity of the child’s current symptoms as well as strengthen their overall constitution. The treatment is in essence a form of bodywork that utilizes specialized Shonishin tools to balance the child’s energy and stimulate acupuncture points. Since this is non-invasive and non-threatening to the child, the children often enjoy their treatments and look forward to future treatments.

These treatments are typically done very quickly and it is essential that the acupuncture practitioner takes the time to create a comfortable atmosphere for the child and build a positive rapport. Often times the first treatment may consist of nothing more than the practitioner playing with the child, building rapport, and gathering diagnostic information at the same time. With younger children such as infants and toddlers, the practitioner should encourage the child’s parents to hold them while they are receiving treatment to ensure the child feels safe. In this way, the treatment is often completed before the child is even aware it has begun.

Other treatment modalities used with children include Tui Na massage, moxibustion, cupping, herbal supplements, and dietary recommendations. Treating children with these natural therapies can not only benefit their health today, but also build a strong foundation for their future health and well-being.