Acupuncture for Children

In China, patients go to acupuncturists from all ranges of ages — newborn (or even pre-born because of the mother) to any age. In the United States though, it looks like people are concerned about the discomfort and pain for kids because they are so protective of kids. That is why here there are much fewer kids exposed to acupuncture, and trying it.

My feelings are that it is just a cultural difference. Imagine when kids need to go to a dentist, a surgeon, or to have a simple vaccine or injection, etc. all of these medical procedures actually hurt much more than acupuncture. If kids can do those things, they can definitely tolerate acupuncture. Some people must wonder about kids who cannot stay still and they might think it will be difficult to do it. This is actually not true. For most kids, they are still when receiving acupuncture treatment just like adults. There are a few kids who may be a little bit fussy at the beginning and then a few minutes later they will be fine too. Of course, there may be 0.5% of kids that are not suitable for acupuncture, just like some certain medical procedures aren’t good for some people.

In China, when we started to give kids acupuncture for PDD research in 1987, we went to special schools to have acupuncture service for kids. We treated kids in their classrooms (five to thirteen years old) in an efficient order, like an assembly line with many of them sitting in a row receiving the treatment. Their behavior was fine. The reality is if the acupuncture is performed by well-trained acupuncturists, nothing really hurts. Since it is new here because of the cultural difference, we always ask both parents to come for the first visit with the child. We ask the parents to try the needle first so they can know what kind of sensation the child will have. If they feel it is fine, we’ll continue with the child. That procedure with the parents is done purposely to convince the kids that it’s okay to have acupuncture. So far, we have helped many children without any problems from the parents.

Pediatric acupuncturists appeared in China a long time ago, just like OBGYN acupuncturists, internal medicine acupuncturists, etc. Generally speaking, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture theory, children’s problems are easier to deal with than adults because they are still in the developmental stage so they grow fast, heal fast,  and are full of energy. If the treatment is correct, the reaction will be very positive and quick. For most kids’ situations, they don’t need as many treatments as adults. For many of them, just one or two treatments shows results. Here, you can see to send a child to an acupuncturist is much simpler and less uncomfortable than going to other medical professionals. It is also actually very safe for kids to have acupuncture.

The most effective and commonly used acupuncture points are between elbows and the ends of hands, and between knees and the ends of feet. Acupuncture for children doesn’t need as much time for the needles to stay in, and for some problems the needle only goes in and out. Even further, some kids don’t need needles at all – they just need acupressure. There’s no risk to the treatments, especially since so often the kids fall and hurt themselves and that is much harsher of an injury than acupuncture ever will be. Sometimes, just changing the diet makes a big difference too.

Symptoms With “No” Cause | CSD’s Are Cured By Acupuncture

Imagine these three situations:

1. You’re sitting in front of your computer working on something, and suddenly one of your arms feels very tired, or your hand is tingling. When you sleep, you may wake up from pain in your hands or your neck.

2. You often experience dizziness, headaches, and even ringing in the ear sometimes. You go to many health specialists, and they find nothing wrong.

3. Sometimes, you feel so nervous or anxious that you have palpitations, nausea, insomnia or sleeplessness. You even have difficult breathing. Your health specialists found nothing wrong with you either.

These are only three examples of which there are many more. They look unrelated but the reality is they are from the same root.  These symptoms are actually caused from a tension of soft tissue around the neck and vertebrae. An umbrella term for them is called cervical spine disorder (CSD), and another way to refer to them are neck-vertebrae syndromes.

If you go to a general practitioner or even a specialist, they will probably find nothing wrong with you unless they are experienced or they check with you more carefully. Sometimes, they feel it’s not a serious medical problem either or sometimes it is just because the CSD is too mild to notice even by a machine.

To understand what is a cervical spine disorder, we must know about the anatomy of the spine and vertebrae. In the human body, we have 24 vertebrae. The cervical spine region is between the top and bottom of the neck area (between shoulders), part of the central nervous system (CNS) passing through the channels which are formed by the vertebrae. This area is the only connection between the brain and all other parts of the body (except the head). That means it is possible that a problem in any part of our body specifically related to the nervous system could be related to this area. It even includes some problems from the head area.

The question now is: why do these problems occur? Our body’s normal activity is regulated by two major systems. One is the nervous system and the other is the endocrine system. Between these two systems, the nervous system has a dominant role. Since it is a bridge between the brain (where messages are sent to the rest of the body including the message to experience pain) and the body (where pain is felt), that is why any problem in the body can be affected by or associated with the nervous system. This is basic information about the nervous system.

Fourteen years ago, we started to see patients in the United States who had ringing in the ear or some migraine headaches caused by “no reason,” because the patients told us they went to many specialists who said nothing was wrong. Some specialists even told their patients they were having hallucinations. When we checked the patients, we found their neck and upper back soft tissue were very tense. We specifically treated those patients because we suspected it’s associated with the cervical spine region. Not only does this area connect every nerve below the neck, but also some above the neck, reaching towards the ears and other parts of the head.  We must know the patient’s overall situation in their entire body, but if we suspect the cervical spine is involved, we treat that area as well as the area the symptoms occur. In our office, we’ve successfully treated patients with those problems with this method.

Recently, we read a report in the newspaper that in Taiwan, scientists found many ringing in the ear problems or migraine headache problems are associated with CSD. When we read it, we were ecstatic to see that these scientists confirmed what we thought was going on with some of our patients.

What is the diet’s effect on our health according to TCM and Acupuncture?

TCM and acupuncture were formed at least 3,000 years ago. TCM and acupuncture doctors applied natural phenomena to our bodies’ individual situations in both ways – physically, and pathologically. They believed that the nature of the food we eat daily, and the herbs we consume, and acupuncture we receive when we have a health problem are similar, but are on different levels. It is just like the idea that we eat when we are hungry, or put on more clothes when we’re cold, etc. Herbs and acupuncture work in the same way. We have four seasons, day and night, rainy, windy, different environmental and climate changes, and other natural phenomena. We as human beings need to compensate for what is happening around us. Diet is the main part of the compensation.

We have so many types of food to choose from. Just like everybody’s foundation of different, our body’s reactions to food are more or less different. If we eat certain “wrong” foods on a consistent, long term time frame, we are harmed. When some people eat hot/spicy food often for a long time, at a certain point, they are going to experience anxiety, bad breath, dizziness, red eyes, headaches, restlessness, sore throat, etc. People like this just think they have a health problem, but when they check in a medical setting, there is nothing wrong with them. But they know they feel different than before, and have a problem. In TCM and acupuncture theory, this is because if a person belongs to the warm/hot type, the hot/spicy food (if taken often) can only make their body hotter. The sore throat, headache, thirstiness, dry mouth, are indications of the hot type and getting hotter. If you ignore the symptoms, and continue having more of the hot/spicy food, it will affect you further. It affects the gallbladder and liver, and can cause serious health problems.

It is a good idea for us to understand how different foods affect us. The first thing we need to know about what we eat is the nature of the food, meaning our body’s reaction to the food. In general, anything hot/spicy such as peppers, cinnamon, coffee, dried ginger, lamb, walnuts, goat, chives, etc. can be harmful for us if we are the warm/hot type of person. On the other hand, anything cold-natured, such as mint, watermelon, pear, papaya, tofu, crab, etc. can be harmful if we are the cold type of person.

In our practice, we see many patients coming in with various health problems, simply because their lifestyle or diet are the opposite of what their body needs. Some patients that have gone to doctors for their problems and have received test results showing that they technically have nothing wrong with them, but they know it is not what they are normally like and want to get back to their old self. If you ask them, there is nothing really wrong with them except they have been eating certain types of food for a long time. For some patients, we only need to ask them to change their diets in the way their body needs. After a while, coupled with acupuncture treatment, they will feel better. For some other patients, if it is a more serious condition, they will need to add herbal medicine to their acupuncture treatment and diet changes.

You May Have To Avoid Certain Foods During Chinese Herbal Treatment

Most of the discoveries in Chinese herbal medicine were made right at the beginning of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and acupuncture over 2000 years ago. Ever since, incremental changes have been made. Back in ancient China when experimentation eventually became established rules, there were certain herbs that could not be used together, and if they were, they would become poisonous to humans. Some herbs can only be taken for a certain amount time or at a certain dosage because otherwise, they could be fatal. There were some other herbs that people had to avoid using together because otherwise their strength would be decreased.  This is not to say all herbs are so restrictive — most herbs can help people.

Ancient Chinese doctors had a spectrum of classifcation on what is considered just food, just herbs, or foods that are also herbs (or vice versa). What they understood was that food is for our normal needs, and the herbs are for our herbal normal needs (meaning to balance our body in times of trouble). Certain foods can have a detrimental effect on the absorption and activity of  the herbs. Mung beans can work either way, meaning it is a food but also an herb. But for the Chinese, everybody knows that you are supposed have mung beans more in the summertime and less or none at all in the winter. They do this because mung beans are naturally cold. They can slow our metabolism and make us feel chilly. However, the other aspect of mung beans that many people don’t know is that mung beans can also detox our bodies or lessen the capabilities of other herbs. That means if you take a Chinese herbal formula for feeling cold easily/feeling fatigued/low spirited, it’s best you don’t have any mung beans or mung bean-derived products. Otherwise, the herbal formula won’t work well for you. In the same way, radishes will easily get rid of the capabilities of ginseng. If you take a formula containing ginseng, then it will be rendered useless if radishes are eaten in the same timeframe. For teas, the effect will vary. Generally, it is better to avoid drinking teas when taking a Chinese herbal formula but if you are taking a formula for tonification/energy/feeling cold easily, you can drink red tea at the same time and it will be fine. If you are taking an herbal formula for overheating easily/hot flashes/etc. then perhaps you can have green tea too. Otherwise, it will be detrimental towards the formula.

In daily practice, there are much more complicated situations. If you found a good TCM practitioner or acupuncturist, they can tell you much more detailed information.

No Breast Milk or Too Much Breast Milk

Do you have a breast milk problem after having a baby? We’ve seen it before. In modern society, the stress of work can of overwhelm people. When a woman becomes a mother, there are more things than usual to be worried about, specifically at the beginning when you have a newborn. It is a good idea to breastfeed even with the wide variety of formula available. On one hand, formulas are good for mothers with too much work and those that cannot see the child too often. On the other hand, the new mothers may have opportunities to breastfeed their baby but do not produce enough milk. There are many reasons for not producing enough breast milk, such as stress and imbalanced hormone levels. If the mother lost a lot of blood during childbirth, her body will be focused on making more blood, not breast milk. In China, there are many natural ways to facilitate breast milk production such as fish soup (carp fish preferred), pig feet soup, vaccaria seeds, etc. For most women, this will help greatly. For some other women, this may not be enough. In that case, it is necessary to have acupuncture for help. Ancient Chinese doctors found a specific spot on both pinky fingers two to three millimeters away from the edge of the nail on the outer portion of the finger. It is called shaoze, the first point on the small intestine channel (in Traditional Chinese Medicine). What you need to do is acupuncture the points and some adjacent points on or around the breasts/chest after sterilization for twenty five minutes once a day for a week or once every other day for two weeks. It is highly recommended to combine this treatment with the foods mentioned above for the best results. Another issue for new mothers is sometimes they find themselves lactating too much, and it is annoying, or they want to stop breastfeeding for some reason. You can use herbs like barley sprout/malt to inhibit lactation. If you combine the pair of acupuncture points, Zulinqi, the results will be better. In the past years, we have seen quite a few patients like we mentioned above for help. So far, we have helped every body.  The patient will definitely get better  results if they combine acupuncture and herbal and/or diet changes together. One of the patients in particular (which is listed in Complex Cases under New Mothers) did not have enough breast milk for four months after her child’s delivery. She went to different specialists for help. After six sessions of acupuncture treatment, she said she finally had enough milk. This is still new in the USA. We hope that more and more people realize that many problems and conditions can be helped easily by Chinese medicine or acupuncture or a combination of both. In this way, more people can get benefits from an easier method.

Acupuncture for PMS

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is one of the most common complaints for many females. Most females will experience this in their lifetime once or more times. However, about 5% of them will need to seek help due to very intense symptoms. According to modern medicine, the cause is still unclear. Therefore, the treatment is basically for complaints – in other words only to relieve the symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture (TCMA) uses natural phenomena and principles to describe our body in both physical and pathological ways along with the treatments. The treatment for diseases in TCMA is according to pattern differentiation. The pattern differentiations for PMS in TCMA are: cold/yang deficiency, liver stagnation, poor circulation/blood stasis, etc. The concepts of “cold/yang deficiency,” “liver stagnation,” and “blood stasis,” are very different from what people understand nowadays. For example, “cold/yang deficiency” here means the PMS sufferer does not like the cold (i.e. cold environment, intakes, food/drinks that naturally make the body cold, or our reaction to them is cold), for this reason you can see some of these patients have an onset of PMS or make their PMS worse if they are in a cold environment, or when they eat something cold. The “liver stagnation” type means PMS sufferers will have an emergence of symptoms if they are too stressed, or the stress will make their PMS worse. If the “liver stagnation” or “cold/yang deficiency” are not treated, eventually they will turn into “blood stasis.” The “blood stasis” type means poor circulation or blockage in the vascular system. This type is basically the utmost development of the previous two types or it can occur on its own without the previous two. The symptoms of “blood stasis” will be a very painful and darker period with many clots. Sometimes, the pain can feel like needles or knives cutting into you, some people even faint and end up in the emergency room. Any factors that affect the “liver stagnation” or “cold/yang deficiency” type can affect this type in the same way too. A patient can suffer from one or two types or even a combination of all of them. In addition, there may be some other types such as: Qi deficiency or kidney deficiency etc. These types mean the patient was either born like that or it could be something else. The acupuncture treatment we need to do for “cold/yang deficiency,” is to eliminate the coldness or tonify yang. Meanwhile, patients need to avoid cold environments or cold food/drinks, and instead take warm drinks/food, etc. The treatment for this type is usually acupuncture with TDP/moxibustion or tonification methods. For “liver stagnation,” we have to regulate and soothe the liver Qi, and eliminate the stagnation. For “blood stasis,” we need to regulate the blood and eliminate the blood stasis, and promote circulation. If it is two or more types combined you will need to mix the treatments described above accordingly. In terms of Chinese medical herbs treatment, it is very similar to acupuncture, but using herbs instead. There are different herbal formulas for each type. Most of the time, the formulas need to be alternated to fit the patients pattern better, and in this way, the patients will get the most benefit from the the herbal treatment. Overall, TCMA is the simplest, best and easiest method to treat PMS. The combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture will give patients maximum benefit and quick results. Additionally, with a diet and lifestyle change, etc. the results will be better. We have helped many PMS patients from the age of 15. We know we helped because we have many new PMS patients referred by their friends who were cured in our office before.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture and Seasonal Allergies

Ancient Chinese doctors knew about allergies, and passed this knowledge to future acupuncturists.

They noticed that when spring came, some people would have problems like skin rashes, sneezing, itching, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. In general, these complaints would come and go very fast just like the wind. During that time, scientists considered spring to be the wind season. Therefore, combining the factor of the time (season) and characteristics of the complaint – coming and going as fast as the wind – they named this kind of problem: wind type or wind like problems.

Although the liver is usually associated with wind problems, in this case the lungs are actually the organ related to the wind, because the material we are allergic to bothers us mainly through either the skin, nose, and sometimes the eyes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture system, the lungs are a combination of nose, bronchial, skin, hair, partially circulatory system, partially the immune system, partially the metabolic system and the lungs themselves.

This TCM and acupuncture system was formed about 2,000 years ago and has been a key player in Modern Chinese disease prevention medicine. Nowadays, it is spreading worldwide more and more because of its effectiveness and good results through a natural way. In recent years, much more scientific research has proven that TCM and acupuncture can regulate and improve immuno function in both cellular immunity and humoral immunity. Most importantly, scientists also found they have what is called “both direction regulation,” which means if anything in the body is “higher than normal” then TCM and acupuncture can lower it until it is back to normal, vise versa.

Clinically, for patients with allergies, the common pattern could be “wind cold” sometimes combined with Qi deficiency. For “wind cold,” the complaints will be: feeling cold easily, allergies accompanied with chills, clear watery mucous from nose, sneezing, watery eyes without swelling, becoming worse in the morning or when the environment is colder. For “wind cold and Qi deficiency,” patients usually complain about tiredness and catching a cold easily and the allergy will get worse or onset more often when getting too tired, these happen simultaneously with the symptoms mentioned earlier. Of course, there are some other uncommon types too, such as “wind with poor circulation,” “wind heat,” etc. which we will not go into detail in this article.

Treatment

The treatment involves a diet change, acupuncture, and herbs if you want a quick relief. For the diet change everyone is different, it would be a good idea to talk about this face to face with the acupuncturist, but one thing is for sure: adding more fresh ginger root juice and mung bean in your diet, avoid the cold stuff are always a good idea. For TCM and acupuncture treatment, it completely depends on the patterns that you have. The acupuncture needle could go on the face, extremities, back, stomach, depending on the situation. At times, TDP and cups need to be involved as well. However, for a few people electrical acupuncture may be better. In terms of herbs, it is more complicated, you would need to speak face to face with an acupuncturist. We started to see seasonal allergy patients in the U.S. in 1995. So far, we have helped many sufferers. For most people, after treatment they will not need to come back. We followed up with patients for five years and there was still no need for them to come back.

Different Uses of Herbal Tea and Pills in TCM

In the medical field, it looks like all the procedures make us uncomfortable. Medicine-wise, if we don’t swallow quickly enough, it also makes us uneasy.  Chinese medicine in particular can make us feel even more uncomfortable than that. Chinese herbal tea generally helps people, so people tolerate the temporary discomfort and bad taste. That’s why the Chinese have a common saying “liang yao ku kou li yu bing” meaning generally “good medicine tastes bitter but it helps with your illness.” What if good medicine helps our problem but doesn’t taste bad? Wouldn’t that be great?

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), there are many ways to deal with diseases like using Chinese herbs, acupuncture, massage, qi gong, diet, etc. Acupuncture with needles may be uncomfortable for most people at the beginning, a healing massage for medical purposes often hurts, with qi gong you feel very awkward at the beginning,  and sometimes we need to sacrifice our favorite foods for medical reasons. People try to avoid having these treatment if they don’t need them. That is why there are many ways to administer herbal medicine that can best fit the patient’s needs and preferences. For acute diseases or situations, herbal tea or acupuncture are the best choices. For chronic diseases or situations, herbal pills or powder are the better choices because patients need to take the herbs for long term on a consistent basis. It is convenient and they don’t need to boil the herbs everyday. The taste of the pills is much better than the tea. This means that the medicine that is supposed to help us does not have to taste bitter like the saying says. For kids or people who just don’t like the taste of herbs, honey is added to the herbal base for a better flavor and texture of a syrup.

For most Chinese herbs, they are not harmful to our bodies when taken for a long time. However, some of them are important to pay attention to the effects on our bodies. For example, ephedra is not supposed to be taken for a long time. If it is, the user will end up sweating profusely. Even though some other herbs can make us stronger, that doesn’t mean we should take them for longer or even at all.  Another example is licorice.  It is not a good idea to have it consistently for a long time, especially if you don’t have any medical issues. Otherwise, it could cause palpitation, sweating, anxiety, etc.

It is always a good idea to consult a Chinese herbologist about herbs you’re considering taking, either for medical purposes, beverages, or other purposes. This is because even a small dosage of some herbs can be very harmful. Herbal or so-called natural healing products do not mean they are without side effects.

How Does Western Medicine Explain Acupuncture?

Even though acupuncture has been practice in China for about at least 2-3,000 years  and spreading in the adjacent countries such as Japan, Korea, etc. as the time goes on. For the rest  of the world it is maybe only acknowledge less this 400 years and the spreading of it is much slower than the origin  area. It is being said that Japanese, in the early 1950s declared that even though acupuncture was orientated in China, the explanation with modern medicine theory would be done in Japan and there ambitious is to develop acupuncture furthermore then that of Chinese. This stimulated Chinese government to organize a big acupuncture program from 1950s and on until in the end or 1980s for about thirty years. Chinese government wanted to do the research with the modern medical theory, bigger, stronger, wider and faster than that of Japanese.

What they have  achieved so far:

1. Develop a new method of anesthesia  with acupuncture for operations in the head, neck, etc. even though it isn’t perfect yet.

2. We found about 10% of Chinese are general sensitive people which means if  you put needle on one point on one channel then the sensation are for the chi movement or sensation can go through the whole channel which approved the existing channel. Even though we do not know the nature of it.

3. They have found the traditional acupuncture points area/spot are higher electrical resistance than the none acupuncture areas/spot. Which proved the existing of acupuncture points.

4. They also found 90% of the acupuncture points are more or less are associated with the nerve system.

5. This speed of chi traveling in the channel slower than nerve but quicker than the endocrine system. They assumed that channel system is another balancing system in our human body other then nerve and endocrine system – the third balancing system.

6.  In session of acupuncture needle and manipulation can affect our body in every level meaning from organ to tissue to cell to molecule.

7. One of the most important finding about acupuncture is  what is called both direction regulations which means  making the high abnormal level lower until normal level or vice versa. This explains why the same acupuncture points on one person it can make the high blood pressure lower until to the normal level, and on the other low blood pressure person it can increase the blood pressure higher to the normal.

8. About 450 conditions under diseases can be helped by acupuncture. Overall during that 30 years period of time almost all the medical schools and the other related scientist were involved in this program which is one of the biggest in scientific work research because of this the first world wide scientific organization were headquarters in China in November of 1987 in Beijing.

Ever since the spreading of acupuncture is getting quicker. Many scientist including doctors all over the world started to do more research about acupuncture because of its treatment results. Acupuncture is based upon channel theory according to traditional Chinese medicine. Even though we can see the channel existing with instrument, but we still don’t know what is the nature of it because of the restriction of science and technology. Acupuncture is not perfect explained by modern medicine yet. However, it has many advantages over the modern medicine theories such as it always promotes our bodies ability for fighting diseases with no side effects if you perform it right it stresses the connections and affects each other of the body It also stresses individual differences so in turn it is always tailored treatment procedure. We hope modern medicine can borrow some ideas from acupuncture to make modern medicine perfect.