Puppy Tails and Other Tender Mercies
Austin had been having trouble sleeping for the last three months when his mother, a patient of mine, brought him to my clinic. She thought he was having night terrors as he would awake screaming with fear in his eyes.
Austin is fifteen months old. I have treated many children over the past twenty-five years and always welcome their sweet energy to my treatment room. It is not uncommon for little ones to have disturbed sleep as they have so much internal and external developmental growth going on.
Babies and young children up to twelve years of age have a tendency to run very hot. Their bodies are “yang” in nature. Their qi works very hard to assist in the rapid mental and physical changes within their body. It is not uncommon for a child to spike a very high fever and appear listless, and then perk right up in two or three hours, as illness and discomfort moves quickly through their body.
Rather than using acupuncture needles on babies and small children under six, I will use Tui Na (twee-naa) massage and Shoni (sho-nee) Shin treatment. Shoni Sin is a treatment that requires gently tapping and scraping the skin with small metal instruments. In the treatment of children, working to rectify the qi is very effective in treating illness and discomfort, since the qi is very close to the surface of the body. Tui Na massages and Shoni Shin treatments are excellent ways to restore the natural health and distribution of qi, blood, and oxygen.
The treatments are powerful, yet gentle in nature. They need be continued at home to fully elicit change, so I help parents learn the massage routine I select for their child. When children are older than two, I will have them hold the Shoni Shin tools so they can assist me in their own treatment. When I send them home to continue their treatments, we choose everyday household items for them to assist their parents in treating them, such as buttons, spoons, jar caps or pennies.
Children become very relaxed and will often fall asleep during their therapy, as the circulation of qi is very calming to their nervous systems.
Another important modality I use with children—in addition to herbs and a healthy diet—is Bach flower remedies.
Bach flower remedies are potent solutions of water, brandy (very, very scant amounts to preserve the flower essence), and flower essences. While there is no scientific efficacy found in clinical trials, Bach flowers have been found to work within the esoteric level of each individual. When ingested, they pass on the energetic nature of the chosen flower essence. There are thirty-eight remedies from which to choose, and I use no more than three at a time within each given tincture. Each remedy has a correlating physical, mental, and emotional component. Bach flowers have been a consistent go-to remedy in my arsenal of natural, gentle methods to help alleviate suffering.
When I work with children older than two, I teach them the basics of “belly breathing,” another important and effective tool for anyone who wishes to begin a meditation practice. Deep breathing calms the central nervous system and helps to connect with ones center in a relaxing, safe consistent way.
Austin is now sleeping much better. In fact, his mother reports that on a recent plane ride, while he was sitting on her lap, he was “flirting” with an attractive, dark haired woman sitting next to them. Austin had placed his entire leg on her lap! His mother apologized with a laugh; she knew he was waiting for her to give him his Tui Na massage treatment.