Acupuncture for All!

Say goodbye to colicy kids, and more 

When we think of getting acupuncture, we very rarely think it can be beneficial to our little ones, from birth to infant to toddler to school-aged kids…It’s good for everyone!  As we grow older, our Qi, our Flow, our movements change. Things move rapidly at birth, when the formation of new neurons and synapses are fastest, hence why babies and toddlers learn faster than adults. The brain, at birth, has already grown to 25% of the adult brain, and, by the age of 3, to 80% of the adult’s size.  (www.adam-mila.com/brain-development).   

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the movement of Qi is just as fast. Infants who develop acute digestive issues can be helped with one or two treatments vs. adults, who would need a course of about 7-10. Most commonly, infants/toddlers with acute cases are seen once or twice, and voila, they’re transformed – happier mood, better sleep, healthy weight gain. In infants, we commonly treat colic, fever, cough, and vomiting. As they grow older, we treat the common cold, fever, cough, headache, and digestive issues. 

Most commonly, infants/toddlers with acute cases are seen once or twice, and voila, they’re transformed – happier mood, better sleep, healthy weight gain

In infants, the digestive system is immature and fragile, and further affected by overeating, eating too many cold foods or foods that are too rich (fatty, sugary foods), such as cow’s milk (in TCM, considered to be too heavy and fatty for an immature digestive).   

The bane of many new parents, colic refers to inconsolable, extended crying in an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby. All babies cry, but those who cry for more than three hours a day, three to four days a week, commonly have colic.

Transforming babies through TCM leads to happier, healthier children

Approximately 20 per cent of babies develop colic,  affecting boys and girls equally, as well as first-born children, and those born later. Generally starting at around two to four weeks of age, it may last longer than three months.

In infants, the digestive system is immature and fragile, and further affected by overeating, eating too many cold foods or foods that are too rich

Parents often complain to me that their baby is ‘colicy,’ a word that is different to every infant, but also, very similar…they cry and cry and cry!  

A standard pattern for colic is the crying begins in the late afternoon or early evening (the witching hour), but this time, it doesn’t stop; nothing works, no matter how hard we try! The Western world has no treatment for colic (some try Gripe water, Tylenol, etc., with little or no success). TCM to the RESCUE! We have a large selection of remedies that are highly tested, and that have been used for thousands of years.  As a mother of two (under two years of age), I can assure you they work. 

As a TCM/acupuncturist, to diagnose properly, I like to/need to meet the baby and parents. We look at your baby’s skin colour, and colour of fingers and toenails. With very gentle touch, we  assess the baby’s skin and warmth, then move to the abdomen, which is commonly hard and distended in colicy babies.

Assessing the abdomen and a bit of a belly massage never hurt anyone!

Next, I move to the space between the eyebrows and assess the colour there; if it is blue, there has been or there currently is stress in the stomach and/or spleen. Lastly, the index finger is looked at; there is a vein that is very obvious in infants and if it is protruding, pulsing or dark, there is a blockage in the stomach/intestines.

We look at your baby’s skin colour, and colour of fingers and toenails. With very gentle touch, we  assess the baby’s skin and warmth

Once this is all done, usually in 2-5 minutes (babies don’t sit for too long),  I discuss, with parents, lifestyle, eating habits and sleeping patterns. This helps us to determine if your baby is actually colicy, or if there is something else going on. Assuming that your baby is experiencing colic, there are two possible types in TCM – Hot and Cold Colic. Symptoms of hot colic babies: more restless, cry more aggressively, red faced, hot hands/feet. This type of colic is common in North American babies. Cold Colic symptoms: baby is weaker, whines all the time, pale colour, with cold hands/feet and a white/blue tinge in the nail beds. 

My best advice is to teach the parents how to do belly massage, use some acupressure points to help calm and relax the stomach, help to release gas (and no, it’s not just doing bicycle legs, which helps, but there needs to be more then that).  

Generally, I will first adjust the baby’s diet by putting the child on a feeding schedule and/or taking the child off hard-to-digest foods. Parents will also be instructed on how to massage their baby’s abdomen in order to move the stagnant food down and out. This is often all that is necessary to get rid of colic. 

A very effective alternative to some harsh medications, TCM can drastically reduce any sign/symptom of colic within a couple of days, totally clearing it of the body in a week. 

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