Inner Spring Wellness
Inner Spring Wellness

Pediatric Acupuncture for Kids

Did you know Pediatric Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (PAOM) is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care?


Chinese Medicine has a highly evolved system of pediatric care that can help infants, toddlers, children and teens improve their health without the use of potentially harmful drugs.  Chinese medicine doesn't treat children like tiny adults.  Rather, it offers a variety of treatment methods and modalities that are unique to the area of pediatrics.  The pediatric modalities we use are shonishin ("show knee shin") tuina ("twee na"), moxibustion, acupuncture, dietary counseling, and herbal medicine.


The literal English translation of shonishin is "little children needle."  (Sho means little, ni means children, and shin means needle.)  The practice of shonishin originated in 17th century Osaka, Japan specifically for the treatment of infants and children up to the age of about 10.  Shonishin involves stroking, tapping, rubbing and pressing the skin with special tools to create a variety of gentle sensations on the skin.  Consider it non-needling acupuncture for kids, as shonishin mimics the effects of acupuncture.  The treatment process typically takes 5-20 minutes, depending on the age and strength of the child.


Tuina is a technique which includes traction, motion, massage and stimulation of the acupuncture points.  It can be used along with shonishin, in the treatment of both chronic and acute musculoskeletal conditions, as well as internal conditions such as stomachaches constipation, difficulty sleeping, chest congestion and cough, or anxiety.  We always teach parents some simplified shonishin and tuina massage techniques using ordinary items (such as a soup spoon as their treatment tool) they can do at home for regular maintenance between clinic appointments.


Acupuncture for children and teens is becoming an increasingly common treatment for asthma, allergies, headaches, stomachaches, back pain, anxiety, depression, ear aches, respiratory infections, bedwetting, ADHD, autism and many other frequent health concerns.


Acupuncture is a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals that many parents do not want their children taking. Increasingly more parents are turning to acupuncture as an effective and necessary method of reestablishing and maintaining health within their children’s constitution.


How do treatments differ from adult acupuncture treatments?  This depends on the child/teen and the practitioner.  The needles may be retained for less time and in some cases we insert the needles and remove them immediately.


In Chinese medicine, children are thought to have very sensitive and pure energy, or qi (chee).  For this reason, children and infants can respond to acupuncture and related techniques very quickly, so it’s unnecessary to retain the needles for as long as what you’d typically see in an adult acupuncture session.  And in most cases, needling isn't even needed.  Children's bodies respond quickly with the modalities discussed above and most importantly can heal naturally given the right environment and tools without needing to rely on pharmaceutical drugs.


Herbal medicine is used to treat the root of a disease process whereas over-the-counter and prescription drugs aren't really medicines at all in the true sense of the word.  They are drugs that suppress disease symptoms (a band-aid) while prolonging the disease process.  We call this treating the branch of the problem instead of the root of the problem.  Chinese herbal medicine typically aims at treating the root of a disease process.  Therefore, symptomatic relief may be less pronounced initially, but recovery from the disease process itself will be much faster and longer lasting remedy.  This lessens the need evetually for medication and antibiotics, because we are helping the child's body from within.


The Chinese herbal formulas we use are made in the United States and are routinely tested to be free of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminents.  The children's herbal tinctures we offer are made with glycerine to mask the often bitter flavors of the herbs, making it much more palatable for children to take.  There are no unpleasant side effects when used as directed.


Here's a partial list of ailments we could help treat:


  • colds and flu, low immunity
  • digestive problems like colic, "picky" eating, tummy aches, diarrha, constipation
  • sleep problems
  • ear infections
  • mood swings
  • seizures, tics, tremors
  • sprains, strains, bruises
  • musculoskeletal problems
  • delayed growth development
  • eczema
  • upper respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis
  • sinusitis, rhinitis
  • food allergies and sensitivities
  • hay fever/allergies
  • growing pains
  • bedwetting


There is a growing number of pioneering acupuncturists here in the States that are getting into pediatrics, including myself, because we know it is a much needed area that can address many aspects of pediatric care that cannot be addressed in conventional medicine.  It is our focus to promote the principles of wellness, health and resolution of illness.  Our strength is in viewing the body as a whole, disease prevention, recovery of health after an illness, and addressing conditions that are chronic and/or subclinical.  This means conditions like colds and flu, eczema, asthma, "picky eating," slow development, tantrums and emotional instability, food sensitivities, lack of concentration, and so forth.  Where western medicine would prescribe antibiotics, psychiatric drugs or steroidal creams - or worse yet, say "nothing can be done", we Practitioners of Oriental Medicine prescribe Food as medicine and dietary modifications, exercises, herbal prescriptions, heat therapy, pediatric massage and acupressure/acupuncture for illness resolution and disease prevention.


Want to try PAOM for your child?  Contact me!  Let's see how I can help you.



When I became a mother, it led to a remarkable journey of self-growth and healing, as many parents can attest, our children come into this world to teach us lessons.  My son (age 9) has been my biggest teacher in love, patience, compassion, perseverance, and joy.  He’s been treated with acupuncture, massage and herbs since infancy and loves it.   Helping him has helped open the door to expanding my practice to treating children.  Children are so resilient and respond so quickly to treatment.  I enjoy treating kids of all ages.  I believe a happy and healthy child brings a ripple effect of positive change to the entire family.


Sonia Rivera , L.Ac.


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Inner Spring Wellness

7777 Lake Street

Suite 117

River Forest, IL 60305

Phone: +1 708 445 0012


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