Another very happy visit at Mama Needs a Drink!
Luriko was at Mama Needs A Drink again by popular demand on Wednesday, October 19th. She was asked to present information on how to stay cold/flu free this fall and winter season. First, she shared how Asian medicine works on children, educating the group on the effectiveness and availability of Asian medicine for pediatric use.
Acupuncture on Babies? Whaaaat?
In Luriko’s practice, she uses both non-needling and needling techniques, customizing the treatment based on the child’s age, constitution, mobility, sensitivity and condition. Luriko can use needles on babies (and older children who are unafraid and can sit still for a few minutes) because:
- babies have yet to develop pain receptors and as such don’t feel pain the way older children and adults do,
- the acupuncture needles she uses on babies are extremely thin (thinner than those used on adults which are infinitely thinner than those used to draw blood or sewing needles!) which cause no to very minimal discomfort in babies,
- unlike adult treatments, needling is a quick in-and-out insertion for babies and children,
- babies are not conditioned to fear needles like older children and adults do (and thus increase their pain perception) because they have not experienced the multitude of doctor’s visits for vaccine shots and blood draws, and
- she will usually needle only up to 3-5 points in babies. If needles are not used, she will use shonishin, tuina, heat therapy, and infant massage, usually to elicit the same effects of acupuncture without the invasiveness of acupuncture.
Luriko also educated parents on pediatric Chinese herbal medicine, which are usually made in sweet tincture forms so that they're easy to administer to babies and children. These tinctures are manufactured under strict quality control in the United States, ensuring safe usage even in the youngest of patients. Using Chinese herbs in conjunction with acupuncture/shonishin and other manual modalities improves the efficacy of the treatments done at Luriko’s office and speeds up the healing process.
Why Add Asian Medicine to Your Kids' Care?
Luriko also explained how incorporating Asian medicine into a child’s healthcare repertoire can significantly cut back on the need for harsher pharmaceutical drugs and invasive surgical procedures. Asian medicine treatments allow the body to restore homeostasis. Homeostasis refers to the body’s ability to reset and start running optimally, with blockages unblocked and fine-tuning the functions of organs that are often under-functioning or over-functioning, which both are very prevalent in children. The feel-good hormone, oxytocin, released during treatments help to decrease cortisol levels in the body and also affect the nervous system, regulating the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest-and-digest system). (Here is an article that describes in more detail how acupuncture works from a biomedical perspective.)
She shared with the parents that Asian medicine can be a valuable tool to treat babies and children for a myriad of common childhood conditions, including: recurring colds, constipation, tummy aches, colic, asthma, ear aches, sleep issues, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, tantrums, clogged tear ducts, failure to thrive, lack of energy, picky eating, etc. It can also be used to helped children navigate developmental milestones more smoothly. Asian medicine provides feedback to parents should there be synergistic treatments necessary to assist in developmental milestones from other healthcare practices, like occupational therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, and so forth.
When Luriko began talking about how to prevent colds and flus naturally (read here and here for some of the details she went into), parents started raising their hands for questions, from how to prevent colds in newborns (up the breast milk intake or frequency if you can, among other things, because mama’s milk has crazy number of antibodies that get created based on viral/bacterial infections surrounding mama and baby), to can I give probiotics to babies (yes, absolutely and a must!), to “what is natto?” and “where can I buy it?” (we recommend Megumi natto at the Japanese markets Nijiya and Mitsuwa here locally in Los Angeles). One question led to another, and what was supposed to be a 20-minute talk ended up being 40 minutes (thank you Mama Needs A Drink for letting the workshop go on longer!), and it ended only because Luriko had to leave for patient appointments!
It was so invigorating to see and hear so many parents asking all these wonderful questions. We truly appreciated this opportunity to be able to share with a new group of parents about Pediatric Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and natural remedies for colds and flus. We hope more families can utilize our powerful and effective, yet gentle medicine for their wee ones. Asian medicine can help change the trajectory of a child’s health just with a few treatments, herbs, and dietary changes. Imagine, healthier babies and children from the get-go!