To acquaint yourself with Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), please read my quick overview of how Asian Medicine can help your child.
Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions to prepare your child for his/her first visit to Iyashi Wellness.
What can I and my child expect for a pediatric visit at Iyashi Wellness? Fun times and learning new ways to take care of your bodies! Acupuncture and Asian Medicine help to heal the body, so everything I will do to your child and prescribe and teach the parents will be to help facilitate or jump start your child's innate healing ability.
Will my child be nervous about coming to see an acupuncturist? Most children (and adults) are weary of coming to a healthcare practitioner's office because of their experiences getting poked, prodded, palpated, drilled (at the dentist!) and the dreaded ouchy vaccine shots. For children with chronic conditions, they may also experience not getting better as soon as they and their parents would like visiting conventional doctor's offices, so they may already be apprehensive. So if this is your case, please be aware of your own apprehension as well as your child's apprehension.
So what can I as a parent do to ease my child's possible apprehension for their first visit? Be relaxed yourself. Your child will read your energy and respond to that. Please know that your child will not be administered acupuncture in their first visit in most cases. If the child is old enough to be aware (as opposed to babies who still have no fear), I will gain your child's trust first, and only if I feel they are ready and will benefit from acupuncture, will I give them an acupuncture treatment. To acquaint them to acupuncture, I will casually show them what acupuncture needles are like and even demonstrate on myself or you of the virtually painless experience of acupuncture. This will start getting your child used to the visual and idea of acupuncture and that it is something very special done only at my office. Please do not mention the words "needles," "poke," "pokey," or "pins" to your child for our visit, or ask them if they are afraid. Instead, if you want to bring up the notion of acupuncture, tell them they'll get to learn about "taps." I call acupuncture needles "taps" with children toddlers and older so that I can get rid of the fear factor and also because I literally "tap" the needles into a child. If you want to bypass this part of the conversation all together, you can inform your child that s/he will be asked questions about their health, have their pulses felt on their wrists, and they can even stick their tongues out at me! How fun is that?! I will also show them different tools that they can use together with me that will make them feel better and teach them about eating well so that they'll get better soon.
Should I bring toys and goodies, like to an airplane ride, for our visit? Yes! I will spend a considerable time going over your child's forms and current complaint that brought you two in for the initial visit. Although I will have some toys to keep your child entertained, please bring something special for your child to keep him/her busy during this portion of the appointment. This is especially the case for children under age 6.
For children who have been dealing with a chronic condition and are extra apprehensive to visit a doctor's office, please bring their lovey, stuffed animal or blanket to give them comfort. You can even encourage them to play dress up and come in their favorite pretend-play outfit to help them feel more confident - and fun - about visiting my office.
Do I need to fill out forms? Yes. Forms will be sent to you in a link once you make your appointment, and can be filled out online . Fill them out ahead of your visit. Please give yourself some quiet time to fill out the forms, as it will take about 20 minutes to fill out the forms.
If you're not doing acupuncture on my child, what will my child get as a treatment? As I wrote in Overview of Pediatric Asian Medicine, PAM is ancient, so several non-invasive methods were developed over time to facilitate healing in a child. In my goody bag of treatment options, we have multiple non-invasive methods available:
Therapeutic massage: I will teach you specific pediatric massages that you can do at home to incorporate as part of your child's wellness routine. As you incorporate this in your daily routine, you will be surprised how your child will begin asking for the massages, and overall start to get more calm and healthier. Because kids know it's good for them. Really.
Acupressure: I will teach you and your child specific acupressure points to press at home to help with the healing process.
Pellets: a therapeutic application of small pellets to provide continuous acupressure to points, often in addition to acupuncture, or in lieu of it. It is similar to self-massaging an acupuncture point, but it will be a more targeted approach as the pellet will have a stronger stimulatory effect.
Guasha: this therapeutic treatment involves repeated pressure strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge, like a ceramic Chinese soup spoon or honed animal bones or well-worn coin to promote blood and energy circulation. This practice of stroking and scraping is seen in other traditional cultures of the world as well.
Cupping: also used in other traditional cultures, a therapeutic approach that utilizes round suction cups over a large muscular area such as the back to enhance blood circulation to the designated area.
Dietary prescriptions: I will provide you with Food as Medicine recipes and dietary suggestions to help with your child's condition. In most cases, changing a child's diet has a huge impact in the well being of your child.
Herbal prescriptions: known as tinctures, I have natural herbal prescriptions in liquid form just for pediatric use. Once they get used to the different flavor of herbs, kids will ask to take it because they know they get better when they take it. Completely, safe, these tinctures are American-made by companies with stringent safety and quality controls and can be taken concurrent with pharmaceutical prescription drugs.
Micro-current stimulation: this is a hand held device that emits micro current to an acupuncture point. The micro current stimulates the point and facilitates healing. It is similar to acupressure or the use of pellets/magnet, but this is one step stronger in the stimulatory effect because of the use of a micro current.
and lastly, acupuncture: as I wrote above, acupuncture needles will be one of my last resorts with pediatric patients toddlers and older. Babies have no concept of fear and that needles may hurt so when and if I use needles on babies, it is a very smooth experience. Also, the needles I use for pediatric patients are even thinner than the needles used for adults (which are already extra thin to begin with). Unlike with adults where the needles are left in the patient for 20-30 minutes while they rest in the treatment room, with pediatric patients, I will do a quick in and out with the needle for younger children/babies. For older children, I can leave them for 5-10 minutes depending on the child's comfort and stillness level. Acupuncture is very beneficial because it uses the body's own healing response mechanism, unlike micro current or pellets/magnets, which requires an outside source to trigger the healing response. Because it penetrates the skin, it has the strongest stimulatory effect and healing will be faster than the above methods listed.
How long are pediatric wellness visit? The first visit will last approximately an hour. Follow up visits will be approximately 15-30 minutes long.
What happens after a treatment? Depending on the complexity of your child's case and his/her sensitivity, you may see your child more energized after the treatment, sleep very well through the night, have a more stable emotional equilibrium, reduction of inflammatory conditions, more regular bowel movements, improvement in appetite -- or experience a healing crisis where your child may experience, say the eczema they're battling with, flare up and then significantly subside, or their cold symptom get worse, but see significant improvements the following day. This is called a healing crisis.
How often should we come and see you? Please consider coming for a minimum of 3 months initially for chronic conditions. At that point, we will reevaluate the progress of your child's condition and referrals may be provided if other adjunct care will improve your child's condition. For acute conditions, your child may only need one or couple visits. For wellness visits, I recommend parents bring their children in the beginning of cold/flu season, when they start school after holiday breaks, and if they are going through environmental changes or emotional upheavals at home. Holistic pediatric care will help your child transition through the seasonal, environmental, and emotional changes that occur in a child's life.