As part of my practice I regularly treat children using acupuncture and other methods from the toolbox of Chinese medicine. I have treated babies from a year old through to teenagers for a whole range of problems and illnesses. Things like colic and digestive problems, and recurrent coughs and colds are fairly common things to come across.

Most of the time parents will think of  acupuncture for their child because they have had it themselves in the past and wondered if it can work for their children.


Acupuncture definitely has an image problem when parents are looking for a health solution. Small children and needles are definitely a counter intuitive mix! Luckily there are a few other tools that can be brought to bare and I tend to only use needles if the problem is very chronic or the child is okay with it.

The Japanese developed a whole style of treatments called Shonishin that do not use needles, which I studied with one of Europes foremost practitioners` few years ago.

The Japanese realised that childrens energy changes very quickly.  Think of how a child can get very ill very quickly, have  massive fever or vomiting and then be up and running around the next day. So they are very yang in energy and their channel system is still developing all the time. The Japanese applied the less is more idea to treating children and getting the right dose of treatment correct.

Shonishin treatments consist of using  small tools to activate the energy in different ways. Rubbing, tapping and pressing gently on different points and channels is often enough to bring about a change in a condition. Small balls can be left on in place with plasters to further the effect and needles can be used if the problem is very severe or chronic.

I am often amazed at what shonishin can do, a few minutes treatment on a baby can bring relief from colic and allow everyone to sleep well! It is definitely something more people should know about!

Written by Jeremy Marshall