East Asian Medicine
East Asian Medicine (EAM) encompasses a vast discipline of ancient healing wisdom.
The fundamental tenant of EAM is that a child’s body can heal itself. The tools we use are intended to support healing and help guide families toward natural, safe, and effective remedies.
When we overlap the principles of environmental pediatrics and East Asian Medicine we have two primary goals.
Goal #1: Support Vital Organ Functioning
Indigenous medical models, such as EAM, acknowledge that a child’s system is immature and thus vulnerable to environmental harm. For centuries, East Asian Medicine practitioners have defined and used therapies like acupuncture, dietetics, and herbal medicine to help restore balance in children.
In 652 CE, one of the great Chinese Medicine doctors, Sun SiMiao, emphasized the importance of “placing the treatments for women and children first, and those for men and the elderly afterwards. The significance of this structure is that it venerates the root.” (Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang, Essential Formulas Worth a Thousand in Gold to Prepare for Emergencies, Introduction to vol. 5 on Pediatrics). In other words, Sun SiMiao articulated the importance of nurturing life in its early years, in an effort to support a person’s health throughout their entire life span.
Much of the work of pediatric acupuncturists is geared toward strengthening the resolve of the five zang and six fu organs, as well as managing exuberant yang qi. There are myriad ways to approach this of course, but ultimately we are building up the resiliency of infants, children, and adolescents to both treat and prevent illness from exogenous factors.
Goal #2: Heal Elemental Imbalances
Connection to nature is crucial to children’s health. East Asian Medicine is a “nature-based” medical model, where humans are viewed as a microcosm of the macrocosm. That means that the laws of nature apply to human health and happiness. One primary system for understanding children’s health holistically is through the lens of the five elements.
The five element model, or five phase paradigm, states that every child and adult contains the essence of each of the elements – fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. These elements support and control one another in specific ways, and when one element becomes “out of balance” in a child, illness, disease or pathology can result.
Contact with nature helps us bring the elements back into balance. In holistic pediatrics we can “prescribe doses of nature”, in both general and specific ways, to help bring harmony back to elemental imbalances in children. In doing so, we can restore the body-mind-spirit axis of children, and optimize their healing potential.
What Tools Do We Use in East Asian Medicine To Help Kids Heal?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine acupuncture needles into specific locations on the surface of the body. There are over 400 recognized acupuncture “points” on the skin and they each stimulate specific functions in the body.
For many digestive, mood, and immune disorders therapeutic movement can be super helpful to promote healing, including qi gong, tai chi, and yoga for kids.
Herbal MedicineEast Asian Medicine has a vast herbal pharmacopoeia. We often prescribe single herbs and herbal formulas that can help strengthen internal organs, clear deep lying toxins, and reset long-standing imbalances in the body.
Healing touch is highly therapeutic in kids, and can include tuina (pediatric massage), cupping, and gua sha. All of these techniques have been found to enhance detoxification, regulate immune functioning, and reduce inflammation.
Kids are what they eat! EAM practitioners prescribe foods and diets based on both Chinese Dietetics and reflecting the newest research in biochemistry and nutritional science, so children can heal from the inside out.
Stress, screen time, and indoor living is negatively impacting children’s health. In EAM, we advise parents on what behaviors & activities may restore balance to their child’s body-mind-spirit axis.
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