Did you know that remedies for your child’s most common ailments may be no further than your own two hands? Yes, acupressure can be your go-to remedy for a host of conditions, such as cough, constipation and sleep problems. The great thing about acupressure is that once you learn some basic points and techniques you will have effective, gentle and time-honored treatments literally on-hand for whenever your little one gets sick. Children are especially easy to treat with acupressure because their energies are still very pure and unburdened by years of toxicity. With children a small amount of acupressure can have a great therapeutic effect.
There are 363 acupressure points on the regular acupuncture channels and countless extra points, so how does a parent choose what points to use? It is very important to get a reliable acupressure reference guide that has easy to read point location descriptions and that also has recommendations for specific point protocols for the most common pediatric ailments. Another excellent strategy is to have a consultation with a pediatric acupuncturist and then have them teach you the right points to do for your child’s specific condition. Once you know the right points, then you’ll have the power to help your own child anytime and anywhere.
There are three easy acupressure massage techniques that any parent can easily learn. The first is to locate the point and simply hold down on it, as if your finger were an acupuncture needle. The second is to locate the point and then massage it in small circles, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The third is to locate the point and then stroke the area back and forth. This generally works best for points on the arms and legs. Remember that with acupressure you are massaging a general area and that pinpoint precision is not as important as it would be with an acupuncture needle.
Acupressure can be done with either finger pressure or with a metal tool. Most pediatric acupuncturists will stimulate the acupressure points using a metal shonishin device. The reason for the use of a metal tool is that it conducts the Qi or energy of the body more efficiently than finger pressure alone. This is why acupuncture needles are made of metal. For a DIY acupressure tool you can use a coin, ring or other smooth metal object. Some babies and children don’t like to be massaged with a metal tool though, so for them standard finger pressure will also be effective, just double the amount of time that you spend on each point. Ultimately, the most important thing is that the acupressure points are being massaged so however you can do it is just fine.
As soon as a baby is old enough to turn over and crawl, then administering an acupressure treatment can become quite a challenge. While you will want them to be still for a few minutes, all they will want to do is be on the move. To get the acupressure done will require some savvy parenting on your part, but just as with diaper changes and necessary medications, you can find a way to do it. It is usually best to put your baby in a high chair or car seat so that they are somewhat restrained during their treatment. Another idea is to go into the bathroom and close the door. To engage them in the actual massage you can put stickers on the points or write on the points and then wash them off.
The time that you spend giving your child an acupressure treatment is a precious opportunity to exchange not only your technique and skill, but also your love. As you massage the points concentrate your attention on the present moment and visualize what you are seeking to accomplish. Intention trumps technique. So while knowing what you are doing is important, it is also equally important that your heart takes part in the treatment.
You are actually the best person to give your child an acupressure session because they already love and trust you. They won’t cry or protest at the acupressure massage because they already know your touch and trust in your kind intent to help them. Once you know the points and technique you will be fully equipped to give your child a gentle treatment that will help to alleviate their ailments in the sanctity of your own home and nursery.
If your acupressure point protocols are obtained from a reference book and you aren’t noticing a positive improvement in your child’s condition within two to three treatments, then consider consulting a pediatric acupuncturist for a more thorough diagnosis and treatment plan. Most children will respond well to the general recommendations found in a reference guide, but if they don’t, then you can hand the reins over to a professional and follow their suggestions at home.
Children respond quickly to acupressure and this positive response can sometimes cause parents to get carried away and over-treat their kids. It is best to treat chronic conditions once a day and acute conditions twice a day. Chinese Medicine is designed to ignite the body’s own healing energy, so overkill is not necessary. With kids the adage is, “Less is more.”
Start simple with your acupressure sessions with your child. Pick one condition and treat that for a week. Use two or three points and then add more as needed. Sometimes when one condition is cleared, then other co-existing problems will also disappear. So go slow and see what happens.
If your child is tired, hungry, or in a bad mood, then postpone the treatment until another time. There is no reason for your child to make the association between the acupressure and their negative state. Wait and administer the acupressure later.
There is nothing esoteric or complicated about practicing acupressure on your children. Anyone can do it with some simple instruction and then it is literally in your hands for whenever it is needed. It is an effective, inexpensive, and natural remedy with a tradition that spans several thousand years so you can have confidence in its ability to help with the most basic pediatric complaints. So add acupressure to your parenting bag of tricks - you have nothing to lose and your child has a lot to gain.
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