More and more parents are turning to an ancient healing practice to treat their children and infants.
Shonishin is a specialized form of acupuncture based on Chinese medical texts written over 2,000 years ago. The technique was refined by Japanese master practitioners and today is used all over the world.
According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture points are located on meridians along which the vital energy-known as "Qi"-flows. In traditional acupuncture needles are used to stimulate the points to release the flow of energy.
Shonishin, however, doesn't involve needles. Treatment consists of using small tools that stimulate the meridians using different techniques to stroke, tap and press the skin. The practitioner's tools are either held over the acupuncture point or brushed gently along the meridian pathways.
The process is delicate enough that kids consider it comfortable, and even pleasurable. Parents are encouraged to be present during the treatment, and infants, in particular, may be held in their parents' arms.
Shonishin has been effectively used to treat common medical conditions, such as earaches, allergies and asthma. It's also a form of treatment for health issues more often associated with adults, including digestive disorders and high blood pressure. Today, it is increasingly being used to treat children with emotional and psychological issues.
In many cases, even a light treatment is enough for children to start seeing positive changes in their health. Chinese medicine attributes this receptivity to children being at the "yang" phase of their existence, which means their Qi moves quickly, and is thus more receptive to treatment.
Because a child's energy lies on the surface, it's easier to access--which is another reason why children tend to respond to treatment faster than adults. Left unregulated, the Qi in children's rapidly developing bodies can overtax their immune systems, leading to health problems.
It is widely known that the stimulation of specific points in the body causes the nervous system to produce endorphins and other natural chemicals and hormones that support the healing process.
Shonishin works in a similar way, helping children fight off infection and disease by treating lurking pathogens- the imprint of illnesses that remain dormant within the body and can disrupt the autoimmune system later in life. These maladies tend to surface when a child is exposed to situations of trauma, stress or anxiety. They can cause long-term, chronic illness or other nonspecific autoimmune disorders.
These days, there are numerous health issues affecting younger generations from birth to adolescence. Often when a child is diagnosed with an ailment there's a rush to respond with medication even though there may be no immediate relief to the symptoms. Parents are faced with a dilemma: they realize that over-medicating their children weakens their immune systems but they don't know what else to do.
The good news is that Shonishin can be used alone or as a supplement to traditional medical care. Of course, it's always advisable for parents to consult their child's pediatrician to determine the best course of action. But it helps to know that there are alternative therapy options to help their children reach a healthier adulthood. And it's never too early to seek them out.
Shonishin is safe and there are no negative side effects. It's also quite common for children receiving Shonishin treatments to show marked improvement in other aspects of their daily lives. By strengthening a child's Qi, it can help restore the wellbeing so essential to good health. Along with a proper diet, and lifestyle changes, it can greatly increase a child's ability to become a healthy adult.
Birch & Ida: Japanese Acupuncture, A Clinical Guide, Paradigm Publications, Brookline, 1998
Birsh, Stephen: Shonishin: Japanese Paediatric Acupuncture, EJOM, vol. 3. No. 6 Winter 2002
Fukushima, Kodo: Meridian Therapy, Toyo Hari Medical Association, Tokyo 1991
Shima, Miki: The Channels Divergences, Deeper Pathways of the Web, Blue Poppy Press, San Francisco, 2002
The copyright of this article is owned by Montserrat Markou, MS., L.Ac., LMT. Permission to republish it in print or online must be granted by the author in writing