In general, natural healing is milder and slower to get results than drugs and surgery. Therefore, natural treatments are most effective when they are used regularly over time. Short, repetitive acupoint treatments will have the most impact on your child’s condition. This pattern of treatment gives you multiple chances to observe your child’s reactions and to make adjustments.
- Pathway: Sensory
- Participants: Adult and child
- Location: Indoors, a calming location
- Time: As long as you need
- Things you will need: Soft, comfortable surface (sofa, bed, blanket); Essential oils diluted with a plant-based carrier oil (optional)
Preparing yourself to treat your child
Babies and children are sensitive to their environment. When you work on your child, you share her energy field and state of mind, so it is helpful for you to remain calm and centered. Here are some guidelines for preparing to perform acupoint massage:
- Ensure the room you are using is warm. Use a blanket for cover, if needed.
- Make sure your fingernails are cut short and your hands are clean.
- Sit quietly for four to five minutes and breathe deeply, with your attention on your breath.
- Rub your hands together to warm them while thinking healing, loving, and positive thoughts.
- Use touch as a way of connecting with your baby and helping her relax.
Preparing your child for treatment
A daily massage can provide your child with tactile stimulation, increase her body awareness, soothe her, and strengthen her bond with you. You will most likely use acupoint massage when she is sick or not feeling well, so the atmosphere will differ from that of your daily-care massages. Your baby’s state of mind helps determine the effectiveness of the treatment; you can help her relax and open up to acupoint massage by starting with gentle massage. Here are some steps to calm your child so that she feels safe, comfortable, and receptive during treatment:
- Position your child on a sofa, bed, blanket, or mat on the floor, and make sure she is comfortable.
- Make sure she is warm enough (but not hot). Remember, “warm feet, cool head.”
- Calm your child with gentle massage strokes on the back of her head, on her forehead, and around the upper sides of her ears.
- Massage down her arms, legs, and back with soothing, gentle strokes from the top to the bottom of her body to help her relax and reorient her energies.
Acupoint massage treatment
Because babies and children are smaller than adults, stimulating specific points is not as important as working in the general area of the points. Your child’s body is flexible, and her chi energy is at the surface of the skin, so a light touch is usually enough. The younger your baby, the lighter the touch—an older child can handle more pressure. Watch your child’s response to make sure that you are not pressing too hard. Focus on lightly pressing your finger in a circular motion on an acupoint rather than applying strong pressure; your treatment should not be painful for her.
Depending on your child’s condition, you can do this two or more times a day. When performing acupoint treatments, it is helpful to know that in East Asian medicine, the outside of your child’s body is considered to be yang, while the inside is considered yin. Her yang outer body is stronger and tougher; it is a protective shield for her yin—the vulnerable inside of her body.
The yang meridians are on the back of her body and move downward in the following order: head, back, backs of arms, buttocks, backs of legs, and outsides of legs. The yin meridians for the inside of her body move upward in this order: insides of legs, front of body, and insides of arms. Therefore, for general therapeutic massage, massage her body in the direction of the flow of energy—down her back and up her front. The meridians are based on the position of the arms being raised above her head.
In East Asian massage practice, your baby’s hara (belly) is the center of her body. Rub her abdomen in a clockwise circle—the same direction as the flow of the intestines. You can assist in moving and unblocking your child’s stagnated, weak, or excessive energy through massage. By being in close contact with her and listening to her body, you can develop your understanding and intuition about her condition.
- Listen to your child’s body with your hands and fingers to assess warmth, coldness, tightness, and looseness.
- Generally, make massage strokes in the directions of her meridians. Yang meridians go down, and yin meridians go up.
- Use one, two, or three fingers for massaging a point, depending on the size of the area and the size of your fingers.
- Use a firm but gentle touch.
- For a mild effect, rub the area gently. For a stronger effect, move your fingers in a circular motion.
- Massage each point or area for 30 to 60 seconds.