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Food & Health

Things To Know About Traditional Chinese Medicine For Your Children

Healing doesn’t always have to happen through prescription drugs alone, especially if your child has a hard time taking medicines. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is backed by thousands of years of practice, and being able to withstand the test of time makes it worth trying out.

We spoke with Senior Physician Qi Xiao Yan of Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic on how parents and children can stay healthy before traveling through different TCM treatments, especially this March school holiday season!

#1 How can a paediatric massage help boost immunity?

First, let’s understand the concept of qia life force or energy that serves crucial functions such as vitality, defense, and nourishment. In TCM, the spleen produces qi and supports life. The lung receives this nourishment, transforms it to defensive qi, and distributes to the surface of the body. This explains why the lung governs the immune system. Disease occurs when qi is deficient or its flow is obstructed.

TCM believes that acupoints or certain areas on the body surfaces are connected to the inner organs through network channels called meridians. Through the stimulation of these areas via paediatric massage, a physician is able to regulate the organ functions, treat, and/or prevent diseases. Paediatric massage is suitable for those ranging from 6 months to 7 years old. A physician may also recommend herbal prescription for the patient depending on his/her condition.

In the case of mothers or adults, Eu Yan Sang has herbal prescription or acupuncture to achieve that.

#2 What is moxibustion and how does it boost one’s immunity?

Moxibustion involves the combustion (burning) of the dried mugwort (moxa) herb. According to TCM pharmacopeia, mugwort has warm and pungent properties, and with the addition of heat production from the burning process, it improves circulation and flow of qi. Think of it as adding fuel to an empty oil tank.

#3 How does acupuncture restore the body’s natural ability to heal? Is it safe for children?

Through acupuncture and the various manipulation techniques, we are able to boost qi production by revitalising weakened organs or promote the flow of qi by eliminating stagnation.

We typically do not perform acupuncture on young patients as they are incapable of staying still throughout the entire procedure and are often fearful of needles. Nevertheless, TCM has various treatment methods that a physician may use, depending on the varying circumstances.

As TCM is a holistic approach, everyone may react differently to treatment depending on age, nutritional level, existing medical conditions, etc. Some may need just one to two sessions while others may require more. Patient is advised to revisit for a review, and the physician will advise patient accordingly.

#4 Compared to Western medicine, how effective is TCM in providing relief to various ailments?

The aim of both medicines is to alleviate pain and sufferings and to enhance the quality of life. It is difficult to standardise or comment on the efficacy of TCM as two different persons suffering from the same condition may end up with very different herbal prescription. This stems down to the holistic and individualised approach of TCM. There is no one-size-fits-all formulation.

The choice is with the patient. As a healthcare provider, our job is to inform the patient of various treatment methods or alternatives and the patient is expected to give his/her informed consent. For example, a person diagnosed with cancer may rely solely on Western medicine (chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, etc), but he/she may include TCM. TCM can complement different phases of cancer treatment, such as boosting one’s immunity and body constitution before surgery, alleviating adverse reaction from chemotherapy/radiotherapy, etc. It is still always best to consult a doctor when symptoms persist. 

Young children often respond positively to TCM treatments. Since we avoid performing acupuncture on young patients, we still have herbal prescription and paediatric massage as options for them.  

#5 Does TCM’s benefits extend to both adults as well as young children?

Yes, TCM treatments would benefit both adults and children. TCM is a form of empirical science that is based on observation and experimentation. Ancient literatures were written and recorded based on countless clinical trials. The passing down of these books laid down the fundamentals for today’s physicians and are again put to test through feedback from patients.  

The treatment method will be based on the type and severity of medical conditions and do not differ drastically for both adults and children.

Do you have a question or experience with TCM? Let us know in the comments section and our physicians from Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic will be glad to help!

The article was written by Senior Physician Qi Xiao Yan of Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic @ Bedok MRT Station / Hougang Mall and Eu Yan Sang TCM Wellness Clinic @ Plaza Singapura.