Friday, August 3, 2012

Treating children with five element acupuncture

I love passing on heartening news about the results of simple five element treatments.  And this latest anecdote, from the practice of a friend of mine, encouraged me to think a little more about our approach to treating children.

An 11-year old girl suffering from severe migraine came for treatment.  The practitioner felt that her element was Fire, and this is the first treatment she was given:

AE drain (great deal of AE on Lung, Heart Protector and Heart)
Source points of Outer Fire, VI (TH) 4 and V (HP) 7

The migraines stopped completely the day after treatment, and have not recurred since.  She will be given one more treatment in a few weeks’ time (summer seasonal:  VI 6 (TH 6) and V 8 (HP 8)), and will come back for occasional top-up treatment if necessary.

The migraines started after she moved school, leaving many of her close friends behind.  She was also now being bullied by another child.  All this meant that her Fire element was suddenly placed under a great deal of stress with which it could not cope.  Hence the migraines and hence, too, the Aggressive Energy.

This made me think about the treatment I have given children, and why I have always, without exception, found Aggressive Energy to be there, and often a surprising amount of it for such young children.  This then set me thinking about AE in general, and what its presence signifies.  So why so much AE in children, when very sick adults may not have any?

I like to think that this may be because in children the imbalances are usually still at a fairly superficial stage, and have not had time to infiltrate deep within the elements.  We were always told that AE was the result of one element under stress flinging the negative energy which is weakening it across the K’o (Ke) cycle to its grandchild element in an attempt to avoid harming its own child element.  If the element under stress (which does not need to be the guardian element) has sufficient energy to get rid of negative energy in this way, it is still strong enough to maintain a good level of energy.  An AE drain may therefore help to deal with the first attack on the elements, and it may be that it is only when elements are deeply weakened that more sustained treatment at a deeper level is required.

When we treat children, we use exactly the same five element protocols as for adults, but we use less of them and treat far less often.  We don’t need to treat children more frequently than once in two weeks, even at the start of treatment, and then only for a few treatments, spreading treatments out more quickly than for adults.  We also use less moxa on the points (though children will be fascinated by moxa if you show a cone being heated on yourself first to calm them).  We also needle on one side of the body only, to reduce the stress for a child, except in the case of the AE drain and Entry/Exit blocks.

We also have to get used to needling a struggling child!  I use short needles, and always hold the needles carefully covered by my hand so that the child doesn’t see them.  It is important to needle quickly, and not delay things by trying to talk a child through its fear, as you would with an adult.  With the AE drain, if the child is young enough I ask the parent to take the child on their lap, and hold the child very firmly as I insert the needles.  The needles often fall out when the child struggles, so have a good supply to hand. 

And pulse-taking in these circumstances is also quite difficult!  So we do our best with whatever information we have.  Obviously, too, we have to learn about the child not only by observing it ourselves for as long as we can, but by talking to the parent(s)/guardian.  Again, obviously, this should if possible be done when the child is not present.  A phone call or meeting before the first treatment, in which we ask the parent/guardian the kind of questions we would ask an adult at the TD (Traditional Diagnosis) is essential to give us a picture of what is going on with the child and the family’s approach to this.

What is interesting, though, is that children themselves respond very quickly to the effects of treatment.  Though they may shriek or struggle a bit, the little child who makes a terrible fuss about the actual needling will often be the one who rushes into the practice room and greets me with a kiss, as though it knows I have helped them. 

The important thing is always to bear in mind that the reason why a child needs treatment is, as we know, not simply because of something physical, but, as with any patient we treat, inevitably has a deeper emotional cause.  All those terrible cortisone inhalers now lined up on primary school shelves which the young children are told to take for their asthmas could be thrown away if only people realized the stress their children’s Metal elements are placed under in this modern world.  When we are asked to treat children, therefore, we must always look beyond the child first to the parent(s), and then beyond the parent to the world in which the child lives. 

Usually, unfortunately, we are not asked to treat the parent, although we can clearly see that this is where the trouble lies.  In the case of this young girl, it seems that her parents may not appreciate how much the change of school and the bullying is affecting their child, and are not acting to support the child’s Heart Protector in a way that will help it protect itself from the bullying.  As we know, bullies always pick on a child which shows weakness, so the stronger her Heart Protector becomes, the more it will be able to stand up for itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment