traditional Chinese medicine for kids

Ultimate Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine for Kids

I am a strong advocate of Traditional Chinese Medicine for kids and paediatric tuina (also tui na, pronounced twee-nah). While living in Beijing and Singapore, I tried all TCM techniques and treatments available. Some out of curiosity, some because I needed help. And it worked for me each time. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Kids

This article, however, focuses on Traditional Chinese medicine for kids, particularly paediatric tuina. Thea and I had very positive experiences with pediatric tuina and want to share and recommend it to other parents. 

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If you live in Singapore, you are in luck. Not only because Singapore is an amazing destination to live in, but also because you have access to a Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic called PULSE TCM. I simply love them and wish there was a clinic of PULSE TCM in New Delhi. If you plan a trip to Singapore, I highly recommend booking an appointment with them.

Currently, there are multiple PULSE TCM clinics conveniently located mostly in Central Singapore. If you have any ailments, I am sure they will be able to help you in some way!  If you have any questions, you can also head to their Ask PULSE portal to ask their physicians questions before deciding on whether to come down for a consultation! 

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine and How Does it Work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine that originated in China. The term “traditional” refers to the fact that it is rooted in ancient Chinese culture, and “Chinese” identifies its geographical origin. It was developed over time by combining various Eastern philosophies with the traditional practices of ancient Chinese physicians. It is based on the idea that the body’s health depends on the balance of vital energy, called Qi which circulates in the body along pathways known as meridians.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can be used for many different purposes such as to improve physical and mental health, and well-being or to prevent illness. Basically, the goal of TCM is to bring the body back into balance and prevent the disease from occurring. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine includes acupuncture, acupressure, tuina massage, cupping therapy, herbal medicine, qigong, and more!

What is the Difference Between TCM and Traditional Western Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic approach to healthcare that uses natural remedies and treatments based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of balancing the body’s Qi. 

Traditional Western Medicine, on the other hand, is a system of diagnosis and treatment that relies on scientific evidence. It focuses on treating disease rather than balancing the body’s Qi.

Most Chinese people prefer their own traditional Chinese medicine to Western medicine. That is mainly because they believe TCM has fewer side effects and a recuperative effect on the body.

How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Work?

Traditional Chinese medicine is an ancient and holistic system of healing that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is based on the idea that the body, mind, and spirit are interconnected. TCM practitioners believe that disease occurs when there are imbalances or blockages in these interconnected systems.

TCM practitioners use a variety of techniques to diagnose and treat illness or injury.

These include taking a patient’s medical history and performing a physical exam. TCM practitioners also use acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet therapy, qi gong (a type of meditation), tuina (a type of Chinese massage), moxibustion (a technique involving heat treatment), cupping therapy (the application of suction cups to the skin for therapeutic purposes) and guasha (the scraping or cutting away of skin tissue).

What to expect during your first visit to the TCM clinic?

The TCM practitioner will take into account your symptoms, check your pulse, observe your tongue, and will then prescribe a course of treatment that might include acupuncture, massage, or herbal remedies to help you feel better.

What is the difference between Tuina and massage?

Tuina and massage are both forms of manual therapy that are used to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
The main difference between the two is that Tuina utilizes traditional Chinese medical techniques such as acupressure, manipulation, massage, and stretching to treat various issues, from physical pain to mental and emotional imbalances.

Massage, however, focuses primarily on physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, knots, or trigger points. Tuina is often used in conjunction with other therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. In contrast, massage is usually used as a standalone treatment.

What is Tuina Massage Therapy?

Tuina massage therapy is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for centuries to prevent various ailments and treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, headaches, chronic pain, and much more.

Tuina is typically performed with the client seated on a mat or bed, clothed in loose-fitting clothes, and wearing no jewelry. The practitioner will use their hands and elbows to apply pressure to specific points on the patient’s body, which can help relieve muscle tension and pain.

Tuina massage therapy for kids (pediatric tuina)

Tuina massage therapy has many benefits for kids because it helps them feel relaxed and calm while also boosting their immune systems. It is believed to be one of the most effective ways to get rid of pain and stress in children.

During a tuina therapy session, the TCM practitioner will apply gentle pressure on required acupuncture points and use specific massage techniques. For example, depending on the treatment, the practitioner will stroke fingers in the direction towards or from the heart. 

Benefits of traditional Chinese medicine & tui na therapy for kids

Pediatric tuina is painless and comes with numerous health benefits. It boosts a child’s immune system and helps to accelerate physical growth and cognitive development (IQ and EQ). These are considered the main three benefits of tuina therapy for kids. 

However, pediatric tuina is also effective in treating very common illnesses and problems. For example, it can help treat or alleviate the symptoms of flu, cough, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, tonsilitis, adenoid hypertrophy, stomachaches, diarrhea, constipation, poor appetite, night crying, bedwetting, slower growth, attention deficit/hyperactivity, and short-sightedness among others. 

Better yet, the TCM practitioner will teach you the massage techniques you can apply at home. For example, if your child has constipation, gently massage their belly around the belly button in circles in clockwise movements. In case of diarrhea, do the same massage but move your hand anti-clockwise. Simple, yet effective. 

Is Tui na massage safe?

Yes, Tuina massage is generally safe for most people. It is considered a safe form of bodywork, as it does not involve any invasive techniques and does not require the use of any drugs or medications. Instead, the practitioner will use a combination of massage techniques and acupressure to manipulate the body’s muscles and soft tissues. This can help to reduce pain, improve circulation, and increase overall well-being.

Pulse TCM clinic in Singapore

I used to go to the PULSE TCM clinic almost weekly. Not because I was sick but because regular acupuncture sessions kept me mentally and physically healthy. It was a sort of therapy for me. Just that instead of talking to someone, I lay on the bed with multiple needles stuck into my body. 

tuina for kids

I’ve been to several TCM clinics in Singapore. However, after my very first visit to PULSE TCM in OUE Downtown gallery, I knew this was the best place. The clinic is modern and super clean, with knowledgeable TCM doctors, good energy, and an onsite dispensary with herbal remedies. 

How can PULSE TCM clinic help your child?

When I learned about pediatric tuina from my TCM doctor, I brought Thea with me. She used to get a runny nose seemingly every other week, so I was hoping that tuina therapy might help boost her immune system. And so it did!

Now the good thing about tuina is that it is totally painless. Unlike acupuncture, there are no needles involved. Some movements feel rather ticklish, so Thea laughed every time we went there. Months went by without any runny noses, and she was one of only a few toddlers who didn’t catch the H1N1 virus during the outbreak in her preschool. 

tuina for kids

Unfortunately, we had to relocate and leave Singapore. This also meant no more PULSE TCM, and our immune systems started weakening. We both got to experience Covid’s delta, omicron, and the original Wuhan version. Thea got swine flu here in India, and I began catching colds like never before.

Our Traditional Chinese Medicine & tui na for kids experience in Singapore

I couldn’t wait to go back to Singapore. Even if it was just for a holiday. I believe it’s not hard to guess which place was listed as the number one to visit during our holidays in Singapore in October 2022. I booked slots for Thea at PULSE TCM. This time we went to the branch located in the Great World City mall. As expected, this branch of PULSE TCM clinic is equally cozy, modern, and clean, with friendly staff and good energy. There even is a small play area for children!

Her physician Ms. Lee Fong was super nice and really took the time to understand her medical history, lifestyle, etc. She listened to Thea’s pulse, checked the tongue, and with the help of various massage techniques worked towards boosting her immunity. She taught me some tuina massage techniques that I have to use on Thea myself and also prescribed TCM herbal remedies. 

PULSE TCM has an informative account on Instagram. They frequently share health tips you can try at home to stay physically and mentally healthy. 

If you are based in Singapore or planning a trip to lion city I highly recommend booking an appointment at the PULSE TCM clinic. Quote RAISINGLITTLETRAVELLERS when booking online or calling to receive a special offer for pediatric tuina sessions! That is $58 for the first pediatric tuina trial (an ala carte price is $98/session). 

Book an appointment at PULSE TCM HERE!

If you have already tried some traditional Chinese medicine treatments for kids, please share your feedback in the comments below!


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