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Shonishin: Acupuncture for Children

By: Brenda Loew, M.Ac., L.Ac.

Shonishin pediatric acupuncture (sho=little, ni=children, shin=needle) is a specialized form of treatment


for infants and children that became renowned in the 1700s in the Osaka region of Japan. To this day,
Japanese parents regularly bring children for shonishin treatment, and the shonishin approach is
increasing in popularity around the world.

Childrens bio-energetc systems are not fully formed and, being at the most yang phase of their
existence, their energy (Qi) moves extremely rapidly. Consequently, children s systems can be easily over
stmulated, and health problems can progress rapidly.

Shonishin focuses on gentle, specialized, mostly non-inserted treatment techniques that children find
comfortable and even pleasurable. Dramatc results can be obtained even with very light treatment.

The ancient classics of China, such as the Ling Shu, describe nine types of needles, several of which were
clearly never intended to pierce the skin. Three of these non-inserted needles the enshin, the teishin,
and the zanshin are considered basic to the practce of shonishin pediatric acupuncture. Over the
years, many additonal tools and supplementary techniques have been designed specifically for pediatric
therapy.

Shonishin techniques involve rhythmic stroking, rubbing, tapping, and pressing the skin to give different
kinds of gentle stmulaton. These techniques harmonize and fortfy the child s vital energy, and
strengthen the childs consttuton.

Shonishin is used to treat a wide variety of problems, including:

Failure to thrive syndromeWeak consttutonColic, excessive night crying, temper tantrumsIndigeston,


GERD, constpaton, and diarrheaNight terrorsAttenton deficit hyperactvity disorder (ADHD)Allergies,
asthma, and coldsEczema and hivesEar infectonsBedwettingStutteringCerebral palsySpina bifida

The specifics of the treatment (frequency, dosage, strength) depend on the practtoner, the age, and
conditon of the child, among other factors. Treatments for children are actually very brief: a typical
treatment generally lasts only one to five minutes. Generally speaking, the older the child, the longer the
treatment. Its partcularly important that the practtoner develops a touch (and a heart) that a child
responds to!
The key to successful Shonishin treatment is less is better. The beauty of Shonishin is its simplicity,
gentleness, and effectveness.

Published December, 2007

About the Author:

Brenda Loew, M.Ac., L.Ac., specializes in Japanese-style acupuncture, partcularly Toyohari Meridian
Therapy, Shonishin (pediatric acupuncture), and Manaka Yin-Yang Channel Balancing Therapy. Brenda
has a practce in Seattle and Whidbey Island, Washington where she also teaches at Bastyr University.
She has studied Toyohari Meridian Therapy since 1994, with advanced studies in the U.S., Europe, and
Japan, and is an approved U.S. instructor for the Toyohari Associaton. She is President of the Natonal
Board of the Toyohari Associaton of North America (www.toyohari.org).