I have 2-year-old twin boys, Daniel and Jack. When my smaller one, Jack, was 3 months old, he suffered from colic after breastfeeding almost once a day. When he was in pain, he would cry and his belly would be very tight to the touch. I began to massage his abdomen beside the belly button three to five times on both sides; after a minute or so of loud crying, he would gradually calm down and then immediately fall asleep. I found this ancient massage technique to be very helpful, and after about two weeks of massage combined with Chinese herbs, the colic never returned.
This technique is called Na Du Jiao, which means "Grasping Belly Corner," and it is one of the numerous massage techniques of Chinese Pediatric Tuina (traditional massage). Chinese pediatric tuina has been applied for more than 1,000 years in China. Its popularity has grown in the last 300 to 400 years.
Pediatric massage is applied on specific points of various parts of the body, such as the face, abdomen, back and extremities, depending on the disorder. Lotion can be used to protect the skin and ease the treatment. Each session lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. In most cases, the treatment should be given once a day or every other day. Since the pediatric tuina technique is simple, parents are encouraged to learn and practice some of the major techniques, so they can repeat the treatments at home.
In Chinese medicine, children are regarded with "pure Yang constitution," which means they grow and develop fast in physique and intelligence. At the same time, they are also "young Yang and Yin constitution," meaning they have imperfect organic function and physical bodies-which is why they get sick easily, especially with digestive and respiratory problems. As a parent, it often seems that stomach aches (bloating, vomiting, nausea, constipation and diarrhea) or colds (coughing, asthma and allergies), as well as bed-wetting and nighttime crying, are ubiquitous during childhood.
Pediatric tuina is designed to be a safe manual therapy; it is gentle, without side effects, and ideal to relieve most discomforts experienced during childhood. In addition, it is also excellent at preventing other diseases. Providing regular and simple pediatric tuina to children can strengthen their digestive and immune systems and support their natural body constitution. Children who have picky appetites or easily catch colds are great candidates for pediatric tuina. It is most effective for children from birth to 7 years old. For older kids, acupuncture is a good combination as well. A lot of times, a Chinese herbal formula is suggested to be combined to provide even better and faster results.
Before providing a pediatric tuina treatment, make sure a child does not come to a session on an empty or full stomach. Also, make sure the child rests after treatment.