Treating Children with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Children’s bodies are far more sensitive than adults and don’t have fully developed immune systems, so they are more susceptible to certain illnesses that adults have outgrown. By taking a look at the 5 organ systems we can see how certain issues manifest in the body and how to treat them properly.
The spleen controls the proper digestion. For children, having a good digestion is perhaps the most important factor for good health, since the nutrients from food becomes the source of the energy and blood for the body. If the spleen is weak, the child will not be able to create enough blood for the heart, which affects the mind, leading to insomnia, dizziness, and poor memory. The child may feel lethargic, bloated, and have diarrhea. Excessive worry will damage the spleen’s function and poor functioning of the spleen can lead to worry.
The lungs are also very important for children’s health because they control the defensive aspect of immune system function. Through our food, drinks, and air we breathe, we create not only our nutrients for the blood, but also the immune system of defense. If your child gets seasonal allergies, runny nose, frequently catches colds, their lung system may need a boost. Sadness is said to harm the lungs and poor lung function, manifesting as low vitality, may lead to sadness. A healthy digestion with healthy immune system and the child will almost certainly be guaranteed to be healthy, strong, and full of vital energy.
The liver is in charge of storing and filtering blood and releasing it to the rest of the body. This allows the it to move all the energy throughout the body, which helps to ensure all bodily processes are working properly. Especially digestion. If the spleen is retaining too much dampness, the liver may have trouble moving energy properly, furthermore, if the liver is stressed and stagnated, caused by emotional upset and burden, the digestive organs will be the first to feel it and may lead to diarrhea, frequent nausea or burping, or distention in the abdomen. When children have violent temper tantrums, the liver energy has gone out of control and may need balancing by effectively moving energy. Exercise and shouting may help release energy. Water is the mother of Wood (Liver), so by nourishing water for the body by eating more fish oils and spending more time in water, may help the liver to better store blood and move the body’s energy.
The kidneys control the growth and development of children, from hair, teeth, bones and brain function. This system is typically the last to form both prenatally and is still developing in childhood, it is often deficient. A deficiency of the kidney water will often look like restlessness and hyperactivity, which many children suffer from. Kidneys metabolize water and frequent bed wetting may be a sign the kidneys need balancing. Additionally if the spleen is not digesting food and fluids well, it may burden the kidneys to try and do more than they are used to. In this case there may be water retention or a dark complexion with dark circles under the eyes.
The heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The blood helps keep all bodily functions active. It is the material basis for the mind which keeps us calm, with good memory and clear cognition. This is reflected in a healthy facial complexion. This is called shen, the waking consciousness of the person, which is dependent on a healthy blood supply. The shen gives us the ability to have dreams of the heart, for the future we wish for. The heart is often stressed in children in times of any emotional stress, which may lead to restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. It is important to help balance this over flaring fire energy, by nourishing the water of the kidneys. Therefore balancing the heart and kidneys within all people, but especially with children is vital for healthy mental - emotional health and wellbeing.