SingaporeMotherhood | Baby & Toddler

April 2024

TCM for Children: Time to Rethink What We Think We Know

Ever wonder if Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) could benefit your child’s health? While it’s been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments in adults, many parents still hesitate when considering it for their little ones. Yet according to Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic’s physician Pee Yun Ting, Anita, TCM can be just as beneficial for kids, and even infants! So could it be simply misconceptions about TCM for children that are holding us back?

Physician Pee addresses some common doubts parents have, while sharing more about the potential benefits of TCM for children. She delves into TCM treatments suitable for babies and kids, explain how they work, and answers key questions about safety and effectiveness. Whether you’re considering TCM for your child or are simply curious about TCM for children, read on!

1. My baby is too young to start TCM treatment.

From the tender age of six months, your baby can embark on a unique journey towards well-being with TCM. Specially formulated herbal remedies, carefully tailored to their delicate constitutions, can further effectively address common infant concerns like digestive discomfort, sleep issues, and skin conditions.

It’s not just about chasing quick fixes for current sniffles and tummy troubles either. But rather, equipping their little bodies with the natural strength to conquer future challenges. This holistic approach starts with the gentle touch of paediatric Tuina, an ancient massage technique that goes beyond soothing. It also nourishes their immune system, eases common discomforts, and even holds promise in managing ADHD symptoms.


2. I should only seek TCM treatment when my child is sick, right?

TCM for children when they are sick

For many, their first encounter with TCM happens when they fall ill. Some turn to TCM when symptoms drag on. This is quite natural since TCM does help alleviate many illnesses by addressing their root causes. However, more than anything else, TCM is about achieving balance within our bodies.

By regulating imbalances within your child’s body, TCM can help enhance their immunity and promote healthy organ function. Therefore, it reduces the likelihood of your child falling ill and allows them to develop healthy bodies and strong minds.

Unlike conventional medicine, which fights fires once they’ve started, TCM acts as a wise builder, addressing underlying imbalances and strengthening health to prevent illnesses before they take root.

3. Getting children to take TCM herbs can’t be easy!

Forget the bitter brew stereotypes! While some Chinese herbs have distinctive flavours, many now come in fun, kid-friendly formats. Think powders that can be sprinkled on snacks or mixed into drinks. Plus, early exposure helps — introducing herbs during childhood can make them more familiar and thus, less intimidating.


4. I’m sure TCM is better suited for adults or at least older kids.

Contrary to popular belief, TCM doesn’t have to wait till the child is older. Just like conventional Western medicine, it boasts a distinct speciality — TCM Paediatrics. Dedicated to addressing the unique needs of infants and young children, this means even the tiniest humans can benefit!

Furthermore, TCM adapts as your child grows. Diagnostic methods consider their evolving development, and TCM physicians meticulously adjust herbal formulas to match their changing constitution. This ensures safe and effective care at every stage of childhood.

Don’t wait; integrate. Excluding children from TCM’s potential benefits solely due to age is a missed opportunity. Early intervention can lay a strong foundation for optimal health and potentially prevent future issues.

5. Okay, but acupuncture is surely not safe for children…

acupuncture needles

Many might think that acupuncture is unsuitable for children, but in reality, it is adept at managing many paediatric conditions. These even extend to neurological disorders such as epilepsy, as well as neurodevelopmental issues such as ADHD.

Children can undergo acupuncture as long as they are able to cooperate with the physician’s instructions during treatment. Naturally, due to safety concerns, physicians generally only administer acupuncture treatments to children when they demonstrate sufficient maturity.


6. Is it true that in TCM, the only way to boost immunity is through TCM herbs?

TCM herbs can indeed help to boost immunity by nourishing our qi. One function of qi is to protect our bodies from external pathogens, also known as 卫气 (wei qi). Our body’s ability to repel pathogens is dependent on the strength of our qi. As the Chinese saying goes, 正气存内,邪不可干 — when there is sufficient healthy qi in the body, pathogenic factors will be unable to invade and harm the body. Using herbs can help our bodies adapt to stress and maintain overall energy, thus supporting immune function.

However, to maintain strong qi and boost overall immunity, a well-rounded approach is key. Other factors, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management, are crucial to further enhance immunity. Other TCM methods can also help to boost immunity, such as stimulating specific acupoints to help regulate qi flow throughout the body.

The journey to a healthy body begins with a balanced constitution from young.

– Physician Pee Yun Ting, Anita @euyansangTCMclinic

TCM is often perceived to be purely based on ancient wisdoms and centuries of tradition — that’s what the T stands for, after all! However, as Physician Pee points out, scientific evidence is increasingly supporting its effectiveness. Through rigorous studies and clinical trials, modern research has validated many TCM practices, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, showcasing their benefits in treating various health conditions. This integration not only highlights the holistic and evidence-based nature of TCM, but also offers promising avenues blending the best of traditional and modern healthcare practices.

Expert Resource

Physician Pee Yun Ting, Anita holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Nanyang Technological University and a Bachelor in Medicine (Chinese Medicine) from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Registered under Singapore’s Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board, she is bilingual and currently practises at Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinics in Bukit Panjang and Clementi.

Featured image: Freepik

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TCM for children via tuina

TCM for Children: Time to Rethink What We Think We Know