List your Practice List a School List an Event Contact Us
Account Login View Cart Cart ($0.00)

Acufinder.com is the leading resource for everything to do with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Asian Medicine. It is the premier Web destination for those seeking health and wellness for themselves and their loved ones through the principles of Oriental Medicine. We are the voice of authority for up-to-date health and wellness information from an Eastern Medicine perspective.

Search for Acupuncturists Search for Acupuncture Schools Search for Acupuncture Events
Explore Acufinder

Learning & Resource Center Articles

Print Page Print Page
Send to a Friend
Bookmark and Share
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.

Children's bio-energetic 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 stimulated, and health problems can progress rapidly.

Shonishin focuses on gentle, specialized, mostly non-inserted treatment techniques that children find comfortable and even pleasurable. Dramatic 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 practice of shonishin pediatric acupuncture. Over the years, many additional 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 stimulation. These techniques harmonize and fortify the child's vital energy, and strengthen the child's constitution.

Shonishin is used to treat a wide variety of problems, including:
  • Failure to thrive syndrome
  • Weak constitution
  • Colic, excessive night crying, temper tantrums
  • Indigestion, GERD, constipation, and diarrhea
  • Night terrors
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Allergies, asthma, and colds
  • Eczema and hives
  • Ear infections
  • Bedwetting
  • Stuttering
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
The specifics of the treatment (frequency, dosage, strength) depend on the practitioner, the age, and condition 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. It's particularly important that the practitioner 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 effectiveness.

Published December, 2007

About the Author:
Brenda Loew, M.Ac., L.Ac., specializes in Japanese-style acupuncture, particularly Toyohari Meridian Therapy, Shonishin (pediatric acupuncture), and Manaka Yin-Yang Channel Balancing Therapy. Brenda has a practice 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 Association. She is President of the National Board of the Toyohari Association of North America (www.toyohari.org).