Vaccinations have helped reduce infectious diseases that used to be common or even fatal at times among infants and small children. However, many parents often have questions and concerns about vaccinations. It is important to work with your pediatrician, in addition to utilizing natural healing modalities such as acupuncture and herbal therapy, so you can support your children in a holistic, comprehensive way. In the United States, the recommended schedule of vaccinations by the American Academy of Pediatrics requires vaccinations as early as upon birth and continues until age 16. The vaccination schedule is most rigorous during the first year of infancy. Although severe and adverse effects of vaccines are considered rare, mild to moderate vaccine reactions happen anywhere from 1% to 30% of the time. Although these symptoms can be self-limiting, they can be uncomfortable and debilitating to your baby and children. These symptoms can include fever, lethargy, poor feeding, lack of appetite, irritability and fussiness, insomnia, headache, stomach pain, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, rash, and susceptibility for contracting a new respiratory infection.
Parents often ask:
“Dr. Kumiko, my baby has to get his vaccinations soon. Is there anything Chinese medicine can do to help?”
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy can provide an effective, natural support for the immune system of baby and children so their body can process the vaccines in an effective and healthy way.
“How is acupuncture helpful with my baby’s vaccinations?”
Vaccinations are designed to help create certain immunity to specific viruses, bacteria, and micro-organisms that can cause serious illness. One challenge is that an infant’s immune system is naturally immature. For this reason, it is often difficult to predict how the baby’s body would react and handle the vaccines, especially when multiple vaccines are given at the same time. Acupuncture has been shown to help boost immune functions and help clear inflammatory responses efficiently.
“How does acupuncture for babies and children work?”
Pediatric acupuncture has been practiced for many centuries. At the Tao of Wellness, we have special tools so that the acupuncture session is easy and effective for babies and children. The tools we use include pediatric acu-pens and pediatric acu-stickers. These tools provide a quick and comfortable treatment experience. In fact, pediatric acupuncture sessions only take a few minutes, followed by resting time if it is for older children.
“My baby already has challenges of colic and eczema. I am worried about challenging his immune system even more with vaccinations.”
For those babies who already have inflammatory digestive or immune system related challenges, we recommend for them to get acupuncture treatments as early as possible to address these constitutional challenges. In this way, when they get vaccines, their immune and nervous systems are dealing with less inflammation and stress. Pediatric acupuncture and herbal therapies are very effective in healing eczema, as well as digestive issues such as colic.
“When should I bring in my baby to get the most benefits from acu-vaccine support?”
We recommend your baby’s vaccine support acupuncture session to be 24 to 48 hours before the vaccination, followed by another acu-session within 24 to 48 hours after the vaccination.
“Can my baby take herbal tinctures? How do they help?”
At the Tao of Wellness, we have a line of pediatric herbal tinctures for immune and anti-inflammation support, in addition to addressing other specific symptoms such as rash and fever. These herbal remedies are in liquid form, so it is easy for babies and children to take. The herbal tinctures can help alleviate vaccine related reactions if they occur, as well as help prevent discomfort from the reactions.
Whatever the needs are for your child, we at the Tao of Wellness are here to help so they can stay healthy, strong, and happy!