Pediatrics is one of the oldest specialties within Chinese medicine. In TCM pediatrics children are not just considered miniature adults. Rather, children are believed to be immature both physically and functionally, and most of the common pediatric complaints are due to this immaturity.
Chinese medicine holds that because children¹s bodies are immature, and therefore inherently weak, they are susceptible to diseases which affect the Lungs, the Spleen (digestion) and the Liver. This explains why children so often have upper respiratory tract complaints such as colds, coughs, allergies and asthma, as well as digestive disorders like colic, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomachache.
In Chinese medicine, there are four main methods of treating children: diet, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese pediatric massage, and acupuncture. Generally, on the child¹s initial visit, the Chinese practitioner will try to determine whether the child is abnormally hot or cold, whether their qi is sufficient or deficient, and whether there is some substance which needs to be eliminated from the body. The practitioner will look at the child¹s eyes, tongue, skin color and vein at the base of the index finger to tell whether the disease is hot or cold, excess or deficient in nature, how far it has progressed, and how dangerous the condition is. The practitioner will also listen to the quality of the child¹s breathing, voice and speech. Lastly, questions will be asked about this child¹s history. Some questions are the same as Western medicine while others are specific to Chinese medicine.