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  • Writer's picturePhysician Lim Chen Sing | 林晨欣

Kid Tuina

What should I do if my child refuses to eat?

Children who refuse to eat or are picky are a major problem for many parents, which is followed by children with bad breath, dry stools, and disturbed sleep at night. In a long period of time, it may lead to malnutrition and physical weakness in children, which can seriously affect their growth and development.



Why do children refuse to eat?

  1. Weak digestive function: Weak digesting function or eating greasy, excessive or indigestible food will easily hinder the function of the spleen and stomach, resulting in accumulation of food, and naturally will not feel hungry.

  2. Repeated menu: Some of the parents did not change the menu, which was unable to mobilize the enthusiasm and interest of children to eat, leading to anorexia in the long run.

  3. Too much interference from parents: Some parents are always worried that their children do not eat enough, or worry about starving, or not growing fat, forced to eat again after meal; or worry about children's ability to eat, force-feeding, resulting in children losing interest in eating.

  4. Eating habits: Some parents give their children snacks or sweet drinks in between meals, which will keep the sugar level maintained at a high level, leading to disappearance of hunger, resulting in loss of appetite.

  5. Others: Lack of exercises, noisy eating environment, loss of appetite due to diseases, micronutrient deficiencies, etc.


Let's try pediatric Tuina!

Pediatric Tuina is a TCM external therapy method that uses various techniques to stimulate acupoints under the guidance of TCM theory, in order to achieve the purpose of adjusting the functions of the viscera, treat diseases and maintain health. From the perspective of TCM, the spleen controls transportation and transformation, the stomach controls storage, the spleen and stomach help with the functions of receiving, digesting and transmitting. If the spleen and stomach function normally, the appetite will be normal, while dysfunction of the spleen and stomach will cause anorexia. Therefore, pediatric Tuina can be used to improve the function of the viscera and promote the digestion function of the spleen and stomach to improve the appetite of children. Pediatric Tuina focuses on the combination of local and overall treatment, such as pushing the spleen meridian and rubbing Zu San Li (ST36) to promote intestinal peristalsis; pushing the Si Heng Wen (Four horizontal lines) to enhance stomach function, in order to increase the child's appetite, and adjust the function of the digestive tract comprehensively.


Besides that, TCM believes that the spleen and stomach are the source of Qi and blood, if loss of appetite for a long time, the Qi and blood will be insufficient, and the ability to resist disease will decrease, which will lead to the occurrence of various diseases. From the perspective of TCM, nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing are mostly related to exogenous pathogens invading the lungs, only when the spleen and stomach function is normal and the nutrients of the food are absorbed, the lung's ability to resist pathogens be enhanced. Hence, pediatric Tuina can also enhance the immunity of children and reduce the chance of illness. At the same time, oral TCM herbs can be used according to the child's constitution to achieve better curative effect.


What is the age of children that is suitable for pediatric Tuina?

Pediatric massage is suitable for children from 3 months to 12 years old. There are some differences in massage techniques and effects for each age group, and children under 6 years old have the best results.



What are the other conditions that can be treated by pediatric Tuina?

  • Respiratory system: Recurrent respiratory infections, cough, asthma, etc.

  • Digestive system: Constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

  • Ophthalmology: rhinitis, chronic laryngitis, etc.

  • Other diseases: enuresis, nocturnal cry, etc.

  • Maintaining health.


Home care

  1. The food given to children: Some parents find that their children do not like to eat, and they chase after to feed or give snacks to children , which increases the burden on the children's spleen and stomach. Parents can try to prevent force feeding, let the child feel ‘hungry’, and then do not feed indigestible foods, such as glutinous rice and snacks during this period, may feed some hawthorn water or malt water. After the child has a feeling of hunger, feeding easily digestible food, such as millet porridge and green vegetable porridge, usually can improve the symptoms of refusing to eat.

  2. Increase the amount of activity: Parents can play some simple, safe games with children, which can promote bowel movements and help the emptying of the stomach.



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