Don’t sweat the small stuff

It’s been a stressful and scary week. My daughter has had a nasty virus that involved 3 days of very high fever. Followed by breaking out in loads of mouth ulcers. She spent today signing and grunting because she literally couldn’t speak as her tongue is too swollen.

If you have kids, its part of the territory. I bumped into a Mum at Tesco’s last week with 3 kids all poorly at the same time. I thought it was tough with just one.

It has been rough for lots of reasons. A big one is that I have felt like a bad Mom, too impatient, not compassionate enough. The reality is that when you are dog tired, have had three sleepless nights in a row you are bound to be a little more cranky than usual.

I found it very frustrating that during the high fever moments I just couldn’t do anything. There are things I know to do to reduce fever as a practitioner. But, what do you do when your child won’t let you practice your expertise? I tried to sneak a plaster (with an even sneakier teensy needle) on her while she slept. Nothing gets past this kid. She woke up straight away!!!!!!

What did I learn this week?

Christ! Whilst doing the ironing I had an almost epiphany. We can spend a lot of time moaning at our kids for all the things you want them to do or do differently.

One of my pet hates is when my daughter wants to dress inappropriately. You can picture the scene. It’s freezing outside and they appear in a dress that you know is clearly meant for summer. It pushes your buttons big time, for the zillionth time as you repeat yourself that its too cold. Blah, blah, blah.

Well as I ironed one of the ‘inappropriate’ items. I actually just yearned to see her running around in it. Even if it is too cold.

It reminded me of a great friend’s advice one time.  Whatever you do, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!

In the moment, it always seems important. In the grand scheme of things, it rarely is. Eat your dinner. Do your coat up. Put your hat on. The list is endless.

Do you sweat the small stuff ? Care to share?





What is Shonishin?

I am an acupuncturist and have been writing a lot about Shonishin recently so, I thought it best to explain more about what it is. Sho little ni children shin needle is Japanese Pediatric Acupuncture. It has been practised in Japan since the 1300’s, originating in the Osaka Region of Japan. It feels important to say that I do not needle young children. I know most parents would not think of taking their child to an acupuncturist.

Shonishin recognises that children do not like needles and has instead developed specific techniques, many of which are non-invasive and therefore not frightening to the child. The meridians and acupuncture points are stimulated by gently stroking, rubbing or tapping with a variety of tools. Without penetration the skin, these different kinds of stimulation have a strong therapeutic effect.

Shonishin uses a wide range of treatment tools. These gentle techniques of tapping, stroking, rubbing and pressing stimulate the meridian system in a safe, pain-free & effective way. These techniques enable the practitioner to treat babies and young children without the need to insert needles.

What happens during the treatment?

We discuss your child’s medical history and their condition. The actual treatment is not that long, less than 10 minutes of stimulating the channels using Shonishin tools. Particular points may then be stimulated to specifically address the underlying imbalance. At the end of the treatment a small ‘press sphere’, a tiny round ball bearing might be placed on the skin that can be left on until the next day.

Home Therapy

Shonishin is a whole treatment system for your child. Whilst some of these techniques can only be done by an acupuncturist, some techniques can also be taught to parents to use at home.

This is the beauty of Shonishin for me as a practitioner as sometimes I can teach parents how to do home treatments. This is incredibly empowering for parents as they are then able to assist their child . In this way as well, the efficacy of the overall treatment improves if the parents are also treating in between their treatment with me.
Scope of Shonishin
The general treatment can be very helpful for supporting your child’s vital energy and health. When correctly applied, Shonishin is very relaxing and gives a sense of well-being.

What can Shonishin treat

It is very effective in treating:

  • irritability, hyperactivity, tantrums and insomnia
  • Night terrors
  • Digestive issues – colic in babies, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation, poor appetite or over eating
  • Respiratory and ear, nose and throat problems – bronchial asthma, chronic nasal congestion or a running nose, often related to allergies and diet
  • Tonsillitis and ear infections
  • Bedwetting
  • Eczema
  • Low immunity – catching colds frequently
  • Stuttering and stammering

Shonishin is very effective. If you have any queries about how it can help please contact me.

Is your child cranky?

A Mum approached me in the school playground this morning.

“I wonder if you could help.”

Uh oh! Its 2 minutes to 9. I am rushing my daughter in for her last day. She has been off all week with a nasty stomach bug.

Fortunately, my partner is also there this morning for the weekly school session on behaviour. As luck had it, I unusually had some ‘Hummingbird Children’s Clinic’ leaflets on me. The rest of my family rushed off leaving me to chat with the Mum after handing her a leaflet.

Her eyes quickly ran down the list of things that the treatment I offer can assist with. ” Yep, yep, yep he’s got that.” She affirmatively commented with a tad of relief.

I looked into the push chair and attempted to joke with a grumpy tear-stained face. Doh! Somebody is ticking all the boxes for what the Japanese refer to as kanmushisho. To the layperson, that just means the irritable child. This can manifest in many ways such as insomnia, crying for no apparent reason, clingyness, night terrors, bad mood, cries a lot, biting people, abdominal bloating due to over-eating, temporary fever, vomiting milk, diarrhea, runny nose, stuffy nose. OK the list is pretty endless and I could have on.

I’m sure as a parent that your child will have fallen into one of these categories at one time or another.

When they do go through one of these phases it can be hard to see an end to it. As the Mum of the toddler this morning said, she finds it hard because her son is clingy, it is difficult to get anything done, he won’t go to her partner when he is there, she also feels like she is neglecting her other older son.

It’s tricky sometimes. And at the risk of sounded clichéd, it can seem like catch 22.

This can arise through a general over-sensitivity within the child to various stimuli (environmental, nutritional, emotional etc.).

This could be something as simple as :

– my child doesn’t like loud noises

– they hate the sound of running water

– they want to turn the lights off or down

– they get really upset when anyone shouts

– they have a reaction to dairy products

In the Japanese view, behavioural issues are a manifestation of kanmushisho.

These days we talk about the “terrible twos,” there is almost an expectation that the behaviour of the child will change at age 2.

In the older, pre-school age child, the symptoms manifest differently. It can include the child whom is easily distracted or who finds it difficult to concentrate.

More extreme cases are where we see diagnoses of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In many cases even a light treatment sees positive effects. This is because, in a baby or young child their energy lies on the surface. In Chinese Medicine we attribute this receptivity to children as they are more in the “yang” phase of their life.

Also because the child’s energy is more on the surface, it is easier to access.

It is widely known that the stimulation of specific acupuncture points in the body causes the nervous system to produce endorphins (the feel good factor) and other natural chemicals and hormones. This process supports a healthy immune system.

Shonishin works in a similar way, it can help children to fight off infection (and lurking pathogens i.e. nasties) by building their immune system. The imprint of illnesses that remain dormant within the system can disrupt the autoimmune system in later life.

Shonishin can be used alone or alongside more conventional medical treatment. Of course, it is always advisable to consult with you GP if you have any concerns about your child’s overall health. It can also help to know that there are alternative ways of approaching health issues you may be dealing with.

Shonishin is safe and there are no negative side effects. By strengthening a child’s energy (Qi) it can assist in restoring their wellbeing towards being in good health. Along with a good diet and sometimes some lifestyle changes, I believe it can really assist our young people towards being healthier adults.

If you have any queries about your child’s health or questions about this article, feel free to email me on