This article is a short explanation about a special technique used to treat a variety of conditions in children from infancy to adolescence. This technique is called Shonishin.


Shonishin, based on Chinese medicine theory, was developed in Japan around the 17th century. It was developed due to the need for a gentle method to treat children as needles were significally thicker and rougher than what is available today. The term Shonishin literally means in Japanese “children’s needle”.

Shonishin therapy uses non-invasive gentle technique that is well tolerated by babies and young children. It uses a variety of miniature tools that are tapped, rubbed, or pressed onto the body surface. It is a simple, short in duration, non painful and non irritable method. The Shonishin treatment can compliment the use of special acupuncture technique for kids, or used as a stand alone treatment, depending on the childs constitution.

The general treatment can be very useful for fortifying the child’s vital energy and strengthening their constitution. When correctly applied, treatment aims to help symptoms to naturally improve, give a greater sense of well-being, help resolve many other small day to day problems and make the child less prone to illness.

Shonishin may be used to treat a wide variety of health problems. The following list includes the most commonly treated conditions:

  • Attention problems in small and school age children, hyperactivity
  • Dream disturbed sleep
  • Digestive disorders – Diarrhoea or constipation, colic for infants.
  • Allergies
  • Chronic stuffy or runny nose (from repeated colds or allergies)
  • Asthma
  • Weakened immune system – the child that catches colds frequently or has recurrent viral infections
  • Bedwetting
  • Weak constitution including infants with inadequate weight gain, frail    children that are not as active as others
  • Skin conditions: Eczema, rashes
  • Ear infections, usually chronic or repetitive
  • Treatments before and after immunization
  • Recovering after a course of antibiotics

What happens during treatment?

After a discussion of your child’s symptoms and medical history, the pulse is taken and the abdomen is felt, in order to make a diagnosis. Initial treatment consists of a few minutes of stimulating the channels using Shonishin tools. Particular points may then be stimulated to specifically address the underlying root pattern and symptoms. At the end of the treatment a small ‘press sphere’, a tiny round ball bearing (usually gold or silver), or a small press needle, might be placed on the skin that can be left in for a few hours.

Home Therapy

After a couple of treatment, Meirav will also teach you, the parent, how to apply some very important steps at home for your loved child. Parental participation at home enhances the healing process and reinforces effects of the treatment. The home treatment involve a lot of soft caring and touching, which can help both the parents and the child to relax, develop their relationship and reduce the stress for both parents and child in rough times of sickness. Regular daily preventative massage by the parents, may increase circulation of energy (Qi) and blood, and may help strengthen the child immune system. The soothing treatment before bedtime can also help with sleeping problems.

So why do kids need complimentary treatment: 

According to Chinese medicine, children’s digestive systems may not be fully developed correctly. Their system may be sensitive and vulnerable and many diseases at a young age develop due to poor digestive system. Their bodies are rapidly growing, they consume large amounts of energy, and often too much and inappropriate food, which can result in hyper stimulation of the digestive system and deplete its energy which provides fertile ground for health problems. Treatment helps to restore and stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanism, strengthen their digestive system, reduce excess phlegm and clear heat and toxins in their body.

One of the more common complaints parents have, are recurrent colds, particularly throughout winter.  Some children with compromised immune systems will tend to bounce from one cold to the next, continually being exposed to ‘bugs’ at childcare centres and school.  Shonishin is a fantastic treatment option to help strengthen and maintain a child’s immune system.

Note: Regardless of the child’s medical condition, Shonishin should only be administered after you have consulted your medical doctor and is not an alternative for seeking medical advice.

If you are a parent and would like to know more about this treatment option, please contact Meirav Mellzar at Body of Life Health Centre on 02 9453 3046.

Article written by Meirav Mellzar (Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist)