Pediatric Tuina Massage for Cough
There are five basic tuina massage techniques you can use to treat your child’s cough, no matter what kind they have: wet, dry, hacking, barking, whooping or tickley. Pediatric tuina massage is 100% safe to use in newborns, infants, toddlers and children up to age 12, although it is most effective in children 5 and under. In addition to massage for cough, I recommend reviewing our post 7 Ways to Treat a Cough Your Pediatrician Won't Tell You About. Before you get started, make sure the room where you will do the massage is warm, your nails are trimmed and you have talcum powder or massage oil to prevent chafing. If you’re new to pediatric tuina massage please refer to my Pediatric Tuina Massage Guide for Parents for more information and our basic instructional video. Most of these techniques recommend rubbing 100 - 500 times which seems like a lot. However, these massage techniques are rapidly repeated so it only takes 45 seconds to a few minutes to massage fully. Sometimes it's easier to use a timer to keep track of how long you've been massaging than how many times you've rubbed spot.
Line Pressing on the Ring Finger This technique stimulates the immune system and supports healthy lung function. This massage can be performed on either ring finger. You only need to massage one finger, although you can massage both ring fingers if you like. Start at the crease of the second knuckle and rub in a line towards the tip of the finger and then lift and repeat. For ages infant to 2 years rub 100 - 200 times For ages 2 - 5 years rub 200 - 300 times For ages 6 - 12 rub 400-500 times
Clockwise Circle Pressing on the Palm of the Hand This is another general massage technique for strengthening the immune system and harmonizing the organ networks in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Looking a the palm you’ll see how the inner portion forms a depression. Using your thumb, rub the palm of the hand in a clockwise circular direction on the outer border of the depression. Talcum powder is very helpful at preventing chafing and allowing you to repeat this massage rapidly. For ages infant to 2 years rub 100 times For ages 2 - 5 years rub 200 times For ages 6 - 12 rub 300 times
Pushing Apart at the Breast Bone This massage specifically treats cough, wheezing and chest tightness. Start with both thumbs on the breast bone at the level of the nipple. Then push apart towards the nipples, stop before you get to the nipples, lift and repeat. For ages infant to 2 years rub 100 - 200 times For ages 2 - 5 years rub 200 - 300 times For ages 6 - 12 rub 400-500 times You can also knead the starting point at the center of the chest 100 - 300 times to support the lungs and stop cough.
Pinching Pulling Along the Entire Spine This massage can be done for general wellness when done along the entire spine. When focused on the area from base of the shoulder blade to the base of the neck it will help stimulate all the acupuncture points associated with the lungs and chest. The area you’ll be working is the muscle tissue on both sides of the spine. Gently but firmly “pinch” the muscle tissue between your thumb and forefinger and as you push your thumbs forward up the spine, continue to pull down and “pinch” the muscle tissue. The best way to understand this one is to see it on the video below. Do this massage 100 - 300 times or until the skin “pinks up.”
Line Pressing at the Base of the Skull to the Neck This last massage technique is also helpful in stopping cough. Put your index and middle finger on the base of your child’s skull/hairline and rub in a line in a downward direction along the spine, then lift and repeat. These are just a handful of the pediatric tuina techniques you can use for cough. If you need further instruction or have questions about treating your child’s cough naturally, contact your local pediatric acupuncturist for more information.