The Neurophysiology of Shonishin Pediatric Acupuncture

The Neurophysiology of Shonishin Pediatric Acupuncture

Acupuncture for kids is a growing holistic modality in the United States. “Shonishin” is a gentle, non-invasive form of Japanese acupuncture for children. This type of acupuncture does not use needles like the ones commonly associated with adult acupuncture, but various tools that are used to gently activate acupuncture points and energy channels. The treatment consists of pressing, rubbing, tapping, or light scraping of the skin to provide a gentle stimulation.

It is so gentle, how could it work?

Recently the healing power of touch has has stirred up a curiosity into the realm of how the nervous and endocrine systems responds to touch. What are the physiological responses of the body to this type of therapy? How does modern research support this technique?

The Nervous System
The skin contains touch receptors from the most superficial to deep layers, of epidermis and dermis, respectively. These respond to nearly infinite levels of touch pressure. The nerve impulses from touch travel from the skin to the spinal cord and brain and are also interconnected with other parts of the body like the internal organs. Modern research has discovered that traditional acupuncture, where needles are inserted into the skin, muscle and deeper tissues, nerves are activated creating a systemic response from the body – increasing the tone of the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” state). In other words using Shonishin has a direct effect on the nervous system, an important component in how we act, think, and emote, as well as how are organs and other systems function.

The Endocrine System
The soothing, nurturing stroking of the skin with shonishin tools shows both physical and psychological shifts in children indicating a direct relationship with the endocrine system. Research has demonstrated that particular nerve endings in the skin called C-nerve fibers are activated by “delicate stroking” leading to release of the hormone oxytocin by the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is known as the love and bonding hormone and has a generalized, system effect via the amygdala which is “…responsible for emotional assessment of situations and social interactions.” In other words it allows for fine tuning of emotional states and seems to reduce anxiety and stress!! And we all know stress and anxiety play a huge role in systemic imbalance, pain, disease, and the quality of our immune system.

This information was gathered from Shonishin: Japanese Pediatric Acupuncture by Stephen Birch

Detox & Renewal: Acupuncture for a Magical Spring

Detox & Renewal

This spring with Cadie Federmeyer, LAc

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are powerful and magical ways to enhance your body’s ability to surrender the old of winter, detoxifying both body and heart-mind, so that you can follow the energy and symbols of spring:

Renewal: new growth and new beginnings
Planning: for the future and the planting of seeds
Movement: the longer, warmer days give energy for movement

Constitutional Chinese herbal formulas prescribed
for detox and renewal

Uniquely tailored acupuncture sessions with the addition of
specific detox protocols

What you can do at home:
Ancient wisdom for springtime diet and lifestyle

In addition to detox and renewal, current health issues are also addressed

Heart of the Forest Acupuncture accepts most health insurance plans. Please call the clinic to inquire if your benefits cover acupuncture.

Don’t have insurance that covers acupuncture? New patient springtime detox package: 3 sessions for $195 or 5 sessions for $320. Packages need to be purchased by May 31st, 2015. Sessions expire November 31st, 2015.

Call the clinic today at 738-7654.

To Your Health,


Children’s Wellness Days

Preventative Care with Acupuncture


As the summer comes to a close and the school year begins, it is important to keep your child’s immune system strong! Instead of fighting pesky colds, coughs, ear infections and the like, we can take some preventative measures!


Acupuncture for kids is a growing holistic modality in the United States. “Shonishin” is a gentle, non-invasive form of Japanese acupuncture for children. This type of acupuncture does not use needles like the ones commonly associated with adult acupuncture, but various tools that are used to gently activate acupuncture points and energy channels.


Shonishin was developed in Japan over 250 years ago. Shonishin in Japan is offered once per month during the week of the full moon and is a primary way they utilize to strengthen vitality and maintain wellness in children. This type of therapy is also very effective for symptoms and diseases that have already arisen in a child and treatments are typically done more frequently in addition to the use of herbs and dietary therapies.




With regular monthly health care, both parents and children begin to see that the rhythm of caring for self is an ongoing process that continues throughout life. Instead of tending to the symptoms of disease states that have already arisen, the allopathic perspective, acupuncture for kids (and Chinese medicine in general) emphasizes wellness and the care that it takes to maintain.


When a child receives 12 treatments per year at one per month, problems that might arise due to weather, diet, emotions, or lifestyle can be avoided and/or clearly seen by the practitioner and the child’s treatment can be tailored for these specific issues and tendencies.




The once per month Children Wellness Days are created with emphasis on community and education. Children can be themselves and are invited to play and be silly while parents who are unsure of the process of shonishin will be invited in to see treatments of other children. This creates openings for networking for parents and foundations for long-term friendships. Also, regular Shonishin treatments help strengthen the parent-child relationship and can improve the spiritual and emotional development of the child.




Children’s Wellness visits are usually very short, appointments being only 15 minutes with the actual shonishin treatment taking no more than 5 minutes. Occasionally, a more in-depth lifestyle or dietary counseling or home treatment teaching is needed with the parent and a follow-up appointment (sometimes via phone) is scheduled. This allows the parent to spend the time needed to become part of their child’s ongoing care.

Children’s Wellness Days

call 738-7654 to schedule your appointment

walk-ins welcome

sliding scale $15-30 (cash or check only)


bring/schedule all your kids for same time treatments!

all children welcome any age, any condition!


Tuesday, September 9th, 1pm-5pm
Tuesday, October 7th, 1pm-5pm
Thursday, November 6th, 1pm-5pm
Thursday, December 4th, 1pm-5pm

Bellingham Natural Family Medicine

1810 Broadway

Bellingham, WA 98225

(360) 738-7654