The pediatric tuina, interview with Elisa Rossi

The pediatric tuina, interview with Elisa Rossi

Xiaxiao is a Milanese clinic that deals with applying Chinese medicine techniques to pediatrics. We ask its founder, the doctor Elisa Rossi, to better explain the benefits of the pediatric tuina.


Elisa Rossi graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized in Clinical Psychology . She is also a psychotherapist and acupuncture specialist. After studying acupuncture in Milan, Elisa in 1983 attended the quarterly course at the Academy of Acupuncture in Beijing.

He then deepens the Tuina Pediatric at the Pediatric Departments of the Provincial Hospital of Nanjing in 1999 and 2000, and at the Provincial Hospital of Jinan in 2006. It is held in continuous clinical updating at hospitals in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Jinan.

In 2005 he founded the Xiaoxiao  children’s center in Milan.

In addition to the weekly outpatient clinic, Xiaoxiao also carries out training in Chinese Pediatrics and research in collaboration with the British Council of Acupuncture.

With the support of the Italian Federation of Tuina and Qigong Schools (FISTQ), it has launched several pilot projects : for children with recurrent respiratory diseases, for children with frequent awakenings or hyperkinetic, and from this year for newborns and infants born with Assisted Procreation (MAP ).

Elisa has published several texts on Chinese Medicine, including in 2010 “Pediatrics in Chinese Medicine”, translated into English in 2011.


What is pediatric tuina?

Tuina is the traditional manual technique of Chinese medicine . Along with acupuncture and pharmacopoeia it is commonly used in China in hospitals and clinics, and is part of medical education.

Tuina is based on the concept that all human beings are qi  (usually translated as “energy”) which thickens in various forms . The qi moves all the time and is constantly changing .

Children are very delicate because their qi has not yet consolidated. For this reason traditional Chinese medicine pays specific attention to pediatrics .

The pediatric tuina acts by mobilizing the resources that everyone has . It starts from the understanding of the basic energy characteristics of the specific child , what is its “constitution” from the point of view of Chinese medicine, so as to know the directions in which the child can encounter difficulties and get sick.

It then acts on the energy channels with small manual stimulations on lines and points , to activate a rebalancing process of the system. Without neglecting attention to eating habits and daily life .


Who is the Tuina pediatric massage suitable for?

The pediatric tuina is suitable for all children up to six to seven years , when the energy system of the little one gradually approaches that of an adult, and therefore one begins to use methods closer to those of the adult.

Tuina gives  excellent results and benefits  in the case of the most common ailments in children: infant colic, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, frequent awakenings, difficulty in paying attention, susceptibility to winter diseases, cough, asthma, developmental delays, enuresis nocturnal, eczema . 

Let us remember that the phase of childhood corresponds to spring, always according to the principles of Chinese thought, that is, to a growth of yang energy, and therefore to an impetuous, rapid quality of qi . We know how children get sick easily, but just as quickly respond to the therapeutic intervention , just as they go from crying to laughing, from one emotion to another.

Tuina is also useful for healthy children , for preventive work , and is an excellent support in cases of serious pathologies, which involve developmental delays .




Are other techniques used in children?

Yes, sometimes the pediatric tuina is integrated with traditional Chinese methods such as moxa (a system by which acupuncture points are activated through the heat produced by a kind of mugwort cigar), guasha (a rubbing that acts on areas and lines), the plum blossom hammer (which stimulates points and lines), auriculotherapy (without the insertion of needles but using the pressure of seeds or balls).

Acupuncture is also very useful, has no contraindications and is generally well accepted, except in cases where the parents are too alarmed or the child is afraid because he has already undergone invasive medical interventions. We remind you that acupuncture must be performed by a doctor .


Can tuina be taught to parents?

The sequence that is applied to the child is always taught to the parents . In addition, some stimulations are taught in case of fever, cold, etc. The sequence is short, about ten minutes, has no contraindications, is completely safe, easy to learn .

The active collaboration of the parents is very useful as a support for the work performed in the clinic, and is a tool that the parent willingly acquires, in order to help his child personally.


How does the child’s treatment take place and how long does it last?

Tuina is well received by children , but not all children are readily touched. It is up to the operator’s sensitivity to find the necessary respect and kindness, always keeping in mind that with our intervention we enter the space of another person. At the beginning, children are often left in the lap of the reference adult, but after a while they are usually happy on the cot.

If the child becomes restless, we try to be flexible , always keeping our intent and our determination stable. The message is: “softly, of course, but this thing will be done”.

The child, whether in the arms or on the bed , is left free to move , maintaining constant contact. The operator can stand or sit, but always stable and soft at the same time: his qi is kept free to flow. This is why it is useful for practitioners to practice qigong techniques , which facilitate the perception of qi and its flow.

The massage must be adequate : the pressure must be felt, it is not a touch, but it must not be such as to disturb: neither too superficial nor violent.

The sequence includes 8-12 stimulations lasting 1 or 2 minutes each. The number of sessions varies according to the course of the disease and the state of the child.

At home it is recommended to practice the personalized sequence once a day , or more in case of acute conditions, such as fever . At the beginning we usually see the children once a week, then the sessions thin out, and after 6-12 months we do a follow-up to get feedback on the progress and consolidate the results.

However, we must always keep in mind that the tuina does not replace the pediatrician , to whom the parent must always contact both for periodic checks and in cases in which the disease worsens or presents elements of risk.


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