Frederick E Steinway
A mother brought in her 14-month old baby for treatment of recurrent
ear infections. Very early the infant had received many
immunisations, which were followed by flulike symptoms and otitis.
The otitis recurred and worsened, and was treated by 6 courses of
antibiotics. The mother reported his lips had become very cold and
reddish/blue, even though the rest of the body felt warm. Usually the
child had stools tending toward diarrhea, but after the antibiotics a
hard, dry, painful constipation developed, once not going for 2
weeks--and during this time woke screaming at night. The tummy was a
bit swollen and the legs proportionately very thin. The baby boy
looked a bit pale, with a yellow/orange color around the mouth. I did
not take pulse as pulses usually cannot be felt in children under 5.
Tongue appeared normal, perhaps somewhat pale, with much clear drool.
Pregnancy and birth had been normal though the mother had experienced
some headaches toward the end of the last trimester. He had been
weaned onto food at 5 1/2 months.
At the time of clinic visit sleep was good, and there was no unusual
sweating. There was no visible vein along the index finger. Both
mother and child had a blue vein across the bridge of the nose. The
child's eyes were clear and after a moment began to actively explore
The assessment appeared to be something like Intestines Wind/Heat,
evolving from Food Accumulation combined with a Lingering Pathogenic
Factor. Possibly the LPF from the immunizations may have been a hot
LPF and the 6 courses of antibiotics may have damaged the Qi
mechanism aggravating Food Accumulation. According to Warm theory,
even the cold (as evidenced by the icy lips, constipation and
nighttime screaming) eventually transform to heat.
After getting settled I needled TH 5 WaiGuan bilaterally with a
seirin #3 needle of the shortest length. I used dispersing technique
for a few seconds at each point. Then I attempted to disperse BaiLao
extra at the back of the neck (despite much wriggling from the
patient). There appeared to be a good response at TH 5 WaiGuan.
The mother reported the ears drained within 2 days, and on a visit to
the MD, no more otitis, was determined. I had been wondering if the
assessment of Intestines Wind/Heat had been a bit off, but at that
point the baby developed a whole body rash--red points--diagnosed by
the MD as roseola. This would be consistent with a Wind/Heat
assessment, and possibly the acupuncture may have encouraged the
expression through skin rash. I checked with the child's father (who
just happened to answer the phone that day) on the outcome of the
roseola, and it he appeared chipper afterward, which suggested that
reading this as a therapeutic rash may have been correct.
As the saying goes, in children, 'yin and yang organs are clear and
spirited. They easily and quickly regain their health' (zong fu qing
ling, yi qu kang fu).
Frederick E Steinway, Licensed Acupuncturist/Herbalist