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In Chicago, the teacher’s strike is over and kids are back to school. Families have another opportunity to get into a healthy school routine.

Did you know that pediatric acupuncture can help with the transition back to school by bolstering your child’s immunity, sharpening their focus, and easing nerves? We’ve been giving back-to-school treatments at The Nest.

Here is why they are so popular:

Build Immunity

Acupuncture is proven to increase the level of T-Cells in the body which fight off bacteria and viruses. This increase in T-Cells lasts for several days after the treatment, making it a great tool for prevention against winter illnesses. Arm your child’s immune system with fighters before they enter their bustling, happy, germ-filled classroom.

Improve Concentration and Focus

A 2008 study found that acupuncture significantly improved “learning and memory capacity” that had been impaired by illness. The “Third Eye Point” located directly between the eyebrows is good for improving memory and concentration. It clears the mind and creates an overall sense of well being.

Ease Nerves and Build Confidence

There may be times when your child or teen experiences extra stress — the start of school, during testing, or because of changing social dynamics. Acupuncture has a regulatory effect on hormones and increases dopamine and overall energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to assess and treat the body, mind, spirit, and emotions in every session to bring about cumulative, whole, healing. If you’d like to know more about how acupuncture can help with anxiety or depression, this article is a good source of information.

Immunization Support

We provide pre and post immunization support to help your child’s immune system assimilate vaccinations. We also have the information you may need if you choose to forgo or delay your immunizations. Read more about this important service here

Exciting News! The Nest was just featured in a TimeOut Kids article on why families are choosing alternative health treatments for their children. Parents are seeing the value of these non-invasive treatments in their children’s health and it’s wonderful to share the resource of a mother’s experience. Take a look at what mothers and practitioners have to say about alternative modalities. It also includes a helpful directory of practitioners and treatment options. 

Don’t forget support for you!

Don’t forget to schedule an appointment for yourself! During a quiet half hour all to yourself, practitioners will see to it that you — the person keeping it all together — is relaxed and fortified for the days ahead.

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What is precocious puberty? 

Precocious puberty is the beginning of sexual maturity that starts before age 8 in a girl or 9 in a boy.

A comprehensive article, Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?, written by Elizabeth Weil and published in the New York Times in March examines what we know today about early puberty in girls.

Weil’s article highlights the fact that although breast development begins years earlier than previously documented, the average age of girl’s first periods has remained nearly the same — dropping minimally to 12.5 from 12.8 years of age. Ms. Weil asks the question, why is puberty starting earlier but ending near the same age?

Robert Lustig of Benioff Children’s Hospital wonders if girls with early breast development are in puberty at all, arguing that puberty begins in the brain when gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) sets off the pituitary to signal the ovaries to produce estrogen. The Mayo Clinic explains it similarly, showing these steps on their website.

Many girls with early puberty have developing breasts and pubic hair — even as young as 4 years of age — but do not show signs that their ovaries are producing estrogen. This is sometimes referred to as partial precocious puberty. Also, some do not have another sign of true puberty, advanced bone age. During puberty, bones lengthen, cartilage shrinks and at the end of the process, plates fuse together. In Precocious Puberty, this process can cause stunted growth. Exactly where in this process a child falls can be determined with x-rays.

So, why are some girls growing breasts and/or pubic hair as young as 4 even if full puberty hasn’t commenced? If estrogen isn’t coming from their ovaries, where is it coming from? The main factors generally agreed upon to be the sources of this rogue estrogen are overweight and environmental toxins.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, These Individual Factors Would Be Addressed In the Overall Treatment of the Presenting Problem.


Girls who are overweight have higher levels of the hormone leptin which can lead to early puberty. This starts a feedback loop of leptin –> puberty –> higher estrogen –> greater insulin resistance –> more fat tissue –> more leptin –> more estrogen, which can propel a body onwards through puberty.

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Help Early Puberty Due To Overweight?

In TCM, eating more than you can process and eliminate efficiently can cause not only overweight, but a condition known as dampness. The function of the spleen and stomach is to convert food and water into energy and the rest to waste. If spleen chi is weak there can be trouble draining which results in blockages and stagnation. We can treat this by reducing problem foods and using acupuncture and herbs to drain the damp and strengthen digestion. Encouraging girls to enjoy physical activity will help burn up excess damp and keep the digestive fire lit. When the system is righted and they are enjoying healthy, clean foods, overweight will cease to be a problem.

Environmental Toxins

Unfortunately, our environment is full of endocrine disrupting chemicals that act as estrogen mimics. BPA (Bisphenol A) was used as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. It was used in plastic production starting in the 1950s and can now be found everywhere in things like water bottles, the lining of canned food, and sales receipts. It has been found in the bodies of 95% of adults and in remote natural landscapes. It is hypothesized that estrogen mimics are triggering early breast development.

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help Early Puberty Due To Environmental Toxins?

TCM increases circulation in the body. It can boost the body’s own toxin removal and repair systems (lymphatic, digestive, circulatory) preventing further damage from toxins lingering in the body. Additionally, if a child is experiencing other systemic issues related to the the early puberty, TCM practitioners will be able to diagnose and treat these issues as a whole.

Treating “Qi Bing”, Strange or Rare Cases

In the January 1998 Journal of Chinese Medicine, Bob Flaws relates an account of a successful treatment for precocious puberty by Dr. Qiao Yong-xian.

Flaws writes that many people turn to TCM for diseases that are difficult to treat or are rare, such as MS, lupus, or Marfan’s syndrome when traditional medicine doesn’t provide enough relief or information. Because of this, TCM holds a treasure trove of case histories of difficult diseases called “Qi Bing” which translates as strange or rare diseases. In the precocious puberty case, a four year old girl came in with enlarged breasts and vaginal bleeding but no other signs of puberty. Based on this and other physical signs found in the diagnostic process, Dr. Qiao prescribed appropriate herbal medicine and saw her again in 7 days. In that time she had been diagnosed with precocious puberty at the hospital. Dr. Qiao adjusted her custom herbal formula following her condition over several visits. The patient finished the treatment and was symptom free, all within a month. Three follow up visits six months apart were made and found the patient to be in good health with no recurrence of symptoms.

Dr. Qiao acknowledged that partial precocious puberty is complex but if treated early on, the cure rate is good. However, complete precocious puberty (that has initiated in the brain) is not easy to treat. As Dr. Qiao says, “The tree has already been made into a boat.” Western doctors hesitate treating precocious puberty with hormone therapy because it is hard on young girls.They prefer parents to instead support their children emotionally and provide them with the new skills they need to cope with their body’s changes. However, as Flaws points out, “When treated with Chinese medicine based on pattern discrimination, one can also obtain a good effect but with no side effects.”



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It is so hard to see your child suffer through the continual discomfort of allergies. You do your best to keep the worst symptoms of chronic conditions from flaring up and you always wonder if there is more you can do.

Many caring parents like you are coping with this issue. The number of individuals with allergies has increased dramatically over the last few decades. “Among children up to 4 years of age, the incidence of asthma has increased 160%, and the incidence of atopic dermatitis has increased twofold to threefold. Approximately 0.5-1% of the US population is affected by peanut allergy and the incidence has doubled in the past decade. These figures demonstrate that allergic disorders in children are a serious public health problem, and the need to find new treatments for these disorders. Current conventional medications for allergic disorders for children are not fully satisfactory. There are also concerns of known side effects of corticosteroids…”(

We understand the stress you feel dealing with chronic conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a lasting solution to allergies and chronic childhood conditions such as ear infections and respiratory illnesses by healing the imbalances that cause these conditions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), childhood corresponds with Spring, a time of rapid transformation and growth. Children become sick easily but respond just as quickly to treatment. Gentle TCM techniques like point therapy and Tuina (an acupressure and massage technique) are very effective at balancing children’s energetic systems and can eradicate symptoms completely. The mother of one of our young patients shares her story:

I started bringing my son to Jen when he was one year old. His initial diagnoses of peanut and tree nut allergies had expanded to included dairy and soy and we were regularly struggling with digestive problems, sleep disruptions and eczema. Jen’s treatments helped relieve the digestion, sleep and skin issues. And within a few months our allergist’s diagnoses for dairy and soy had been reduced to the status of ‘minor irritant’. I’m so grateful for how much less stress I have in the care of my son and delighted at how strong his immune system has become. (ZML)

Because TCM treats the energetic system of the body, patients usually experience added benefits they hadn’t anticipated. The XiaoXiao clinic in Milan conducted a pilot study of 29 children over a period of a year. Most were treated for recurrent respiratory infections. While the 17 children who completed the study showed significant improvement with their respiratory issues, the doctors noted anecdotally that, “Something extraordinary also happened at home:  they started to sleep in their own beds. The parents reported that their children became more confident, assertive and secure. Other children, initially very agitated and demanding, became more relaxed, with better behavior and improved sleep…one can clearly witness how an improved circulation of Qi positively influences the mental and emotional aspects of a child’s development.”

Early or preventative treatment is ideal with children. The core of preventative treatment is understanding each child’s unique constitution and tendency towards specific patterns of dis-ease. Parent’s knowledge of their child’s patterns, along with the Practitioner’s TCM constitutional evaluation is a combination for success. With treatment, your child’s symptoms can be managed or eradicated altogether.

Questions about whether we can help your child?

Call The Nest for a free 10 minute phone consultation at 773.267.0248

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