Child’s sleeping problem - frequent night wakings

Updated: Jul 7



In February, a patient came to the clinic with her 6-year-old son for sleep problems. A few weeks before, the child started to wake up every night at around 2am. He sought comfort from his parents and then was able to go back to sleep. This persisting problem affected not only the child’s sleep, but that of the parents as well.


The child was in good health and never had any significant health problems. However, the mother recalled a similar episode in the past, when he entered school in first grade, but the situation went back to normal fairly quickly.



During the initial intake, while talking to the mother and investigating a little further the possible causes of the sleep problems, we learned that two months prior, the child was victim of bullying at school, although it was addressed and dealt with quickly by the school. The parents are very attentive to the child, and provide a stable and secure family environment. The child is doing well socially and academically, he also has positive means of expression through sports, music and drawing.

In Chinese medicine, frequently waking up between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. is associated with the Liver. When we say Liver, we do not only speak of the organ as it is known in Western anatomy. The concept of Liver in Chinese medicine is broader and it includes an emotional aspect. The Liver is said to be responsible for free movement. When emotions are blocked or suppressed, or when there is frustration or anger, the Liver meridian can be affected and bring about physical symptoms.

Visual observation showed a slight crack on the tongue (in the liver area) and a bluish mark at the root of his nose; which confirmed our opinion that a disharmony of the liver meridian system was involved. So our treatment aimed at unblocking and moving the Qi in the Liver meridian. Our approach, when treating children under 7 years old, is pediatric tuina, a needle-free manual therapy which is safe and effective. This method is used in many hospitals in China and it is our top choice in treating young children.


Young children generally respond very well to pediatric tuina, and the techniques of this treatment are simple and safe enough to be taught to parents so that they can continue to apply treatment at home accordingly. It is rare that we see our young patients more than 2 or 3 times for the same issue.

In this case, after the treatment at the clinic, we asked the mother to practice some pediatric tuina manipulations every day for 1 week to reinforce the effect of the treatment. We followed up with the mother after one week. From the evening of the treatment, the child slept through the night, waking up only once in the whole week. We therefore recommended that she continue to do the manipulations for a few more days.


If your child is also experiencing sleeping problems, or you would like to know more about how Pediatric tuina can help your child to thrive, book an appointment below or contact us. Note that we also give Pediatric tuina workshops for parents of young children. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on facebook to stay tuned on the future workshops.


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