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Vaccination Support Toolkit for Acupuncturists

Dear Colleagues,

What follows are the Chinese Medicine treatment principles and strategies that we have found over many years of practice help prepare the body for the encounter of a vaccine.

It is of utmost importance to note that every patient is unique. The ideas that follow need to be seen as a tool box rather than a protocol, and are not recommendations for any specific patient. A practitioner’s intimate understanding of their craft and their patient will determine the best way forward, which builds lasting trust that is one of the keys to healing.

Please read our article on this topic, which is available on our website, for additional information for you and your patients.


JingShen Pediatrics

Treatment Principles:

  1. Support the overall alignment of body-mind-spirit in the person, represented by the Jing-Shen (Kidney-Heart) relationship.

  2. Prepare the Ying Level for the encounter with the pathogen: make sure that it is open and vented so that the pathogen does not linger here.

  3. Support the Liver and Large Intestine for detoxifying the body from any of the additional ingredients in the vaccine and the pathogen itself.

Treatment Strategies:

  • Identify pre-conditions are met (see below)

  • Prepare the patient in the week(s) before with herbs, diet, and rest

  • Acupuncture on the day before or day of the vaccination

  • Herbs, diet, rest in the week(s) to follow

  • Be prepared to perform acupuncture and herbs as needed if there is an immediate reaction (like fever, etc)

The pre-conditions for receiving a vaccine are (in order of importance):

  1. The bowels are moving properly: if the person is not having regular bowel movements, they can not cleanse and detoxify the body. This includes any disruption to bowel movements: constipation, diarrhea, difficult to pass, painful, etc.

  2. The patient is not actively sick: healing from that should be the focus. Once the patient is no longer sick, and recovered fully, then their body is ready to focus on the vaccine.

  3. The patient is well rested and not jet-lagged: a person should be emotionally grounded, stable, and ready to take on what is about to happen in their body.

In the days before

Begin preparing for the vaccination approximately one week before with healthy diet, herbs, and lifestyle considerations. We want to support the Wei Qi through the Ying Qi by eating nourishing foods, getting good rest, and preparing the body and mind to interact with the pathogen.

If the pre-conditions are not met, those take priority and should be resolved before the child receives the vaccination.

Acupuncture Strategy:

  • Harmonize the Ying Qi-Wei Qi relationship and resolve any qi stagnation in a way that is appropriate for your patient.

Herbal Strategies:

  • “Vaccisupport” VacSupport is a formula created by Moshe Heller, MTOM. It is a modification of Shi Wei Bai Du Tang and it is designed specifically to prepare the body to deal with vaccine encounter. The formula focuses on protecting against heat in the Ying level, supporting the body to clear the pathogen and heat completely, and preventing against lingering pathogenic heat, which might become latent heat. Chai Hu is the lead ingredient and prepares the body for the potential for a fever that comes and goes (regulates the Shao Yang) and the Sang Bai Pi relieves toxicity and fever. There are also herbs that harmonize the Ying-Wei relationship and release the exterior.

  • The dosages are:

  • For children 0-5 years: ½ tsp, two times per day

  • For children 5+ years: 1 tsp, two times per day

  • For patients who are in relatively good health and you trust will be ready for the encounter, three days before is likely enough. For patients who you do not know well or need more time to gear up for the vaccine, one week before is recommended.

  • Herbs to nourish the individual child. The Gentle Warrior Peacemakers line is wonderful for supporting children in their individuality based on their Chinese Medicine constitutional makeup. These formulas are designed to harmonize the relationship between a lead element and that which controls it and which it controls. This supports the idea of healthy relationships for the Wei Qi. (Dosage: five drops, twice per day)

Homeopathy: Thuja is a homeopathic that is effective for helping the body detox after exposure to unnatural ingredients. Because homeopathy is so dilute, it is extremely safe for use in children of all ages. Strength: 1M, give 4 pellets once a day for 3 days before and three days after the vaccine. Pellets may be dissolved in a little water if child cannot dissolve them in the mouth.

Methylation Support: Many people have incomplete methylation due to single or double mutations in the MTHFR genes. Methylation is key to promoting detoxification and immune resilience. Providing extra methyl support with supplements that contain Methyl-folate or methyl-glycine in products such as Methyl-assist (pure encapsulation).

Diet & lifestyle suggestions: eat a simple, nourishing diet that is appropriate for the season, with the emphasis on avoiding damp foods, especially sweets and dairy. The patient should be getting plenty of rest before the vaccine to build up strong qi and blood.

The day of or day before the vaccination

Acupuncture, essential oil, herbs and rest are all important and have a place.. If available, acupuncture on the day before or day of vaccination to prepare and fortify the body’s defenses at multiple levels of defense.

Acupuncture Strategies: treat from your understanding of the patient and the encounter. We have found a few strategies to work clinically:

  • Harmonize the Shao Yang: In and out needling of Shao Yang points to achieve this. We generally use SJ 5 and GB 41

  • Support Yang Ming: we want Yang Ming, which is rich in qi and blood, to be ready and protect the Yin levels of the body (from a Shang Han Lun perspective). We generally use in-and-out needling of ST 36 and LI 11

  • Support the body’s ability to fight pathogens with UB20, UB13 and Bai Lao

Essential Oil Strategy: Frankincense is a potent healing oil that is derived from the resin of trees. This is only formed when a tree is wounded, which is why it carries the potential to protect and heal. If the patient can not come in for acupuncture on the day of or before the vaccine, they can apply a drop of Frankincense on ST 36 and LI 11 to protect and fortify Yang Ming.

Homeopathy: on the day of vaccine give Thuja 1M 4 pellets twice that day then continue once a day for the two days after the vaccine. Arnica ointment may be applied to the site immediately after vaccination to reduce swelling and pain.There is also a combination called T-Relief Gel that can be used to rub around the injection sight

The week(s) after the vaccination

Vaccines are engineered in such a way to induce a subclinical level of inflammation. Treat the body with the rest and easily digested foods you normally would eat if you were sick. We want to see the heat fully cleared. The goal is to avoid a condition of latency where the inflammation process has not completely resolved.

Continue with the herbs to harmonize the Ying Level (like VacSupport ) and resting and eating as if you are sick Herbs can be continued for 3-7 days depending on the child and their response.

If side effects from the vaccine occur, like fever, swelling, behavior changes, etc, know that these are signs the body is actively fighting the virus. These are positive, but sometimes alarming signs. Chinese Medicine practitioners can support a person using acupuncture during these times.

Acupuncture Strategies for emergency response:

  • For fevers: needle four gates LI4, Lv3. Or parents can be taught to tuina massage of five fingers away from wrist (wujing massage) to eliminate wind and heat and harmonize five zang-organs.Also DU14 is a great point to help with fevers Shonishin: Tapping and scraping along the Liu Fu or San Guan lines

  • For bruising/ swelling at vaccination site:Rub T-Relief gel or compresses with Huang Lian

  • For seizures: acutely needle or massage Du 26 and Ki1, also consider SP3

  • For agitation, restlessness with heat after vaccination: needle Ear Shenmen point. teach parents tuina pericardium channel towards the heart. Also massage Yintang up to hairline. And needle points like Xiao Tian Xin and Nei Lao Gong

It is always important that the patient is in contact with their Primary Care Provider, the person who performed the vaccination. If symptoms are prolonged or progress to deeper levels, it may become necessary to seek emergency medical attention.

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