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WATCH | Rid Your Child’s Allergies With TCM and Salt Therapy

Vivienne Rush Jingkids 2021-10-19

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Remember how, when our kids were wee babies, we would rub baby oil all over their little bodies after bath time? Well, it wasn’t just because we love the little bundles of joy so much, but also because the physical contact helped to soothe them, body and mind. Children go through so many changes so quickly, and growing pains can really take a toll. That’s why my husband and I have continued the practice of oiling our son up after his shower, even now at the age of 6. Also, I was worried about a skin condition called keratosis pilaris in which little bumps form on the arms, which I seem to have passed on to him.


So when I came across Molly House on Dianping – the Chinese equivalent of Yelp – and its focus on children’s holistic health through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods like tui na massage, I knew I had to bring my child to try it. I bought a voucher and booked my appointment for the day easily on the app.


Watch my kid get his first TCM massage in the Salt Therapy Room!



The outlet we went to was on the 17th floor of a tall office building east of Beijing city center. The entrance was marked by a cheery yellow curtain sporting the name and logo of Molly House, and a child gate that I was able to navigate (hey, some of them are really hard to open). Inside the clean, well-lit space, the windows were slightly ajar to allow the summer breeze in, and we were greeted by a kindly middle-aged lady who sanitized our hands and gave us indoor slippers to wear. There was a boy, much younger than my own, sitting in a padded play area surrounded by Fisher Price-looking toys, who was getting massaged by another lady as he gazed at the TV which was airing a local cartoon.


I was asked to fill in a health survey for my child, identifying any concerns or issues that he had, which I specifically wanted addressed. Aside from the aforementioned skin condition, I pointed out that he tends to catch a cold once a year, and sometimes complains of stomach aches without reason. We proceeded into another room with massage beds, where she conducted an overall assessment of my son – looking at the pallor of his tongue and inside of his throat (which was just a tad too red, probably because he was mildly dehydrated), among other things. She concluded that he was generally healthy, and would not require any huge “adjustments.” And thus began the “treatment.”


In TCM, they often use the word 调理 (Tiáolǐ) – which loosely translates to “conditioning” – to describe the treatments required to bring the “patient” back to equilibrium, the idea being that our body needs to be balanced and that poor lifestyle habits throw this delicate balance off-kilter. At least, this is my layman’s understanding of the complex subject.


We had chosen to have the “adjustment” massage inside the Salt Therapy Room, which looks like an indoor beach, but with salt instead of sand. There is also a halogenerator that disperses a dry salt aerosol into the environment. It made me tear up and cough a little which, according to the lady, meant I probably had some respiratory issues, because it shouldn’t affect those of “normal” health. This dry salt therapy, also called halotherapy, utilises the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of salt to help remove airborne pathogens, which is supposed to decrease allergic reactions and promote better breathing.


I sat in the room with my child as he lay in a comfortable couch. The lady offered to put on a cartoon in English, and he jumped at the offer. For the next 45 minutes, she kneaded and tugged at my child’s muscles, starting with his arm, then moving on to his stomach, and finally his back. He only seemed bothered when she rubbed his stomach in a clockwise motion, and when she “adjusted” his vertebrae, almost yelling as she did the latter. We knew our time was up when the halogenerator stopped (she had set a timer on it). Despite his occasional discomfort, my son told me he wanted to return because he enjoyed most of it.




According to the lady – who has more than ten years of TCM massage experience – this natural treatment is available to babies as young as 3 months old and is effective until the child hits puberty, whereby their acupressure points shrink to pea-size, and there they remain till the end of time (which is why she said it’s harder to adjust adults). Kids with ailments like chronic sinus issues or a persistent cough, and also constipation, were the most common patients. Apparently, it usually requires a weekly or even twice-weekly visit over the course of a few months to resolve an issue, depending on its severity.


It cost RMB 128 for the initial salt therapy and tui na massage trial appointment, with each session running RMB 258 thereafter. Of course, Molly House offers a package of ten or 20 sessions at a discounted price. I am still thinking about it.

Look up Molly House on Dianping if you’re interested in trying this holistic approach to tackle your child’s health issues!



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Images: Vivienne Tseng-Rush

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