Managing Childhood Fevers without Medication

It is a tall order getting Xxm to take any form of medication, be it Chinese or Western drugs. How bad is it? Well, it usually requires three grown adults – my MIL, helper and Meow to hold this three year old down. I typically excuse myself from such ordeals as I cannot bear to do it myself. Hence, I devote myself to seeking alternative therapeutic methods to help my children.

Background Facts About Fever

Fever is a body’s natural defense mechanism in combating against infection. Fever can be classified as:

  • Low Grade (<38.5°Celsius)

– Does not require medications or medical attention.

  • Intermediate Grade (38.5 -39.5° Celsius)

– Require medical interventions to prevent disease progression.

  • High Grade (>40°Celsius)

– Seek medical attention immediately.

The problem with early administration of anti-pyretic drugs, other than an unwilling party, is that it diminishes your body’s natural defense mechanism to fend off future infections. Hence, the body becomes increasingly susceptible to new infections and more dependent on drugs to fight infections. It’s this reason why when exposed to the same virus, some people have the symptoms harder than others. Do read this article by renowned paediatrician Dr Sears for more information about fever and its management strategies.

My Remedy

As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I am inclined to put to good use what I have learnt. A branch of TCM, called tuina, is particularly effective in treating childhood illnesses. Tuina is a form of massage therapy, that abides by the principles of TCM and accupressure. It is readily accepted by children as it is non invasive and its soothing strokes are very comforting. Just imagine spa therapy for kids.

Of late, I also developed an interest in aromatherapy. The use of essential oils in aromatherapy is akin to the herbs used in TCM, with the exception that instead of using raw or processed herbs, the essence of each herb is extracted in the form of oils and can be topically applied, inhaled or ingested (pure grade oils only).

Hence, I decided to integrate both regimes and true enough, I managed to subdue Xxm’s fever without the need for paracetamol or brufen.


Tuina for fever


With reference to the picture above, massage the following to bring down the fever:
1. Zhan Zu (攢竹)
Location: A straight line arising from the middle of the innermost corner of your brows to your hairline.
Action: Using both thumbs interchangeably, stroke this line from the brows up for 200 times.
2. Kan Gong (坎宫)
Location: The entire brow bone from the innermost to the outermost.
Action: Place both thumbs on the beginning of each brow bone and stroke outwards towards the temples for 200 times.
3. Tai Yang (太阳)
Location: Bilateral temples.
Action: Massage for 1 min.
4. Tian He Shui (天河水)
Location: A straight line down the middle of the inner surface of the forearm, joining the wrists to the elbow.
Action: Using your forefinger and middle finger, gently stroke from the wrists to the elbow for 400 times.
The entire regime should take you roughly 15min.


Prior to the application of the essential oils, use a wet cotton pad to stroke the entire vertebral column 3-5 times  to dissipate the bodily heat. Thereafter, using only therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils, I applied 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil to the:

• soles of both feet
• along his spinal column

Peppermint is effective in drawing the heat out, thereby cooling the system. It is also a typical herb used in TCM medications to dissipate heat and reduce inflammation.
Do note that if your kid is younger than 3 years old, the oil needs to be diluted first before use.

My Experience

Used on their own, neither system brings down the fever permanently. Xxm’s fever is like a yoyo, lowering immediately after intervention and rising again after some time. It was the same case when he was fed medications.
With this new therapy, approximately 15min later, his head, chest and back starts perspiring which is a good sign. It is crucial then to wipe away his perspiration and keep him dry to prevent him from catching a cold again. If necessary, I will change his clothes too.
Subsequently, his fever which I last measured was 39.4°C, subsided and stayed that way for the rest of the night!

Contributing Factors

It is a must that your child stays hydrated throughout, especially after sweating it out. I gave him barley drink, cooling herbal tea and water laced with lemon throughout the day. Excretion of the water consumed will also bring his temperature down.

Sufficient rest is also necessary for the body to fight and recover itself.

These are two necessary conditions I put forth to my three year old son if he does not want me to force feed him medicine. He enjoyed the tuina so much that the next night, even though he is well, he insisted that I massaged for him again.

Do let me know if these tips work for you too!



  1. Hi May, basically I perform it whenever his fever spikes. Generally, each session takes about half an hour which can be pretty time-consuming as opposed to giving paracetamol and watching the temperature go down. I’d say, do what is humanely possible for you because tending to a sick child can be pretty exhausting.

  2. My son been having fluctuating fever between 38.5 to 40.5 today and I have given brufen and paracetamol but it didn’t bring down the temperature alot. I remembered tcm massage can help so right now at 2am i google for it and found your page. I tried on my boy and he’s already perspiring even before I got to step 3 – temples. I’m glad cos perspiring helps a lot during fever! I am amazed! And I applied doterra peppermint for him after this cos he said he felt very hot and didn’t want to continue to massage. Is it ok to reduce the counts instead of 200 200 and 400?

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