Before getting a vaccination for your child, speak to your doctor if your child is ill, has a cough, runny nose or any other imbalance that you notice.
-A holistic treatment is recommended before and after the vaccination and as close to the day of vaccination as possible.
-To support a child who has reacted to a vaccine it is important to provide a high quality diet which includes rich sources of vitamin A, B and C and folate.
-The GAPS diet can often help. (See Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD for more information.)

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 


Sunshine and sunscreen safety

Should you put sunscreen on children?
Not usually! 

You’re at the beach with your 5-month-old baby. Should you put sunscreen on her? Not usually, according to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What makes babies so vulnerable?

For one thing, babies’ skin is much thinner than that of adults, and it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily. For another, infants have a high surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children & adults. Both these factors mean that an infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens is much greater, increasing the risk of toxic reaction or inflammation.

Be aware of the toxicity of some sunscreen ingredients.

The FDA says there isn’t enough data to determine whether ingredients are safe and in particular, raised concerns about oxybenzone, its potential to affect hormone levels and the increased absorption susceptibility of children (FDA 2019). In lab studies, it is a weak estrogen and has potent anti-androgenic effects (Krause 2012, Ghazipura 2017). According to the agency, “sunscreen ingredients” … (including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone,) …”have limited or no data characterizing their absorption.” Drawing on the available literature, the agency also classified aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and trolamine salicylate as unsafe.

The Danish EPA reviewed the safety of  ingredients in sunscreen and concluded that most lacked enough information to establish their safety (Danish EPA 2015). In the case of 16 of the 19 ingredients studied, there was no information about their potential to cause cancer. The published studies suggest that several chemical filters interact with human sex or thyroid hormones, and there was not enough information about any of them to determine the potential risks to humans from hormone disruption. (ewg.org)

Sunscreen ingredients also affect animals and our environment

Sunscreen ingredients have also been shown to damage coral, accumulate in fish and the environment, and disrupt hormones in fish and amphibians (Buser 2006, Danovaro 2008, Giokas 2007, Kunz 2004, Kunz 2006, Weisbrod 2007).

Do babies need to be out in the sun at all?

Studies have found that 70 percent of breastfed one month old babies were deficient in vitamin D (Wagner 2010). This is a serious problem because vitamin D plays a key role in growth and development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that Mexican Americans and African Americans are two to three times more likely than Caucasians to have low levels of vitamin D (CDC 2011). So we do want to make sure our babies get some sun exposure.

Summer’s heat presents other challenges for babies.

Younger infants don’t sweat like we do. Sweat naturally cools us down when we’re hot, but babies haven’t yet fully developed this natural cooling system. So we want to make sure our babies don’t get overheated.

In hot weather, babies are also at greater risk of becoming dehydrated. To make sure they’re adequately hydrated, offer them extra breast time, formula or water in between their usual feedings.

Sun Safety Tips 

– Keep your baby in the shade.
– Make sure your child wears clothing that covers and protects sensitive skin.
– Make sure your baby wears a hat that provides sufficient shade.
– Watch for warning signs of sunburn or dehydration such as fussiness, redness and excessive crying.
– Hydrate! Give your baby extra feedings or a small amount of water between feedings if you’re out in the sun.
– If your baby is urinating less than usual, it may be a sign of dehydration, give more fluids until the flow is back to normal.
– Avoid sunscreens, especially those containing possible toxic ingredients or the insect repellant DEET, particularly on our babies hands. Young children may lick their hands or put them in their mouths.
– If you do notice your baby is becoming sunburned, get out of the sun right away and apply aloe vera to the affected areas.

Remember that we all need the healing rays of the sun, but we want to be sure to avoid sun burns!

For more information on holistic health for your baby and children, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 


Ten Benefits Of Holistic Pediatric Care

Ten Benefits Of Holistic Pediatric Care

  1. Feeding your child an organic, whole-foods based natural diet reduces exposure to artificial coloring agents, pesticides and preservatives. A high-quality diet will help to prevent health problems like allergies, digestive problems and immune problems.
  2. Treatments based on the ancient wisdom of Traditional Asian Medicine are gentle and children look forward to the treatments.
  3. Reducing stress in your child’s life will help her to stay healthy. Getting enough rest and exercise? Spending too much time in front of electronic screens? Exercise and outside play can help to lower stress levels, as well as keep your child in shape.
  4. Learn how you can help your child through therapeutic massages and other natural techniques.
  5. If your child should suffer an injury or illness, Shonishin, Pediatric Tuina, Moxa, cupping and natural remedies help her to heal faster.
  6. Natural remedies are easily absorbed, to effectively aid in the healing process.
  7. Natural treatments and products are earth-friendly. They also reduce your family’s exposure to toxins.
  8. Preventative care: With holistic pediatric care, treat the source of imbalances and not just the symptoms!
  9. Save your budget by taking an active part in supporting your child’s health.
  10. Regular Holistic Pediatric care will support your child to live a long happy, healthy life.

Once you’ve started to use holistic pediatric care, you’ll see an amazing improvement in your child’s health, as well as prevent potential future problems.

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 


Lunar Treatments

Child and moon

A holistic way to heal and help your child.

Each full moon, children enjoy affordable, gentle healing treatments.

This ancient practice originates in Japan, where children traditionally receive reduced rate, monthly treatments near the full moon. When the moon is full, it exerts an influence not only on the ocean tides but also on the ocean within our bodies.

Regular, monthly Lunar Treatments help your child in many ways:
*Balance your child’s developing meridian, organ and endocrine systems
*Strengthen their whole constitution
*Enhance the immune system – so your child gets well and stays well
*Nourish their mind & spirit – for depression, anxiety and hyperactivity
*Fortify digestion, rebuild the digestive fire & regulate bowel movement
*Enable deep peaceful sleep

Lunar treatments are painless, gentle and can include Shonishin, Tuina massage, moxa, cupping, essential oils, nutrition, herbal medicine and other recommendations. Children look forward to this nurturing care and parents learn home care methods to support their child’s health!

Lunar Treatments emphasize preventive care.

There is an ancient saying: Treat Winter diseases in the summer.  Preventive treatments in earlier seasons help us avoid and heal illness in later seasons. Problems that arise due to weather, diet, emotions, or lifestyle can be avoided and alleviated with monthly holistic care. Decrease the intensity and frequency of colds or coughs in the Fall or allergies in the Spring with regular preventive monthly treatments!

A Check-Up for Success 

Bringing your child in to see Dr. Sally when they’re sick, for allergic reactions, ear infections or labored breathing is only one type of visit.  Preventive visits are a chance to raise questions and concerns about your child’s development, behavior, diet, sleeping, toilet training, social behaviors, attention and learning problems as well as general well-being — questions that are difficult to discuss during sick visits. Having regular Lunar visits is key to preventive care and helps Dr. Sally know and understand your child.

Making the Most of Doctor Time

Creating a list is a good way to ensure you get all the information you need. Jot down 3 to 5 questions and bring them to the visit to help you focus on issues of concern. Parents shouldn’t hesitate to share information that further opens the doors of communication. As your child’s most important advocate, you have valuable information that will help Dr. Sally better understand your child and your family. Feel free to ask about any and everything related to the care of your child — medical or not. 

A Healthy Happy Future

Continuity of care helps build trust and better communication at each Lunar Visit. Over the years, this regularity enables your child to establish a caring, holistic, healing relationship with Dr. Sally.  Children learn that the rhythm of caring for themselves is an ongoing process leading to a healthier, happier life, the ultimate goal!

Book a Lunar Treatment for Your Child Online


For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 



Crystal was an easy going baby, until she hit the 6 month mark and her gums began bothering her. Her teeth hadn’t yet erupted through but they were causing her (and Mom & Dad!) a lot of discomfort. She had become fussy and irritable. Mom tried to comfort her by nursing her more frequently but there was no relief.

On their first visit, Catrina, her mom, mentioned that Crystal seemed more uncomfortable after eating and that her breath had turned a bit sour recently. I noted the pediatric vein on her index finger, her red gums and her discomfort when I lightly palpated her tummy. All these signs indicated food stagnation and heat.

After a gentle treatment of pediatric tuina massage and Shonishin, I recommended an herbal formula, a combination of Bao He Wan and Suan Zao Ren Tang. To accompany this, I suggested a soothing gum oil of chamomile and cloves steeped in olive oil. Crystal’s diet also needed attention. They changed to simple, bland foods such as rice porrige, steamed veggies and soups and avoided too many sweet, starchy or dairy foods like bread, cookies and cheese.

When they came in the next week for their follow-up visit, both Catrina and Crystal were smiling. Her irritability was gone and everyone was sleeping well and enjoying life again!

Crystal continues to come in once a month for pediatric Lunar Treatments and remains healthy and happy. She maintains a wholesome, nourishing diet of whole grains, soups and steamed vegetables and avoids too much dairy or sweets.

So why do babies and kids suffer so much, when they are teething?
And why do some kids seem to get sick when they are teething?

In our modern way of life, we often grab convenient, quick foods which can cause stagnation in our little one’s digestion. This can affect them, all the way up to their mouth and gums. Teething is a healthy process but when combined with food stagnation and heat, this normal transformation becomes one of agony and sometimes even affects the immune system.

So the next time your child is teething, reach for those bland and nourishing foods.

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 



Sleep Issues

Over the years, I’ve been asked many times, “Why is my child not sleeping?” This means that Mom and Dad aren’t sleeping well either!

Sometimes it’s digestive sensitivities that keep children up or life’s stresses, but other times it can be their constitution. Perhaps they are hot at night with sweating that interferes with deep sleep.

A few ways that we can help them to sleep:
*A gentle foot massage with sesame oil before bed can soothe their whole body and spirit.
*Having a bedtime routine, at the same time every night helps their nervous systems to wind down for sleep.
*In-depth look at their diet can sometimes reveal a deficiency in some minerals such as magnesium.
*Testing and treating for food and chemical sensitivities.
*Individualized herbal formulas designed for their constitution.
*Therapeutic Tuina Massage and Shonishin treatments

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 

Pediatrics, Uncategorized

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
A story of how Traditional Asian medicine can help

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, AKA Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is one of the more common chronic illnesses of childhood and an important cause of disability.

Usually, I don’t see children with JIA until after they have been on medications for awhile and their parents are at their wits end. Here is the story of one of my patients:

When I first met Loren, she was 3 years old and had been on medications since she was diagnosed at only 9 months of age. Her mother was desperate to find a holistic solution, get her off medications and relieve her suffering. She was a bright eyed little girl with knees and ankles swollen & red with a pain level of 5 on the FACES pain scale. Her sleep was intermittant and she was sweating at night. Her tongue was very red-tipped, thin and sharp. Her pulse was weak and floating in the Heart position and slightly rapid. All these signs point to Heart Yin deficiency heat. On testing for allergies, she was allergic to oranges and kiwis.

A course of treatment was planned, including the herbal formulas: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan. After the first treatment of NAET, pediatric Tuina massage and Shonishin, she was sleeping better and her pain level decreased to 4. With each treatment, she became progressively better. Within the first month, her mother took her off the drugs, with her MD’s oversight. After 3 months, she became much more physically active. 6 months after the first treatment, she was almost pain free with only slight swelling in the right knee and enrolled in a children’s ballet class. She can now eat oranges and kiwis without any ill effects.

She continues to come in for treatments every month, near the full moon, for Lunar treatments. She remains pain-free with no swelling or discomfort.

A complete recovery from JIA takes time, many treatments, changes to the diet and dedication to taking the formulas and supplements, but it is well worth the reward of pain free living!


For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally Sherriff, DAOM at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 



Headaches in Children

Some of the many potential headache triggers include:

  • Certain medications (headaches are a potential side effect of some)
  • Too little sleep or sudden changes in sleep patterns. Depending on their age, children need 10-11 hours of sleep every night. Make sure they are going to bed early enough to get the sleep that they need.
  • Skipping meals. Be sure they are eating enough protein and vegetables every 2-4 hours.
  • Becoming dehydrated. Add soups and herbal teas to their diet.
  • Being under a lot of stress. Check in with how they are feeling, notice if they are worried or anxious about anything
  • Having a minor head injury. Have they had an accident recently?
  • Using the computer or watching TV for a long time. Make sure that your child plays outside every day. Limit screen time. This includes TV, computer, phone or any kind of electrical device.
  • Vision problems. Be sure to have your child’s vision checked by a professional
  • Menstruation
  • Experiencing changes in hormone levels
  • Taking a long trip in a car or bus
  • Lisetning to really loud music
  • Smoking
  • Smelling strong odors such as perfume, smoke, fumes, or a new car or carpet. Have you purchased anything new that your child may be reacting to?
  • Drinking or eating too much caffeine (In soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate)
  • Consuming foods with MSG (such as alcohol, cheese, nuts, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, fatty or fried food, lunch meats, hot dogs, yogurt, aspartame, or anything with the food additive MSG)
    **Be sure to give your child fresh fruits and vegetables at least 3x/day

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally Sherriff, DAOM at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 



Child Fever
Fevers, or elevated temperatures, are a good sign that the immune system is working. Fever is the body’s mechanism for fighting infections-speeding up metabolism to increase heart rate and blood supply where it is needed, producing more white blood cells to devour pathogens, and increasing antibody responses to infection. In Traditional Asian Medicine, we do not suppress fevers under 105F, with antipyretics (fever-reducing medications such as: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin). Studies have shown that depriving the body of its ability to develop a fever with antipyretics may prolong the illness, decrease antibody response, and increase the likelihood of disease complications such as pneumonia and meningitis. Reducing fevers interferes with immune mechanisms and worsens illness.

When is a Fever dangerous? Danger Signs with Fever:
Any fever in a child under three months of age requires the attention of a qualified doctor.
If your child’s fever reaches 105F you should take your child to see the doctor or to the emergency room.
Symptoms: If your child is vomiting repeatedly, has a severe headache, lethargic, pale and unresponsive or crying weakly, or has a stiff neck or body, you must take your child to the hospital or MD immediately

When a child has a fever, we want to support their immune system to clear the virus. In Traditional Asian Medicine, we use gentle, yet effective, Shonishin and Tuina massage treatments, diet and herbs to support the child’s immune system to clear the virus.

What can parents do for fevers?
-Keep a cool cloth on your child’s forehead
-Give Herbs such as Yin Qiao, Echinacea, Minor Bupleurum or Windbreaker
-Give vitamin C
-Give plenty to drink
-Give therapeutic Tuina-massage (parent instruction offered)
-Dry brush skin massage
-Keep child home from school and resting for twenty-four hours after a fever has subsided. Often children will have a fever in the evening, burn it off in the night, and feel much better in the morning. Then the fever may return later in the afternoon and the child feels droopy again. Better to rest until recovery is complete than to rush back to normal activities and prolong the illness.

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally Sherriff, DAOM at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments 




Eczema, skin inflammation is also known as atopic eczema.

I’ve seen many babies, some as young as 3-4 weeks with whole body eczema. By the time I see them, Mom and Dad have often already tried everything – different soaps, less bathing, more bathing, and every over the counter cream money can buy.

Research has finally linked the digestive tract’s “microbiome” to skin health. The “microbiome” refers to the population of bacteria that live in our gut. They play an important role in mediating the immune response, especially in regards to allergies and eczema. We know from recent research that children who have eczema are more likely to be born via c-section. We know they are more likely to develop asthma. We know that they are more likely to have an impaired microbiome.

The Causes of Eczema
Food allergies (IgE mediated) are known to exacerbate eczema, but non-IgE mediated food sensitivities can also play a role in eczema. The most common food culprits are dairy (cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt), eggs, gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats), soy, peanuts, fish, beef, corn, citrus and even tomatoes. Stress, genetics, antibiotics, and environmental toxic ingredients like heavy metals can also play a role in atopic dermatitis.

What can I do?

1. Get rid of any personal care products that may be irritating. Certain chemicals can trigger eczema, or make it worse in susceptible children. Watch for irritating ingredients in:

  • Bath soap
  • Shampoo
  • Parent’s personal care products including perfume, deodorant, etc.
    Laundry detergent & fabric softener. (Choose an unscented laundry detergent.)

Make sure to choose skin care products that are free of:

  • Fragrance, or “parfum”
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate
  • Parabens

2. Establish and maintain a healthy population of gut bacteria. When is the best time to begin giving a child probiotics? C-section babies should start on the first day of life. Babies born to mothers who have been on many antibiotics and have a family history of eczema should also start early.

3. Give your baby DHA. Studies show that mothers who take DHA when they are pregnant help reduce the risk of their babies having eczema, allergies and asthma. Babies have a very limited ability to convert omega 3 fatty acids to DHA which is crucial for developmental and skin health.

4. Consider giving some of the following foods
-tea of Job’s tears barley and mung beans
-tea of dandelion and corn silk
-tea of aduki beans, Job’s tears barley and corn silk

For an individualized healing program for your child and info on Lunar treatments, contact Dr. Sally Sherriff, DAOM at 831-295-6327. 320 River Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060

Click Here to Schedule Appointments