Acupuncture for children
Acupuncture has become more and more commonly used by parents as a treatment for children and babies. This is mainly because acupuncture offers a safe, natural and effective approach to paediatric care, which helps bring the child back to full health. It helps boost their immune system so that they will be stronger and able to fight the attack of disease. In our clinics, parents have given us feedback on having noticed that the developmental and general mood (especially in babies/toddlers) has improved greatly after their child’s treatment.
So…how does it work?
A study on this subject was conducted at the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston by Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D., an anaesthesiologist who specialises in pain management in children.
Dr. Lin’s study included 243 children ranging in age from six months to 18 years who were being treated for headaches, stomachaches, back pain and other chronic complaints that often caused them to miss school. When the study began, the young patients rated their average pain as an “eight” on a scale of one to ten. When the year-long study was over, the average pain rating among the children was a “three.” The kids also reported missing less school, sleeping better, and being more able to participate in extracurricular activities as a result of treatment.
Yuan-Chi Lin, MD, director of the Medical Acupuncture Service said: “The goal in my clinic is to decrease children’s pain and symptoms so that they may participate in activities at school, in sports and with their peers”.
Another study in the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital concluded that acupuncture is “safe, well tolerated, and therapeutic” for the treatment of infants. This study highlights the importance of minimising an infants exposure to sedatives and pain medications in the hospital setting. The goal is to reduce the neurotoxic effects of medications and improve outcomes when infants undergo both intensive and invasive medical procedures.
Details about these studies and information about the hospitals, clinics and clinicians mentioned above can be found here:
The main question parents ask: “does acupuncture hurt?”
Acupuncture for children is almost painless and most of them do not notice the needle insertion at all because they are been distracted by their mum, dad or both.
For young children and babies, a quick needling technique can be used, where the needle is inserted and immediately taken out. Other times, the needle can be inserted and left for 30 seconds or more, depending on the child and the treatment needed.
With a paediatric treatment there is only a few (sometimes only two or three), small very fine needles used and the treatments only take a short time, anything up to 15 minutes.
Children and babies get acupuncture treatment for:
Skin conditions/ Eczema
Coughs and colds
Pain in the body
What happens at the first appointment?
A full case history will be taken for each child where all aspects of a child’s health are taken into consideration:
Physical health, food intake, environment, emotional well being and if they are on any medication.
A fully trained acupuncturist knows that not every child will want to have acupuncture. A child is never forced to have acupuncture, there are other non-needle treatments that may be used, such as Acupressure and Tui Na Massage. They are painless and have a similar therapeutic effect to acupuncture – so communication between practitioner, parents and children is crucial!
If you have any further questions about this topic, please feel free to contact the clinicians.