Scottsdale Acupuncture


Acupuncture For Kids

Posted Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 by

acupuncture, kids, child

Up until now acupuncture has rarely been used on children because kids are usually afraid of needles and the process can be terrifying for them. But some creative doctors have started to demonstrate to kids that these needles won’t hurt them by doing acupuncture techniques on the child’s parents first in front of them. This establishes a level of trust between the doctor and young patient.

What is acupuncture?

A practice of inserting thin needles into the body at strategic points to treat a slew of health issues.

The key point to make about children receiving acupuncture therapy is that you must find a practitioner that is trained and skilled in this unique technique because severe injury could result if acupuncture is not performed properly. The last thing that you want to do for your child that is already in pain is to cause more pain.

How does acupuncture work?

The theory behind acupuncture is that energy flows throughout the body along various channels called meridians. The traveling energy is called qi. Qi is not always able to move through the body freely (free movement is the ideal condition) so chronic illness can result until the blockages are removed. Acupuncture removes harmful blockages and allows energy to start flowing freely again.  It does have benefits for children.

Recent Studies

A study was recently conducted by Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin at a Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston to study pain management in children and the correlation between acupuncture and managing pain. The sample of participants ranged from aged sixth months to eighteen years. Total participants were 243 patients so this was a relatively good sample. Before the acupuncture was administered, the average pain scale was an 8 out of 10.

The study lasted for one year and the average pain level at the end of the study was a 3 out of 10. The child’s parents reported that these children missed less school, actually participated in hobbies, and were sleeping better.

The pain reported was caused by endometriosis, migraines, and chronic pain conditions. Seventy percent of study participants reported that their pain level was less after receiving the acupuncture treatments.

During another study on acupuncture in children, forty-seven children were examined after acupuncture therapy and fifty nine percent of them showed improvement per their parents.

Other studies have been done to test the effect of acupuncture on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Cerebral Palsy but results have not yet been published.

One third of pain centers for children in the United States offer acupuncture to children to help with pain management.

What ailments have been treated with acupuncture?

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and reflux issues
  • Sleeping problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Menstrual pain in teens
  • Drooling
  • Bedwetting
  • Bone pain and disorders

Possible side effects

Most side effects reported are very mild but some severe side effects that have been experienced by children receiving acupuncture therapy from inexperienced practitioners have been physical deformity, nerve function loss, and infection. Please note that this was from inexperienced doctors that made mistakes during treatment. Mild side effects included:

  • Bruising
  • Crying
  • Discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Temporary numbness at needle injection site

How to help my child succeed with acupuncture therapy?

As a parent, caregiver, or guardian, you want what is best for your child which is why you are looking into treating their pain with acupuncture in the first place. So what can you do to help ensure the treatment is successful?

  • Show that you trust the doctor in front of your child to help them to build a trusting relationship with the doctor, too.
  • Be perfectly calm during the process, your child will take cues from you so if you are nervous your child will be nervous too.
  • Talk to your child during the therapy and keep them engaged with you in conversation or silly stories. Just be careful to not have the child talking or moving around too much or it will affect the therapy.
  • Try introducing Acupressure therapy first if your child is deathly afraid of needles until you can mentally work them up to accepting therapy with needles.

Acupuncture cannot replace traditional medical treatments in all cases. For instance, diabetics will still need insulin even if they undergo acupuncture treatments because this therapy does not treat diabetics. Acupuncture has been successful in treating many forms of chronic pain in children and adults across the nation. We encourage you to research and check out if acupuncture may be a good fit for your family!

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