Is acupuncture safe for children?
Yes, a large-scale systematic review published in the journal Pediatrics (1) found that acupuncture is definitively safe for children, when delivered by a trained practitioner. Therefore, it is fundamental to visit an acupuncturist registered with the British Acupuncture Council, as well as experienced or trained in paediatric acupuncture. Moreover, a study from Harvard Medical School (2) examine children’ and families’ experiences with acupuncture. It concluded that young patients with chronic and severe pain “found acupuncture treatment pleasant and helpful, even for pain that had been very resistant to standard treatment”.
What if my child does not tolerate needles?
If a child is anxious about needles, I will take a gentle approach and might use several non-invasive techniques. Needles are indeed not the only tools in paediatric acupuncture. I might also use acupressure, tui na massage, moxibustion, gentle cupping with silicone cups, or Shonishin (Japanese techniques such as stroking and tapping on the skin with small metal instruments to produce a gentle stimulation). Once I gain the child’s trust, I might ask them if they are happy to try one needle. They are often surprised to see how extremely fine and painless my paediatric needles are.
How can paediatric acupuncture help?
Paediatric acupuncture and no-needle acupuncture can help a vast range of conditions, including chronic pain, sleep issues, digestive issues (Colic, Constipation, Diarrhea, IBS), enuresis (bedwetting), anxiety, minor respiratory and ear infections, recurrent colds and flus, asthma, allergies, ADD/ADHD and emotional disorders. Children will also benefit from gentle treatments used as preventive care. If you are not sure whether acupuncture could help your child, please feel free to give us a call.
Does my baby have to sit or lie still for their treatment?
Not necessarily. The treatment technique for children is very different to adults. We use different techniques, included non needles acupuncture (i.e. tuina massage, Shonishin, cupping, moxibution). When needles are used, they are inserted, manipulated and removed immediately. This can be done whilst a baby is sitting on the parent’s knee, or when crawling around or playing.