Parents are often unsatisfied or frustrated with conventional medicine options that they are given when it comes to addressing their children’s health concerns. They are often looking for alternatives to treat their child's medical needs because they want to limit the drugs their child is exposed to. Used in China for thousands of years, acupuncture is now gaining a reputation as a safe and effective treatment for children around the world. Acupuncture is an excellent options because it helps the body to heal itself. Acupuncture stimulates several processes in the body that naturally activate the bodies own innate healing potential. With children, this potential is even greater so tapping into it early on in life is a priceless asset for your child.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used in China for over 2000 years. It is based on the theory that when there is balance in our body's Qi, we experience optimal health. Qi is the force behind all biological functions and when Qi is unbalanced, lacking, or blocked, symptoms arise. Acupuncture uses very fine needles to balance Qi, allowing the body to heal itself.
What is a treatment like?
Pediatric treatments are brief and gentle, lasting a few seconds to a few minutes. Younger children often sit on their parent’s lap for treatment. When needles are used, they are quickly inserted and then removed, or for older children and teens, they may be left in for a few minutes. I always go with the flow of the child and unlike adult acupuncture, children are not forced to be still for long periods.
Do children really get needles?
Yes! Needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than needles used for blood tests and vaccines. Pediatric acupuncture needles are smaller than the width of three hairs, and insertion is quick and gentle. Commonly, there is no pain or only brief discomfort. If there is any discomfort, it is often compared to a “mosquito bite.”
In my practice I call needles "taps" and if a child is old enough to approve or disapprove the use of taps, I only use them with their permission. Parents are often pleasantly surprised with how willing their child is to try taps for the first time - in my practice 97% of my patients agree to try taps at their first visit. For those who are not yet ready for taps, there are several other equally effective non-needle techniques that can be used.