Acupuncture & Kids: Your Questions About Safety & Treatment Answered

By Robin Green, founder of Pediatric Essentials Online Course

Since 1996 the rates of chronic illness have more then doubled in children!  In the United States 1 in 3 children suffers from asthma, allergies, autism or ADHD.  That’s unbelievable isn’t it?  All of these problems can be successfully treated or managed effectively with acupuncture.

Parents are increasingly turning to alternative medicines like acupuncture because they want to help heal the root of their child’s health issues.  They don’t want to resort to using medications with their potentially harmful side effects unless absolutely necessary. They realize many of these medicines only treat the symptoms (at best) of their child’s illness and don’t address the root problem.

child acupuncture

Is Acupuncture Really Safe for Kids?

That’s the most important question parents have. The short and simple answer is Absolutely Yes!

With the current standards of training in the US, children seeing a fully licensed and trained acupuncturist are in very good hands.

Many of the techniques used in children do not involve needles at all.  Acupuncturists can use massage, acupressure and other non-needle treatments to stimulate the acupuncture points.

If needles are used in pediatric acupuncture, they are extremely fine and superficially inserted.  In babies and children under age 8 an in/out technique is used where the needle or “tap” is swiftly inserted and immediately removed.

In kids over age 8 needles are inserted superficially and left in from 2 to 20 minutes depending on the age and tolerance of the child.  This type of pediatric acupuncture technique minimizes any serious risk to the child.

Don’t Take My Word For It…

According to a study published in 2011 called “The Safety of Pediatric Acupuncture a Systematic Review” in The Journal Pediatrics, acupuncture was found to be safe when performed by an appropriately trained and licensed acupuncturist.

In this study the authors focused on the safety of acupuncture in children by reviewing over 37 different studies on acupuncture safety for kids.  What they found was that acupuncture was extremely safe with little or no adverse reactions, especially when compared to many common over-the-counter drugs (such as Acetaminophen).

Researches discovered that out of the combined studies’ nearly 1500 children and teenagers only a small percent (168) experienced what they considered mild side-effects such as bruising or a little bit of swelling at the needle site.

Only in rare cases were serious adverse effects shown and they occurred when the child was being treated by an assistant or practitioner that wasn’t fully trained and licensed in acupuncture. As long as you are taking your child to a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist, who has experience in pediatrics, your child, will be completely safe.

What Do Kid’s Get Treated For?

The most common things that parents bring their kids in to see an acupuncturist for are:
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic colds and flu’s
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Autism
  • Headaches
  • Body Pain

The health of our children is getting worse.  According the Journal of the American Medical Association more then 7% of US children were hampered by illness that lasted three months or longer in 2004 compared to 1.8% of those children in 1960. Additionally 15 to 18% of children and teens suffer from chronic illnesses.  Acupuncture can help these kids with safe, effective and drug-free treatments that help the body heal itself!

Will Kids Let You Needle Them?

Kids and needles don’t seem to go together do they?  It might seem unusual for kids to get acupuncture but it has actually been used to treat children for over 2,500 years!  Remember, most of the time needles are not used at all.

When needles or “taps”, as I call them, are used they are so tiny they can hardly be felt. If there is any discomfort it’s the only in the first second or so when the needle is “tapped” in.  After that the kids don’t feel a thing.

Kids respond really well to acupuncture, sometimes even after the first visit their symptoms improve and when they feel better they want to come back.   I swear… kids really love acupuncture!  I see it time and again.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating the body to heal itself naturally. That’s why it can treat a wide variety of conditions. Acupuncture is extremely effective in in treating conditions that involve an underlying component of inflammation.

Acupuncture is amazing at reducing inflammation and restoring the body’s system back to balance. If you’re considering taking your child in for acupuncture I highly recommend finding a fully trained and licensed pediatric acupuncturist.

Let’s Be the Change

It’s alarming that so many children are sick from chronic illnesses.  If we don’t change things now we’re going to have an epidemic of children that are sicker then ever.  It’s time to do something about it–give acupuncture a try.

Robin Green is a board certified and licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. Robin discovered her true calling and shifted the focus of her practice to working with kids after spending years training in pediatrics in search of a cure for her son’s eczema. Her popular blog, Kids Love Acupuncture, provides health tips for kids that incorporate the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Robin also has an online course teaching pediatric acupuncture to other acupuncturists.

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