Benefits of Acupuncture for Children

How to Improve Your Child's Condition With Acupuncture

Acupuncture offers many of the same health benefits for children as it does for adults. The treatment is helpful in improving the symptoms of both chronic and acute (sudden) illnesses and conditions and can help your son or daughter avoid medication side effects.

The Advantages of Acupuncture Treatment

Pain control is one of the most well-known benefits of acupuncture. Treatments offer a natural way to treat pain caused by headaches, sports injuries, migraines, dental and surgical procedures, along with stomach, bone, and joint conditions or diseases.

Acupuncture treatment reduces inflammation and triggers the release of endorphins, natural chemicals that offer pain-killing properties. Treatments may eliminate the need for pain medication completely or allow your child to use a lower dosage.

Visiting an acupuncturist may also be helpful in treating these conditions and diseases in children and teenagers:

  • Gastrointestinal Conditions: Does your child suffer from acid reflux, constipation, frequent diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome? Acupuncture can reduce stomach acid, boost immune response, and help regulate your child's gastrointestinal system.
  • Colic: Acupuncture just may offer the ideal solution for parents of colicky babies. Swedish researchers reported that the duration and intensity of crying decreased after infants in their study received six acupuncture treatments over three weeks.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Treatments can prevent nausea after surgery and may reduce nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.
  • Bedwetting: Bedwetting is frustrating for both parents and kids. If taking medication, waking your child for night-time bathroom visits, or limiting liquids haven't helped, acupuncture may help keep your child stay dry at night.
  • Menstrual Pain: Acupuncture offers natural pain relief for menstrual cramps for teenage girls. Treatment may decrease pain intensity and the duration of cramping.
  • Asthma: Fewer asthma flareups and improved breathing are important benefits of acupuncture treatment.
  • Autism: In a literature review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers reported that children who participated in several acupuncture studies experienced behavioral and developmental improvements. Since autism and acupuncture research studies have been limited, they noted the need for more double-blind, controlled studies to explore the effects of acupuncture on autism.
  • Stress: Stress and anxiety can begin much younger than you might expect and can cause upset stomachs, headaches, and other symptoms in children. Acupuncture may help relieve stress and anxiety by reducing the production of stress hormones and triggering the release of serotonin, a hormone that produces a feeling of well-being.

But My Kids Hate Needles!

Acupuncture may not seem like the best treatment for kids at first glance. After all, most children have a healthy dislike of needles. Acupuncturists understand your children's fears and rely on a few techniques that make treatments productive and pleasant.

Children may assume that acupuncturists use the same type of needles used for immunizations at the pediatrician's office. In fact, acupuncture needles are hair-thin and don't cause pain when inserted. At most, your child may notice a tingling sensation or dull ache.

Using acupressure initially can help your child become comfortable with the treatment process. After a few acupressure sessions, your child may be ready for acupuncture.

Your child's acupuncturist may only insert a few needles at first. As your child becomes more comfortable with acupuncture treatment, more needles may gradually be added during sessions. If your child has a fear of needles, it may help if they don't actually see the needles when they're inserted. The acupuncturist can hide the needles from view with small shields that feature cartoon characters or animals.

Rapid needling may also be helpful. The technique involves inserting needles, then quickly withdrawing them.

If your child has a chronic condition or disease, they may benefit from acupuncture treatment.

Sources:

Acupuncture in Medicine: Acupuncture Reduces Crying in Infants with Infantile Colic, 12/1/10

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2012

Cleveland Clinic: Acupuncture for Kids, 2/5/13

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: Safety and Evidence of Acupuncture in Children: A Review of the Evidence, 6/30/08

Evidence-Based Acupuncture: Evidence Summary: Pediatric Acupuncture

Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Sciences: Nocturnal Enuresis-Treatment with Acupuncture, 10/17

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  • "For two years I suffered with progressively worsening bursitis. I consulted with my GP, two orthopedic surgeons, and did PT exercises with no success in relieving the pain. In less than one month of accupuncture treatment the pain is completely GONE!!! Thank you Dr. Senogles, you have given me back the ability to do the activities that enrich my life :)"
    Katherine L. / - Medford, OR