Acupuncture is an alternative therapy which involves puncturing the skin with very fine needles at specific energy points on the body. Acupuncture is believed to restore the flow of qi—an energy which flows throughout the body and travels in channels referred to as meridians—to open up or block targeted areas, aiding in restoring one’s good health and lessening pain. In Western medicine, the FDA acknowledges the benefits and rewards of this type of therapy as well as recommends doctors send patients to acupuncture therapy for pain relief. While adults have been treated by acupuncture for centuries, the same hasn’t always been true for children.
Is acupuncture safe and recommended for children?
Science supports acupuncture and agrees there are benefits for children. Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D., an anesthesiologist specializing in pediatric pain management at Boston-based Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital conducted studies in pain management. Children ages 6-months to 18-years-old participated in the study focused on relief for back pain, stomachaches, headaches, and other chronic complaints. The year-long study reported 70% of patients experienced less pain, after applying acupuncture therapy, than the year prior.
In today’s medical care, acupuncture therapy is being used successfully to help children with pain management, headaches, stomachaches, anxiety, the effects of ADHD, digestive disorders, depression, allergies, asthma, common colds, flu, and coughs, as well as with adolescent-related hormone imbalances.
How to prepare a child for acupuncture
Children, as well as numerous adults, often associate needles with getting a shot or drawing blood—both can be painful and result in tear-filled memories. The types of needles used in acupuncture therapy are as fine as a strand of human hair. Most patients have shared that they experience no pain or just a slight pinch while receiving acupuncture, but nothing comparable to getting a shot or a blood-draw. When a child is shown the thinness of the needle being used plus the fact that these needles look nothing like a hypodermic needle, the children find it easier to continue forward with this type of therapy. Parents are encouraged to seek out an acupuncturist who specializes in working with children.
We can encourage parents to be open to this type of treatment and speak with their healthcare professionals to determine if this is a viable option for their child. With a greater understanding of the techniques and benefits of acupuncture, this practice bridges the gap between the teachings of modern science and what patients experience.
Jennifer L. Crisp, R.N. is the founder of A Bridge To Wholeness. Jennifer believes strongly in both traditional western medicine and alternative health practices as she understands the importance of client-centered care beyond conventional medicine. A Bridge to Wholeness invites traditional and alternative practitioners to get connected (bridging the gap) so your client/patient can experience enhanced benefits and care from these connections. Prior to launching this organization, she worked in a community hospital as a cardiac nurse and has been an entrepreneur since 2011. Visit her website at https://www.abridgetowholeness.com to take the Intersection of Wellness Quiz and get a free report of your results.