Can Acupuncture Help My Child?
By Sarah Swanberg, M.S., L.Ac.

Can Acupuncture Help My Child?

January 18, 2016   |   ASK THE EXPERTS  

Acupuncture may be able to help alleviate some of your child's chronic conditions, including asthma, allergies, or frequent colds and ear infections.

Acupuncture and children may not seem like an obvious match, but many parents are turning to acupuncture and Chinese medicine because it offers an effective, safe, and gentle approach to pediatric health care.

Kids today suffer from an alarming number of chronic conditions including asthma, allergies, ADHD, anxiety, recurring cold and ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues. Unfortunately, sometimes western medications just don’t help, come with a host of side effects, or only act as a ‘Band-Aid’ for the symptoms without attention to the deeper issue.

In December, the Journal of Medical Acupuncture released several studies showing that acupuncture is a viable treatment for children. “Acupuncture is a well-tolerated, safe, and effective resource for the pediatric population and is a viable option for pediatric pain management,” concludes Mark J. McDonald, M.D., a pediatric acupuncture specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in his study Acupuncture and Acupuncture-Related Therapies Are Well-Tolerated and Can Effectively Provide Pain Relief in the Pediatric Population. “Acupuncture is an effective modality to use for children with pediatric-onset disabilities. It can help to treat the underlying distressing symptoms as well reducing the side-effect burdens of concomitant medical interventions,” concludes Scott Schwantes, M.D., FAAP, of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, in his study The Use of Acupuncture in a Pediatric Chronic Care Setting: Clinical Applications.

Chinese medicine focuses on treating symptoms by getting to the root of the issue and helping the child’s body heal itself. Treatments are done using super fine, painless acupuncture needles or other non-needle techniques to stimulate the points for kids who aren’t comfortable with needles. Pediatric acupuncturists are trained in a variety of modalities to allow easy customization of treatments for every condition and temperament.

Treatments often also include wellness counseling, during which the parents and acupuncture specialist discuss many ways to help your child gain optimal health, which may include nutritional and herbal counseling, information on potential environmental issues, and attention to emotional health from a Chinese 5 element view. The best part is the children respond very quickly to treatments and most see an improvement after just one visit.

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