Acupuncture for children? Yes!
Surprisingly, acupuncture for children was developed several thousand years ago and has been refined and passed along for many generations now.
The focus for children is different than it is for adults. In children (especially children under the age of 7 years) we focus on addressing the energetic channels that move and are present in your body (think: “The Force” from Star Wars). When we do this, we can support the proper development and movement and either help to get rid of an acute illness or nourish and build the body to address other issues. So, instead of inserting needles, we spend time doing a focused massage with tools that are specially designed to address certain areas of the treatment. Your practitioner will probably use anywhere for 2 to 4 different types of massage tools during the quick treatment and each do something different! Occasionally needles are used, but often they are very small, the time they are in is very short and the number of them is very few.
I am often asked what you would use acupuncture for in children. My short answer is usually “anything!”. But, truly, children have things come up for them too. I see tiny little babies for colic, reflux and difficulty sleeping, and older ones for anywhere from behavioral issues, ADHD and anxiety, to muscle pain from sports. The list is extensive and varied. If you have a question about whether acupuncture might be a good treatment avenue for your child, never hesitate to contact a practitioner to see if it is the right fit for your child’s issue or how they can help you collaborate with your pediatrician.
Here are several things that I find come up in my practice with little ones most often:
- Anxiety: Anxiety is an elusive and difficult thing to manage. It comes from many sources, some that we recognize and some that we don’t. Often, talking to our children and trying to “explain it away” or “reasoning it out” doesn’t help and we are stuck feeling helpless in how to best help and guide our children. Acupuncture for children and young adults can be very effective in helping to reduce and resolve the anxiety. Acupuncture excels at this because of the customization that occurs with getting to the root cause. Lifestyle tools or changes and herbs may be discussed in a treatment plan for anxiety as well.
- Stomach Pain: Gastrointestinal distress and problems are on the rise now. Many times conventional medicine comes up empty handed after extensive, exhaustive and very expensive tests! Acupuncture has been known to help with stomach pain, digestive upset and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea, lower abdominal pain and cramping. Yes, we often talk about dietary causes, but with acupuncture we have many more tools in our tool chest than simply talking about eliminating things that seem too hard to do.
- Allergies: We would be hard pressed to find someone in our circle who doesn’t have allergies. Whether it is our children, our partner, nieces and nephews or neighbors down the street, environmental allergies seem to be all around us. Acupuncture treats allergies by both helping with symptoms as well as getting to the root of what is causing them. Often times they become manageable after just a few treatments and often, with proper use of herbs can be eliminated. This becomes life changing for people!!
- Bed Wetting: Bed wetting is one of those things that, many times, no one wants to talk about. But, as children get older and the issue doesn’t go away, it may end up limiting their confidence as well as causing them to not want to participate in social activities. Chinese Medicine addresses bed wetting on a constitutional level as well as supporting interventions that may be done through conventional therapy.
- Headaches: If you haven’t had a headache ever in your life, you can count yourself lucky. Watching your child deal with a headache is, to say the least, very difficult. My six year old son has inherited my tendency to getting migraine headaches and we just used acupuncture tonight to help him get rid of a bad headache. He knows that the acupuncture helps him, and while he especially loves the Shoninshin massage, he breathes with me when I feel like inserting 2 or 3 needles is the best treatment plan. Hooray not only for pain management and improved circulation but also passing on a different legacy than taking pills to solve every problem!
Children are not just little adults. They have their own special set of needs along with requiring care to be delivered in a certain way. Practitioners trained in acupuncture focused on pediatrics can make sure that this happens. Chinese Medicine in children and young adults has a very large place in preventative, chronic and acute care. It can help to treat problems both at the root of the issue and the symptoms that are resulting from that. There are many ways to achieve health, happiness and wellness, adding acupuncture to your family’s routine is a holistic and easy way to do this.