I’ve been a big old hippie for quite a while. With my recent medical issues, I started looking into acupuncture as a possible method of treatment. I’m not sure if I should say fortunately or unfortunately my deductible and out of pocket have been met for 2016 thanks to my husband’s dying-seven-times-and-being-medivacced incident, but it meant I could have up to 24 visits before the end of the year and I wouldn’t have to pay a penny. That made it a pretty easy choice to try; after all, what do I have to lose? It wasn’t going to cost me anything out of pocket, and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to continue going. I tried it with Jayne Sontag of The Acupuncture Clinic in Soldotna, Alaska and loved it, so I used up as many visits in November and December that I possibly could! It really helped with some nerve damage I have from my two cesareans, but that’s another story for another post, another day!
Benefits & Uses for Acupuncture in Children
My kids tagged along to a few appointments and my son got really interested and wanted to try it. Out of all the kids, he’s the toughest, so I figured he would be the only one who would. We started reading about acupuncture together, helping Danny to understand what it is used for, how long it has been around, and what the benefits and risks are. I really try to give my children the benefits and risks associated with any decision they need to make. After all, how can they make a choice without knowing the potential reward or consequence of it? Danny and I found a lot of great benefits and uses for acupuncture in kids, including;
- Sleep problems & insomnia
- Anxiety & restlessness
- Tiredness & fatigue
- Constipation & diarrhea
- Stomach trouble
- Aches & pains
- Asthma & allergies
- And much, much, more!
These are just a few uses! If your child is struggling with a specific issue, call up your local acupuncturist and ask them about what could be done to treat that issue! Most acupuncturists are very knowledgeable in a variety of issues and can most likely help you! Don’t be afraid to ask! Some may even offer free consults either in person or over the phone.
Is Acupuncture Effective?
One of the biggest questions I get from people when they discover I have taken my son for acupuncture is whether or not it is effective and the research shows over and over and over, it is, for MANY issues, in children and adults. One study thatI loved reading about, was conducted on children with lazy eyes at a Boston-based Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital by anesthesiologist Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D.. One group of children received acupuncture treatment, while the other group was given a patch to wear over the good eye, in hopes that forcing the lazy eye to work harder without the assistance of the strong eye, the lazy eye would be able to self-correct. Of the group of children that received acupuncture, 47% demonstrated a resolution of symptoms, while only 17% demonstrated a resolution to their symptoms through the use of a patch.
Another study, conducted at the same facility, showed that in children with chronic pain, acupuncture dramatically reduced the pain scale rating from children from an average of 8 to 3.
Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?
Most kids aren’t a fan of needles though and are likely reluctant to try them. It’s okay though! An acupuncturist can use other tools and instruments to achieve some of the same effects without the insertion of needles! If you ask Danny though (or watch the video), he thought the needles tickled like crazy! Acupuncture, when performed by a trained professional in a clean, safe environment, is very safe (and effective!). While there have been negative events associated with acupuncture, the vast majority of negative events are pretty mild, according to a review published in Pediatrics. While the review did not focus on efficacy, it did conclude that acupuncture is indeed, overwhelmingly safe for children. It is estimated that in 2007, some 150,000 children throughout the United States used acupuncture to treat various ailments, including migraines, abdominal pain, musculoskeletal problems and anxiety.
We turned to YouTube looking for videos of acupuncture, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find much of anything where kids were actually using needles and not tools or tuning forks. When we went for Danny’s appointment, we asked Ms. Jayne if we could make a video and she thought it was a great idea. I was nervous Danny may get scared and back out. I mean, what kind of kid is okay with needles? I know that at his age, I would have gone into a full-on panicked frenzy if anyone tried to stick any kind of needle in my skin. You can imagine I was surprised when all Danny could do was giggle and squirm because it tickled!
Enough from me, take a peek at how Danny enjoyed his acupuncture session!