Acupuncture for Kids?

By Alyssa Johnson, MSOM LAc

Yes! Kids love traditional Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture

Almost every time I tell someone that I am a Pediatric Acupuncturist and that I work at Primary Children’s Hospital they ask, “Acupuncture for kids?” and I reply “Yep. Kids love Traditional Chinese Medicine.” And I am not lying, most kiddo’s really do. Now, I think parents tend to question this idea because they think that kids hate needles and since acupuncture is a needle insertion based treatment, they think there is NO WAY their kid will do or will like it. But before we go any further, let me clarify a few things…

  1. Acupuncture (needle insertion) is a therapy for children over the age of eight. For kids under the age of eight we can do Shonishin (pediatric Japanese meridian massage with small specialized tools),  Acupressure and/or Tuina Massge (Chinese Massage).
  2. As a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner  I also do a therapy called cupping and a lot of 5 element nutrition counseling with patients.
  3. If kids are older than eight and agree to try acupuncture we start with just a few needles (probably 4) and increase (to maybe 12) as the kids get more comfortable with me and the therapy. Acupuncture should not hurt and when kids realize how simple, painless and relaxing the therapy really is; most enjoy the sessions and the opportunity to take a mid-day nap. Yes, many actually fall asleep on the table while the needles are retained for about 20 minute.

The second question I tend to get asked is, “What are the most common aliments you see in practice?” First is pain; back pain, neck pain, headaches and stomach aches.  Next would be digestive issues like colic, IBS or constipation. In the hospital I also treat a lot of kids who experience nausea, anxiety or showing signs from high stress.  In our outpatient clinic  I also see kids for ADD/ADHD, autism, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, seizures and other chronic illnesses too.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a wonderful holistic approach to health and healing. The goal of treatment is to help encourage the body to find a healthy energetic balance. Instead of treating a single symptom like headache or toe pain we’ll evaluate the whole body and try to treat what we call the “root of the problem” or identify why the body as a whole has developed this symptom.  When the root problem is balanced the branch symptoms (headache, toe pain) will resolve on their own.

If you are wondering if acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine could help your child with whatever they are experiencing  I’d encourage you to schedule a New Patient Appointment for them with me. I’d be happy to talk over their specific issue with you and we can decide together if this would be a good therapy for your child to try in their healing journey.