Really?! Kids can get acupuncture?

Voa, age 3, loves acupuncture! She has nine needles in her body in this picture — they are so small that they are hard to see.

Yes! Acupuncture works by activating and focusing the body’s own self-healing capacity and, because children’s self-healing capacity is much stronger than that of most adults, we often see remarkably quick and dramatic treatment results in children. While many adults have physical or emotional health problems are very firmly entrenched, children often require much shorter courses of treatment. Acupuncture can heal the root cause of your child’s health problem and save your child years or even decades of suffering.

How old does a child have to be to get acupuncture?

All ages of children, even newborns, can get acupuncture.

Acupuncture For Children
Voa, age 3, loves acupuncture! She has nine needles in her body in this picture — they are so small that they are hard to see.

But doesn’t it hurt? I don’t want my child to be traumatized.

We use the very teeny, tiniest needles for children. Many kids do not feel anything at all when the needles are inserted. If there is any discomfort it only lasts for a brief moment. Voa, pictured at right, has been getting acupuncture since she was two years old. Her two favorite activities each week are going to the library for story time and coming to my office for her acupuncture appointment. To me this is great evidence that acupuncture is not painful or scary for children — most kids LOVE acupuncture.

Is it safe?

According to a study published in 2011 called “The Safety of Pediatric Acupuncture: a Systematic Review” in the journal Pediatrics, acupuncture was found to be safe when performed by an appropriately trained and licensed acupuncturist. In this study the authors focused on the safety of acupuncture in children by reviewing over 37 different studies on pediatric acupuncture. What they found was that acupuncture was extremely safe with little or no adverse reactions, especially when compared to many common over-the-counter drugs (such as acetaminophen).

Researchers discovered that out of the combined studies’ nearly 1500 children and teenagers only a small percent (0.1%) experienced mild side-effects (such as bruising or a little bit of swelling at the needle site).

Only in rare cases did serious adverse events occur and serious adverse events only occurred when the child was treated by an assistant or practitioner who wasn’t fully trained and licensed in acupuncture. As long as you are taking your child to a fully trained and licensed acupuncturist your child will be completely safe.

What conditions are treatable with acupuncture?

According to Pediatric Acupuncture: a Review of Clinical Research, there is scientific evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating the following conditions in children:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Pediatric Migraine
  • Procedural Stress
  • Enuresis (bedwetting)
  • Constipation
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Neurologic Disability
  • Laryngospasm
  • Post-Operative Vomiting
  • Cancer-related conditions