PREPARING FOR YOUR CHILD’S FIRST ACUPUNCTURE APPOINTMENT
You have decided to bring your child in for acupuncture and now you’re wondering what you’re going to tell him or her about the initial visit. In order to help explain to your child what is involved with an acupuncture treatment we have got a few pointers to help you out.
Be honest with your child about what the visit is for.
If your child is old enough to understand what is going on with their body, explain to them why they are coming in for an acupuncture visit. Let them know that you’ll be discussing their problems with the acupuncturist and that you will be with them for their whole visit at the acupuncturist’s.
Tell them about acupuncture.
Acupuncture helps the body heal itself. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal themselves, but sometimes they need a little help and that’s what acupuncture does. It also helps the body heal faster. The acupuncturist is like a detective who is searching for the root cause of illness and then uses special spots called acupuncture points to begin the healing process.
Avoid words like pinch, prick, poke, pins, or needles.
These words sound scary and may cause your child to be afraid of acupuncture.
Tell them that the acupuncturist does “taps”.
At our clinic, we call acupuncture for kids “taps” because the acupuncturist will do a lot of gentle finger tapping and rubbing to prepare the acupuncture point. The needles are swiftly tapped in and, for kids under age 8, immediately removed.
Don’t lie to them if they ask if it hurts.
When the needles are tapped in there is little to no discomfort. Your child may feel a tiny amount of discomfort but most do not feel anything at all. Hundreds of thousands of kids every year get acupuncture because it helps them feel better.
Help them be brave!
Sometimes bringing a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket gives them comfort if they are feeling scared or apprehensive. Some kids even dress up in costumes for their first visit! We’ve seen pirates, Wonder Woman, and cowboys, to name a few.
If they don’t want to try taps, we have other options.
Sometimes even the bravest kids don’t want to try taps right away. That’s all right — we have other non-needle techniques we can use that have similar therapeutic effect as acupuncture. Your child will never be forced to do taps or anything else against their wishes, but it is our sincere hope that they will cooperate with us during their treatment.
Decide ahead of time if you are going to offer a reward for trying taps.
It’s their choice if they want to try taps, but sometimes a little motivation helps. Rewards have worked quite well for many parents to encourage their kids to try it. If you plan to offer a reward, figure out what you’ll offer ahead of time so that you are not caught off guard, but be ready to follow through. You may want to keep it a secret and use it as a last resort or it may work better to tell them ahead of time.
Copyright 2013 AcupuncturePediatrics.com and Robin Green, L.Ac. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.