What Parents Must Know About Children’s Acupuncture

What Parents Must Know About Children’s Acupuncture

What to Know About Children’s Acupuncture

It may seem strange (and even worrisome) to think of children having acupuncture treatment. In reality, children’s acupuncture is the gentlest form of treatment. We don’t insert needles at all when we treat children, but instead use small acupressure tools, as well as cupping and bodywork, to gently stimulate acupuncture points and channels, Children have extremely sensitive systems, so it doesn’t take much to create a change for the better.

While acupuncture is thousands of years old, a particularly gentle and effective style of pediatric treatment became widespread in Japan during the past 50 years, called Shonishin. This kind of treatment is especially useful for infants and preschool-age children who can’t reliably tell you what is bothering them. In those cases, we rely on a variety of palpation methods to choose the treatment, instead of needing to ask the child. These non-needle treatments can make a big difference in helping children feel better and be less fussy, especially when they can’t tell us what’s going on. 

Another type of non-needle therapy that infants and children respond well to is cupping. This treatment was recently made famous by Olympic swimmers who displayed ‘cupping marks’ all over their backs. The style of cupping done with children is much gentler than what is used with adults, and shouldn’t leave marks. Kids seem to really like cupping and once they try it, they don’t want to stop! Cupping is particularly helpful for both acute and chronic respiratory issues and food allergies.

Using bodywork in children can help balance the musculoskeletal system. This is especially important for infants. Birth can be hard on the body (for both the parent and the child!) and many infants will show muscular imbalances in their preference to turn their head or, eventually, roll over one direction but not the other. This kind of muscular imbalance can affect many other systems in the body – leading to digestive, mood, or sleep issues, among other things. It is easy to use this kind of treatment to help infants adjust after birth, and they are often calmer afterward. 

A great example is when newborns have difficulty latching due to a tight jaw. The tight jaw is only one aspect of a bigger pattern of tension that is shown throughout the whole body and can impact digestion, elimination, even breathing. Bodywork can help unwind this pattern so that the neck and jaw can relax and the infant can latch more easily.

Like adult acupuncture, children’s acupuncture is helpful for a variety of problems. Some of the common reasons children benefit from treatment are:

  • Teething pain
  • Difficulty latching (especially if a tight jaw is part of the cause)
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Asthma or wheezing
  • Eczema and itchy skin
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Anxiety or fearfulness
  • Recurrent colds
  • Reflux

It’s sometimes hard for adults to believe something so gentle can be effective, but thousands of children around the world are living proof that this gentle acupuncture works! If your child is bothered by any of the issues above, chances are good that acupuncture can help. To get the most out of your child’s treatment, be sure to schedule plenty of time before your appointment so you don’t have to rush to get here.

Also, make sure your child has eaten within an hour or so of the appointment. Children’s acupuncture is very pleasant and even fun! Once they get over the newness of it, kids love getting treatment, and it won’t be long until they are feeling better.

At Portland Acupuncture Studio, we safely and painlessly treat children and infants for a variety of conditions. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your child’s long-term health and well-being – and yours too!

Established patients can schedule online, patients who haven’t seen us at Kwan Yin Healing Center call (503) 701-8766, or email us to schedule your appointment.

About Lisa Tongel

We are practitioners of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine specializing in fertility, IVF support, pregnancy care, reproductive health, and pelvic pain.