Paediatric acupuncture FAQS for parents
The list of conditions for which acupuncture can be effective is long and diverse. The best way to find out if acupuncture can treat your child’s specific symptoms is to contact a practitioner from the Hub of Paediatric Acupuncture (HOPA directory). Some of the conditions for which children are most commonly treated with acupuncture are:
- Digestive disorders
- Respiratory and allergic conditions
- Mental-emotional and behavioural disorders
- Sleep problems
- Skin diseases
- Urinary disorders – including bedwetting
- Congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy
- Problems associated with puberty
- Menstrual conditions in teenage girls
Yes, acupuncture is about a lot more than just needles. There are many other methods of delivering acupuncture treatment. These include Chinese medical massage techniques (paediatric tui na), non-needle Japanese paediatric techniques (shonishin), moxibustion, cupping and many more. A paediatric acupuncturist will understand that your child needs to find their treatment comfortable. Most children actually enjoy their treatment.
Your child’s practitioner will deliver the treatment they need in a way which is acceptable to your child. When treating children up to the age of approximately 7 or 8, there is no need for them to lie still. Even in an older child who, for whatever reason, struggles to lie still, the practitioner will be able to work around this. Babies and young children are often treated on their parent’s lap.
Even pre-term babies can be treated with acupuncture. No baby is too young to benefit from treatment. However, non-needle techniques will generally be used on young babies.
This depends on many factors and there are very few general rules that apply. During the first session, your child’s practitioner will discuss with you how often they will need to see your child and how many sessions they think it will take for them to feel better. If at any point during the treatment their opinion on this changes, they will communicate this to you.
Most children need a series of weekly appointments to begin with. When their condition(s) shows obvious sign of improvement, then the appointments can begin to be less frequent.
Acupuncture has virtually no unpleasant side-effects. Any that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term and temporary flare-up of your child’s symptoms. It is important to always make sure you see a practitioner who has had specific training to treat children (please see the Hub of Paediatric Acupuncture (HOPA Directory).