What to expect?
What to expect from a well-qualified paediatric acupuncturist:
What happens at a paediatric acupuncture appointment?
THE INITIAL SESSION
An acupuncturist will have two main aims during the initial session with you and your child. The first is to put your child at ease and establish rapport with them. The second is to make a Chinese medicine diagnosis of your child’s condition
An acupuncturist will ask you (and your child, depending on their age) questions about their current health and health history. As they do this, they will be observing many signs that, in Chinese medicine, have relevance to health, for example, your child’s eyes, the tone of their voice, their complexion and their stature.
The acupuncturist will also ask to look at your child’s tongue and take their pulse. They may also palpate their abdomen and back.
HELPING YOUR CHILD TO FEEL RELAXED
A paediatric acupuncturist will be aware that, for many children, coming to their first appointment can be something that they are nervous about. They will therefore make it a priority to help your child feel safe and relaxed. They will spend some time asking your child, in an age appropriate way, about their hobbies, their pets, home life and school life. As well as helping your child to relax, it also informs their diagnosis. Your child’s symptoms do not occur in isolation and should always be understood in the context of your child as a whole person.
A paediatric acupuncturist will explain to your child before each step of the treatment what they would like to do. There are many ways the practitioner will be able to deliver your child’s treatment, either with or without using acupuncture needles. At each session, the practitioner will reassess your child’s condition and find a treatment method that balances the need for efficacy with making it a pleasant experience for your child.
BESPOKE TREATMENT FOR EACH CHILD
Every child who comes for treatment needs a slightly different approach and a different method of treatment. Your child’s practitioner will tailor everything to suit the nature and needs of your child as far as possible. Treatment needs to be effective but your child’s experience also needs to be a positive one.
CHILD-FRIENDLY NEEDLE TECHNIQUE
If your child chooses to have needles, a paediatric acupuncturist will use a ‘child-friendly’ needle technique, which is an almost pain free method of inserting acupuncture needles. There are some other differences in the way children are treated with acupuncture compared to adults:
+ Very few are used. Depending on your child’s age and condition, anywhere between 2 and 6 needles might be used per session.
+ The needles are incredibly fine. Acupuncture needles used in the treatment of children are even finer than those used in the treatment of adults.
+ Acupuncture needles are inserted and withdrawn immediately so the child does not need to stay still for any length of time.