Is acupuncture safe for children?
Paediatric acupuncture is increasingly popular in the UK as a safe, gentle, and effective therapy for babies, children and teenagers with a number of conditions.
However, we understand that the idea of inserting needles into a child’s skin can be unnerving for parents, which is why we are often asked: ‘Is acupuncture safe for children?’
The answer is: ‘Yes. ‘Acupuncture is completely safe for children of all ages.
To help you understand more about the practice, here we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions by parents.
At what age can kids have acupuncture?
Babies, young children and adolescents can all benefit from the calming and healing effects of acupuncture.
Understandably, children are often afraid of needles, but those used for acupuncture are entirely different from the needles used for injections. When treating young children and babies, acupuncturists will always use incredibly fine, specialist needles.
During a typical session, only one or two needles will be used. In some cases, there will be no needles at all because most practitioners use acupressure on children, which involves stroking, tapping, rubbing or applying pressure to specific acupoints across the body. These movements stimulate Qi (chee) across the body in the same way needles do.
The process is gentle and virtually painless.
Why would a child need acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in helping children of all ages suffering from a range of physical ailments, such as headaches, stomach aches, joint or muscular pains, as well as mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and ADHD.
In babies, acupuncture has been shown to aid with common complaints like colic, lack of sleep and teething pains. The treatment can assist with boosting their immune system, permitting them to fight illness and infection in a healthy and natural way.
In young children, persistent symptoms such as ear infections, coughs and bowel problems can cause lifelong issues and dependencies on medication if not addressed. Often, acupuncture is a safe intervention to address symptoms before they worsen while providing a child’s immune system the support it needs.
For teenagers, acupuncture can be particularly helpful during hormonal imbalances and rapid bodily changes. Teens can suffer from ongoing headaches, migraines, depression, anxiety, stomach issues and other pain during puberty. Acupuncture can help to support them through this transitionary time, helping to rebalance their body and strengthening their immune system.
For many parents, acupuncture has become a safe, effective and non-invasive alternative to medication and other invasive treatments.
Is acupuncture helpful for kids with anxiety?
According to the NHS, almost 300,000 children and adolescents in the UK suffer from anxiety disorders.
Sadly, it is a condition that can affect even young children, which is why many parents are now using acupuncture as a non-invasive tool to help minimise feelings of anxiety.
With the number of children suffering from anxiety on the rise, many studies are now being conducted to demonstrate its efficacy.
In 2018, a pilot study investigated the use of acupuncture in the treatment of anxiety in children and adolescents. Twenty children aged between 8 and 16 participated, and were separated into an acupuncture control group and a waitlisted control group. At the end of the study, the children who received acupuncture treatments displayed a marked decrease in anxiety when compared to the waitlisted group.
Want to learn more about acupuncture for children?
There are countless studies delivering promising results when using acupuncture to help children and adolescents with physical and mental health problems without, or in conjunction, with pharmaceuticals.
We hope this article has helped answer the question ‘Is acupuncture safe for children?’ However, if you would like to learn more, feel free to visit our Acupuncture for Children page.
If you have any questions or concerns about whether acupuncture is the right treatment for your child, then don’t hesitate to contact our team, who will be more than happy to help.