There are a number of different techniques we use for your child, depending on their symptoms and their temperament. We’re used to working with all kinds of children so there is no need to worry. They don’t even need to sit still!
Some of the symptoms parents seek us out for include: digestive problems (constipation, diarrhoea, tummy aches and pains, colic, wind, very smelly poos and wind, fussy eater), immune weakness (constant colds, flus, chronic coughs, recurrent ear infections, recurrent upper respiratory infections), Skin conditions (chronic dry skin, chronic itchy skin), sleeping problems, overly high energy that is erratic, very low energy, low muscle tone, troublesome teething and more
Chinese medicine also has treatments for times when you think: `my child has never been well since…` This situation is referred to as lingering pathogen, which means that at a low level there is still some kind of pathogen that is affecting your child and they need to be strengthened in order to remove it so they can become balanced once more and get on with the business of growing and being an every day kid.
The techniques we use include: Acupuncture (we call them bloop bloops), Shonishin, Moxibustion (a gentle warming therapy), cups (aka octopus kisses), Chinese herbs and diet therapy.
Acupuncture in a children’s hospital
This touching film features interviews with the parents of two young children who were diagnosed with brain cancer. We learn how acupuncture improved their quality of life by easing their fatigue, nausea and pain especially through the process of 18 months of chemotherapy.
You can watch the complete 30-minute episode here.
These films are produced by the Acupuncture Now Foundation, a not-for-profit group dedicated to disseminating evidence-based information about the benefits of acupuncture for the community.
Research on acupuncture for paediatric conditions
One of the conditions most commonly treated with acupuncture in people of all ages is pain. According to a 2014 review,(1) an estimated 30.8% of children suffer from chronic pain and acupuncture may be effective in the relief of migraines and tension type headaches, abdominal pain, acute post-operative pain, and dysmenorrhea in adolescent girls.
A retrospective review(2)found that children attending an outpatient service experienced significant improvements in various types of pain including headaches and migraines, back pain, and painful extremities following acupuncture. When children rated their pain on a scale of 1-10 (VAS), they reported average reductions in pain from 5.5 to 2.2 points, and 40% of patients reported a complete resolution of symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting
Another promising area in pediatric acupuncture is the relief of nausea and vomiting, specifically post- operative nausea and vomiting and chemotherapy- induced nausea and vomiting.
A double-blind prospective study on laser acupuncture for nausea and vomiting following eye surgery (3) found that genuine laser acupuncture significantly reduced vomiting compared with sham treatment, with symptoms occurring in just 5/20 patients compared with 17/20 in the control group. Furthermore, just two patients in the genuine acupuncture group required rescue antiemetic therapy compared with 14 in the control group.
These results are supported by a review conducted in 2015(4) which concluded that acupuncture was effective in the relief of post-operative conditions including nausea and vomiting and delirium following general anesthetic.
A further 2016 review (5) of seven different pediatric trials comprising 727 patients concluded that acupuncture may reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting and decrease the need for anti-emetic medication. Side effects were found to be mild and self-limiting and included skin irritation, blistering, redness, and pain. However, the quality of the evidence in most trials was deemed to be of low- quality with a high risk of bias.
Trials on acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting found that acupuncture reduced the severity and duration of symptoms (6) and also increased alertness among patients.(7)
Nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting)
A 2017 study (8) of 20 patients aged 6–22 years found that acupuncture benefited nocturnal enuresis symptoms, as well as improving sleep and quality of life.
These results were supported by a 2015 review (9) of 21 studies and 1590 patients, which showed encouraging results for acupuncture as a treatment for nocturnal enuresis. Outcome measures included number of weekly wet nights, and maximum voided volume. However, only one study was deemed to be high-quality.
A further 2017 review (10) of seven studies conducted on children aged 7–15 years concluded that acupuncture was more effective for nocturnal enuresis than either placebo or drug therapy.
A 2013 study (11) of 52 children aged 6 months to 6 years found significant improvements in asthma symptoms following acupuncture treatment. However, these were not maintained following the cessation of treatment, suggesting long-term acupuncture therapy could be necessary.
These results are supported by a 2015 systematic review of seven studies and 410 patients. (12) Two of the reviewed studies found improvements in peak expiratory flow (PEF) following treatment, while another showed a reduction in asthma-related anxiety.
Golianu B, Yeh A, Brooks M. Acupuncture for Pediatric Pain. Children. 2014 Aug 21; 1(2): p. 134-148.
McDonald MJ. Acupuncture and Acupuncture-Related Therapies Are Well-Tolerated and Can Effectively Provide Pain Relief in the Pediatric Population. Medical Acupuncture. 2015 Dec 1; 27(6): p. 481-486.
Schlager A, Offer T, Baldissera I. Laser stimulation of acupuncture point P6 reduces postoperative vomiting in children undergoing strabismus surgery. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 1998; 81(4): p. 529-532.
Martin CS. CME Article: Acupuncture for the Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Perioperative Conditions. Medical Acupuncture. 2015 Dec 2; 27(6): p. 411-419.
Lee A, Chan SKC, Fan LTY. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point PC6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015; 11.
Yeh CH, Chien LC, Chiang YC, Lin SW, Huang CK, Ren D. Reduction in Nausea and Vomiting in Children Undergoing Cancer Chemotherapy by Either Appropriate or Sham Auricular Acupuncture Points with Standard Care. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2012 Apr 19; 18(4): p. 334-340.
Reindl TK, Geilen W, Hartmann R, Wiebelitz KR, Kan G, Wilhelm I, et al. Acupuncture against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in pediatric oncology. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2005 Jul 13; 14(2): p. 172-176.
Zhu J, Arsovska B. Nocturnal Enuresis-Treatment with Acupuncture Acupuncture treatment for lumbar disc herniation View project. 2017.
Lv Zt, Song W, Wu J, Yang J, Wang T, Wu Ch, et al. Efficacy of Acupuncture in Children with Nocturnal Enuresis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015 Jun 16; 2015: p. 1-12.
Azarfar A, Ravanshad Y, Badiei Aval S, Khamnian Z, Mehrad Majd H. A Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis of Using Acupuncture for the Treatment of Nocturnal Enuresis. Journal of Nephrology & Therapeutics. 2017 May 22; 07(02).
Karlson B. Acupuncture in asthmatic children: a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial of efficacy. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2013 Jul-Aug; 19(4).
Chi Feng Liu LWC. Efficacy of acupuncture in children with asthma: a systematic review. Italian Journal of Pediatrics. 2015 July; 41(48).