Pediatric Acupuncture: Infants and Pre-Teens Benefit From Treatment

Children, including infants, are tremendously receptive to acupuncture. Providing relief from digestive disorders, rashes, bed-wetting, anxiety and attention deficit disorder, children derive all of the benefits from acupuncture that adults do – but in a fraction of the time.

Treatment differs for children in that treatments last 15 to 25 minutes, and the number of treatments required tend to be far fewer than needed by adults. Both children and animals respond to acupuncture more quickly than adults because their energy tends to be far less rigid or stuck, thus they are more responsive and better able to deeply integrate treatment.

It is possible to begin using needles with children as soon as they consent to it. While I have used needles to treat children as young as 8 years old, it is fine to wait until they become teens. Before then, there are many gentle Japanese pediatric tools, called shonishin, that I ask my young patients to choose from for their own treatment. Children who are mature enough to want to treat themselves are given a toothbrush as a shonishin device to take home and taught how to use it on their meridians.

Parents are an essential part of pediatric acupuncture. Infants are held by the parent during treatment and taught simple massage techniques for treating acupuncture points and meridians. Toddlers may enjoy getting up on the treatment table used by adults and play with Hari Bear  (my special pediatric assistant!) during treatment, or may prefer to watch me do the treatment on their parent who will then administer the treatment on the toddler at home.

In my experience, all children are receptive to having their parents practice the simple brushing or massage techniques on their backs as a bed-time ritual several times a week between office visits.