What is paediatric (child) acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of health care that has been practised in different parts of the world for approximately 2500 years. It is a branch of Chinese medicine. Acupuncturists are trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques to determine the nature and location of imbalance in the body. The focus is on the individual, as well as the illness.
Acupuncturists follow the wise words of Hippocrates who said:
‘it is more important to know what kind of person has a disease than what kind of disease a person has’.
Every symptom a child has is seen in relation to each other. Treatment involves a variety of different techniques that affect the flow of the body’s qi, or vital energy, and help it to regain equilibrium. Paediatrics has been recognised as a specialism within the acupuncture tradition for over a thousand years. Chinese doctors understood that children are not simply ‘mini adults’ and that they need different care. They skilfully adapted their diagnostic and treatment methods to suit children. Over the last few decades, pioneering acupuncturists in the West have further adapted those methods to ensure that acupuncture is a well-tolerated and effective method of treatment for today’s children in the Western world.
The reality is that, when practised in the right way, acupuncture can be almost painless and is accepted by the vast majority of children. However, there is a small percentage of children for whom being needled is genuinely terrifying. This may be a child who is particularly sensitive to pain, or who has had some trauma in the past.
Acupuncture needles are incredibly fine, and the ones used with children are even finer! They are about the width of a single hair. At The Little Acupuncture Room, we use a ‘child-friendly’ needle technique, which is an almost pain free method of inserting acupuncture needles. In one treatment, depending on the age, condition and constitution of your child, as few as two needles may be used. Up until the age of about seven, the needles are inserted and withdrawn immediately so your child does not need to stay still for any length of time.
Every child who comes to The Little Acupuncture Room needs a slightly different approach and a different method of treatment. We will tailor everything to suit the nature and needs of your child. Treatment needs to be effective but your child's experience also needs to be a positive one. The following will give you an idea of some of the methods we may use to help your child feel well again. Sometimes we may use one method, and sometimes they will be combined. We will always explain to you and your child (depending on their age) what we would like to do and check with both of you beforehand that you are happy.