Pediatric acupuncture


Children will, in the same way as adults, experience different aches and complaints during their growing-up period. All NAFO acupuncturists in Norway today have, as part of their education, gone through the fundamental differences in treating adults and children. Normally, children will not have the needles in for as long a period of time – 1-10 minutes is sufficient, and one generally uses fewer needles.

For many parents, the biggest hurdle to get through is their child’s fear of needles. There have been a number of studies published regarding the use of acupuncture on children. Many of them conclude that if the child can overcome this fear there are a number of conditions and symptoms that can be treated.

An example of such a study was conducted at the Harvard affiliated Children’s Hospital in Boston by Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D., an anesthesiologist who has specialized in the treatment of pain in children. His study included 243 youths, aged 6 months to 18 years. They received treatment for headache, abdominal pain, back pain and other chronic complaints that often resulted in them staying home from school. At the onset of the study, the patients evaluated the pain of needle penetration to range approximately 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. One of the techniques Dr Lin used to demonstrate to the children that acupuncture was harmless was by sticking a needle into one of the parents first. At the conclusion of the study, after approximately one year, the children evaluated the pain to range approximately 3 on the same scale. The young patients were able to say that, as a result of the treatment they received, they missed less days of school, had an improved sleeping pattern and that they were able to participate in more extra curricular activities.

In a preceding study at the same hospital, 70% of 47 youths reported that acupuncture had a pain relieving effect, and 59% of their parents agreed. These were treated for, among other things, migraine, endometriosis in teenage girls, and chronic pain or injuries. In this study, 15 were under the age of 12 and 32 between the ages of 13 and 20.

Other studies have explored the possibility of treating ADHD and cerebral palsy in children.

Even though there are many acupuncturists specializing in the treatment of children, Dr Lin approximates that 1/3 of the pain treatment centers for children offer acupuncture to their young patients.