It’s a rare child who looks forward to going to the doctor to get his immunization shots. To a kid, those needles can seem threatening and downright scary. At first blush, acupuncture would appear to be out of the question for children.
Not so fast. There are legitimate reasons to take some kids to an acupuncturist. More importantly, from a child’s point of view, needles used in acupuncture are much smaller than those used for immunizations. That means a child may sense the needle pierce the skin, but won’t feel pain.
While it’s not rare for children under 12 to undergo acupuncture, the majority of younger patients are in their teens. They turn to acupuncture for treatment of a variety of ailments, including abdominal pain, chronic headaches, asthma and other medical problems. In some cases, traditional western medicine has failed to relieve children of their discomfort. More often, however, minors find their way to an acupuncture clinic because their parents have already been successfully treated there.
Does acupuncture work for children? A Boston Children’s Hospital study found 70% of children felt an improvement in their symptoms after their acupuncture treatments. Most of their parents agreed. Two-thirds of the children called the treatments pleasant. Do that many kids find immunization shots pleasant? I don’t think so.