As holistic and alternative medicine sweeps across America as a huge – and increasingly effective – trend, many families are wondering if alternative treatments like Acupuncture are really safe for children. Sure, Hollywood celebrities like Gweneth Paltrow and Sheryl Crow have sung the praises of Acupuncture, a procedure that involves several thread-like needles inserted and manipulated underneath the first few layers of a patient’s skin, as a great alternative treatment for everything from indigestion to stress, but can young adults and children reap the same feel-good benefits? Many doctors, who are beginning to incorporate Oriental medicine like acupuncture, acupressure and “cupping”, a form of massage in which strong suction cups leave circular bruises all over a patient’s back and body, are prescribing the procedures to children – and claim they are perfectly safe.
In fact, The Children’s Hospital of Boston, also a Harvard University affiliate, recently conducted a study on just how effective Acupuncture can be for a wide range of pediatric afflictions, even in children who have a fear of needles. This fear can be overcome with talk therapy, and the young patient may eventually live symptom free from everything from nervous stomach issues to attention disorders.
The study, conducted by Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin, who specializes in anesthesiology and pediatric pain management, included just about 250 participants, ranging in ages from six months to 18 years old. Dr. Lin was testing the children’s pain on a scale of one through ten, including everything from headaches, stomach pains, back and neck ailments, and other chronic physical pain symptoms. After one year of treatment, the participants’ pain was measured as a collective three on the scale, down from an eight at the study’s inception.
Not only was pain reduced in every one of the study’s participants, but both the children and their parents reported that the kids missed fewer days of school, complained less about pain and stress, and were even better able to participate in extracurricular sports and activities, all pain-free!