Can Acupuncture Be Used to Treat Babies?


Sticking a bunch of needles in your body to treat a wide range of health-related conditions may seem daunting but what about doing the same for an infant or a baby? It may not seem like an ideal treatment for young, little humans, but acupuncture has been proven to be very effective at treating a wide range of conditions associated with babies. But is this alternative treatment safe and is it in fact suitable for babies?

Safety of Acupuncture for Babies

Although there is no specific dissension among the medical community regarding acupuncture for babies, there is also no positive sentiment. The general rule is to always discuss the treatment as well as the ailment with your pediatrician before seeking any type of alternative treatment.

It is of course crucial to take additional precautions. Find an acupuncturist who is skilled and experienced at treating babies for a variety of conditions. Also ensure that the environment is hygienic and the needles sterile. It is important to ensure that you baby is not exposed to any bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms while visiting the acupuncturist.

The Pain Aspect

If you have ever been for acupuncture, you should know that inserting the needles should not hurt at all and this is true for babies too. However, the same factors apply as for safety and expertise plays a very important role in ensuring that there is no pain during a session.

If the acupuncture needle is breaking or tearing the skin on entry, the treatment is not being expertly applied and it is recommended to halt the process immediately and find an experienced acupuncturist. This tearing can result in the procedure being painful and can also unnecessarily expose the baby to germs and infection. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to find a legitimate acupuncturist who is experienced at providing treatment in infants and babies.

How Effective Is Acupuncture for Babies?

Acupuncturists routinely treat babies for a variety of different conditions and it seems to be a very effective treatment. However, there is very little scientific evidence available to prove just how effective the treatment is and if it is of greater benefit than conventional medical treatment or other types of alternative therapies that are available for babies.

In most cases, acupuncture is only recommended when a conventional treatment has been ineffective. This is however not always ideal as the sooner acupuncture is performed, the greater the likelihood of the treatment being successful, especially when it comes to acute illnesses that can affect a baby for a short term but have long lasting effects.

Pediatric Conditions Treated with Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be used to help just about any ailment or health condition as well as its symptoms in babies. The most common of these is for the relief of pain, constipation and other symptoms related to colic. It is also quite commonly used to treat pain resulting from other health conditions in pediatric health clinics across the United States.

Acute illnesses such as colds, flu and coughs may also be aided with acupuncture. Earache and infections may benefit. However, it is once again important to mention that treatment for acute illnesses should be provided sooner rather than later and this is no different with acupuncture.

Parents often use acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicine as a last resort when other conventional treatments fail. However, the treatment can often be more effective if used as the first recourse or as a complimentary therapy.

Ziki Dekel
Ziki Dekel, L.Ac., is an acupuncturist in Manhattan. He practices traditional chinese medicine, using acupuncture and chinese herbs, and specializes in fertility and perinatal care.

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