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Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

If you’ve tried acupuncture yourself and think your little one could benefit, you may be wondering if acupuncture is safe for children. We hope this guide can help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your family.

Science gives acupuncture the OK for kids

When asking if a treatment is safe, it’s wise to look at the research. A report published in Pediatrics journal reviewed 37 studies on children (from birth to 17 years old) receiving acupuncture treatment.
The review found that the incidence of kids experienced adverse effects was around 11 percent – considered mild and on par with adults.
"Based on [the] available data, we are comfortable saying that in trained hands, pediatric acupuncture is safe," said review author Dr Sunita Vohra.
“There have been large prospective studies of adults receiving acupuncture that have similar conclusions," she added.
Another recent study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago looked at the effects of acupuncture on 55 children and teenagers suffering from chronic pain. They were given up to eight 30-minute acupuncture treatments. All 55 participants said they were in less pain after the treatment, with no adverse side effects reported (aside from a little tiredness).  

How is acupuncture different for children?

It’s important to find an acupuncturist who is experienced treating children. And that’s because they’ll need to take a different approach to the treatment, gain their trust, and use smaller needles.
If you’ve had acupuncture before, you’ll know it doesn’t hurt. But any parent will tell you kids hate needles. Your acupuncturist should have some ways to distract your child during the treatment. Babies may be nursed or have a bottle, and younger children may enjoy reading, listening to an audio book, watching a show on a tablet, or eating a snack.
You know your child best, so it might be a good idea to bring along some things you know they’ll like.


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