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Pediatric acupressure is a non-invasive form of treatment, which invigorates the body’s natural mechanisms of healing and development, while helping the body to protect itself against harm. It is safe, effective and gentle. There are no harmful side effects, only positive side effects of peaceful calm and relaxation, or occasionally minor drowsiness.

What are treatments like?

A treatment is usually fun for a child; most often the child will ask for more. While the child cuddles with the parent or plays with a toy, the gentle treatment is given. To the child, it feels soothing and may slightly tickle – like the brushing of a feather. It lasts for no more than 15 minutes (only five minutes for an infant). It is OK if the child can’t sit still, because the practitioner can adapt to the movements of the child. It is important that the parent be present during the treatment to answer questions about the child’s health and behavior, and to ease the child’s “stranger anxiety”. Special tools are used for this type of treatment to gently touch the surface of the skin at specific acupoints. The tools are usually small enough to hide in the practitioner’s hand, and the child may only notice being touched gently. The child will only see the practitioner’s hands brushing their skin, and it will feel like a gentle massage.

Preparing the Child for Treatments:

Parents should explain to their child that they will receive a massage that will make the feel better, and that they will get to play with toys during the visit. It is important not to talk about needles or tools to the child, for this can create fear. The experience of acupressure takes place in a playful, fun and safe environment, and brings a child to a greater state of health and well-being.

Acupuncture Reduces Crying in Colicy Babies

The effects of minimal acupuncture on crying due to infantile colic have been tested by a group in Sweden. Forty children (median six weeks of age) with excessive crying unresponsive to conventional therapies, were recruited and quasi-randomised to control or minimal acupuncture treatment. Children received light needling at Hegu L.I.-4 on both hands for approximately 20 seconds on four occasions, or received the same care except needling. Light needling resulted in a significant reduction in the rated crying intensity. Pain related behaviour (e.g. facial expression) was also significantly less pronounced in the light needling group, compared with the control group post-treatment. Parents rated the light needling as more effective in improving symptoms than the control group. (Effects of minimal acupuncture in children with infantile colic – a prospective, quasi-randomised single blind controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2008 Sep;26(3):171-82).

Acupressure Increases Weight Gain In Premature Infants

An experimental trial has investigated the effects of acupressure and meridian massage on increasing body weight in premature infants. Forty subjects were randomised into two groups in the Taiwanese study. Those in the experimental group underwent a standard procedure of acupressure at Zhongwan REN-12, Zusanli ST-36, Yongquan KID-1, abdominal rubbing, spleen and stomach meridian massage, and kneading points along the bladder meridian. Treatments was administered for 15 minutes per session, one hour before meals, three times daily over 10 days. The control group underwent routine care. The infants’ body weights and the volume of milk ingested were recorded daily. The daily average weight gain of the infants in the experimental group was 32.7g, compared with 27.3g in the control group. While there was no significant difference in weight gain observed between the two groups in the first week, during the second week, the weight gain observed in the experimental group was significantly higher than that observed in the control group. (Acupressure and meridian massage: combined effects on increasing body weight in premature infants. J Clin Nurs. 2008 May;17(9):1174-81).

Acupuncture & Allergic Rhinitis in Kids

A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis was carried out at a Hong Kong hospital. Patients attending the paediatric outpatient department were randomly assigned to receive either true or sham acupuncture, administered twice a week for eight weeks. There were significantly lower daily rhinitis scores and more symptom-free days for the group receiving true acupuncture, during both the treatment and follow-up periods. The visual analog scale scores for immediate improvement after acupuncture were also significantly better for the active acupuncture group. There was no significant difference in daily relief medication scores, blood eosinophil counts, serum IgE levels and nasal eosinophil counts. The authors conclude that “active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in decreasing the symptom scores for persistent allergic rhinitis and increasing the symptom-free days. No serious adverse effect was identified. A large-scale study is required to confirm the safety of acupuncture for children”. (Pediatrics. 2004 Nov;114(5):1242-7).

Acupuncture for Kids

As part of a paediatric pain management program, acupuncture reduces pain scores by over 5 points on a 10-point scale and improves overall well being, new suggests a new study. Research from the Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, found that acupuncture can be safely and successfully incorporated into paediatric pain management practice. Over a one-year period, 243 children (167 females and 76 males) mean age 14.3 years received an average of 8.4 sessions of acupuncture treatments. At the initial consultation, the chief complaints included pain in the low back, the hips and lower extremities (30%), abdomen (25%), head (23%), neck, shoulder, arm (10%), chest (6%), pelvis (4%), and others (2%). At the end of the six-week treatment period, mean pain scores decreased from 8.3 to 3.3. In addition, patients reported increased school attendance, improved sleep patterns and increased participation in extracurricular activities. (Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Oct.16 2002). Meanwhile a paper in the journal Contemporary Pediatrics has proposed that acupuncture should be used routinely to treat children suffering from chronic pain or nausea. Dr. Kathi Kemper, instructor of medicine at Harvard University Medical School, reports that over half of children with chronic pain that had not responded to orthodox treatment experienced significant pain relief with acupuncture, and that over two thirds of children found acupuncture pleasant rather than painful. The most common reasons the authors recommended acupuncture for children were chronic or severe pain such as migraine headaches, chronic abdominal pain, cancer, endometriosis, nausea and vomiting associated with surgery or chemotherapy. (Contemporary Pediatrics 2002;12:31; UPI).