Conditions Treated in Portland
Acupuncture is used very successfully to treat children, from infancy on up. Conditions treated include allergies, sinus congestion, respiratory issues, frequent colds, sleeping issues, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, ADD, ADHD, Autism (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), anxiety, bed wetting, digestive issues, acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, constipation, skin issues, rashes, eczema, cradle cap, reoccuring ear infections, teething pain, body pain, growing pains.
Young adults and pre-teens also experience huge benefit from acupuncture for many issues including menstruation issues, painful period, heavy or light period, PMS, emotional or behavioral difficulties, digestive disorders, acne, and the stress of being a teen.
What to Expect
A typical first treatment for a child is similar to an adult in that it is a chance for us to meet. That first treatment will last from 45 minutes to an hour to give us a chance to talk and go over all of your concerns. After that, treatments usually last from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the age of the child. For that first appointment, we will sit down and chat about the issues you are seeking care for.
Depending on the age and personality of the child, sometimes the parent will do lots of explaining and answering questions, sometimes the child, and often it will be a combination of what the child feels and the parent sees. Kids usually like to play while we are all talking and we can usually just transition into treatment by engaging them in whatever they are playing with. After talking, a lot of kids are ready to jump up on the treatment table and begin, but if the child seems hesitant or wary, it’s easy to just get down on the floor and play with them at their level while beginning the treatment.
Acupuncture and Herbs for Kids
We begin by just pressing on the acupuncture points, or using acupressure. This helps them to get comfortable. Just like adults, it is so important that they feel comfortable and safe. With this in mind, every treatment does look slightly different, as it is tailored to fit the needs and health issues of each child. Some kids like to sit on mom or dad’s lap on the treatment table, others prefer to lay back like adults and relax. Some kids, often the 2-4 year olds, just like to play on the floor while they are treated. The treatment usually consists of acupressure and then 1-6 needles, depending on the age and comfort level of the child. Usually with kids under 9 or 10, we will insert the needle, leave it in for a few seconds and then take it out. Some kids receive just acupressure and this is fine too. For older kids and teens, we’ll do a treatment consisting of about 4-6 needles and let them relax for a few minutes, usually they take a nap!
After the treatment, we will apply some earseeds, which are little metal balls held on by clear plastic tape that sit on specific points on the outside of the ear. These points can be pressed on in the week following the treatment and they serve to reinforce what we have done in treatment, to remind the body of the balance we have created. For younger kids, we will often apply a few of these earseeds to body points, meaning points on the arms and legs. These are used as reminders or markers for the parents and can be pressed on at home, often before bed and first thing in the morning, serving that same purpose of carrying over the treatment.
Sometimes we will also prescribe a Chinese herbal formula in tincture form. We carry a brand that is glycerin based, making it taste similar to a spoonful of sugar, rather than medicine. The herbal formulas are helpful for conditions including insomnia, anxiety, ADD, teething pain, digestive issues, asthma, and frequent coughs and colds. We usually like to see kids 2-3 times, about a week apart, and then reassess.
Children usually get better very quickly, their bodies are so close to perfect and often it just takes one or two treatments and their symptoms disappear. Certain disorders will take a longer course of treatment, but you and your child should notice a change and improvement after the first one or two treatments.
For our pediatric new patients, we have a specific Pediatric Health History Form that you can download and fill out to be brought to your child’s first acupuncture appointment.