Monday, 20 February 2012

Acupuncture for Children


This little fellow was angry.  There were tears, kicking out, screaming at the top of his lungs - the whole show.  Pretty impressive stuff; I was watching an infant have his nappy changed on video - footage a colleague had filmed in his children’s acupuncture clinic in Seattle. 


The next shot was of the same baby having some acupuncture: was this really the same child?  He was gurgling, interested, looking around and making all the experienced treating children, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But there he was, chirruping away as my colleague gently inserted a few tiny needles and then after a few seconds removed them.  A few words of what we call ‘lifestyle’ advice – usually diet – and he and his mum were on their way.

Increasingly in this country and around the western world the above is becoming a more common occurrence.  Acupuncture has an enormous amount to offer in the paediatric health arena.  It does not by any means take the place of a mother/child:doctor relationship, but at times there is little a GP can offer and this is where medical techniques passed on down the millennia have a part to play.

For instance Theresa - names changed - brought little Karen (13 months) into the clinic as she’d been vomiting a lot for the past five days and was a wee bit out of sorts.  On examination, Karen had some extra redness in her cheeks and a slightly swollen abdomen.  Her sleep had been disrupted and she had diarrhoea which was pretty smelly.  I asked about her diet and it transpired they had just returned from a family holiday in Italy two days ago.  They had taken a villa which had an abundance of fruit growing all over the place – edible grapes and figs especially.  An infant’s digestive system is a very sensitive apparatus and takes a while to develop from processing nothing (foetus), to mother's milk - ‘babe in arms phase’ - to soft solids, and beyond.  And so when faced with something it’s not used to and in this case lots of it, food can get a bit stuck in the system. 

This causes something of a blockage, what we call ‘Accumulation Disorder’ - where the food stays too long in the digestive tract, “over-rotting and ripening” as the Chinese would say; the normal downward flow of energy in the system is prevented and so it ‘rebels’ back up causing vomiting!

In little Karen’s case, my job therefore was to clear the blockage to allow the resumption of a normal flow of energy.  This entailed pricking four points on the hand and telling Theresa to give her plenty of water and stick to simple food if she was hungry.

I had a call the next day, “Karen’s not been sick again, and a couple of hours after getting home, after one massive poo, her diarrhoea completely disappeared and she sat up, crawled and began laughing again!”

Children can respond very quickly to energy medicine sucha as acupuncture but sadly not all complaints can be cleared as quickly as Karen’s.  However, straightforward Accumulation Disorder, is very simple to treat and can be the root cause of many infant complaints: insomnia, learning difficulties, vaccination complications, recurrent colds, coughs and more.

I appreciate the thought of allowing a relative stranger to gently insert needles into your child is counter-intuitive to a mother’s sense of protection.  But when you begin to weigh up the possible short-lived discomfort against the sleepless nights, or recurrent cough and so on, intuition can begin to tip the scales.  Besides, it may be less of an ordeal than changing a nappy!

If you’d like to find out more about how acupuncture can help you or your child, please go to www.graceful-change.co.uk or contact me here.