1. Children below 4 years old do not recommend acupuncture most of the time.
2. Over 4 years old to 9 years old acupuncture therapy is recommended but depends on the case.
3. Your child, 9 years old should be a good candidate for acupuncture therapy but talk to the practitioner and the pediatrician before you take the action.
Ideally, allergy treatments should start prior to allergy season, but starting anytime would be beneficial in managing symptoms. Starting treatments before the season is in full swing, can actually decrease or even elliminate allgergic reactions altogether.
John Holt, Dipl OM, LAc
Consult a LAc (Licensed Acupuncturist) about your child's specific needs.
In TCM, we do treat children because we work with energy and we all have energy running in our bodies. Having said that, children are just the same as adults. TCM treats even infants. Please see your family doctor and have them diagnose the allergies and they may recommend an acupuncturist.
Allergies are an immune system response to a trigger. Homeopathics have actually shown to lessen a person's response to an allergen through homeopathic exposure to the pathogen, and acupuncture can change the immune system response such as histamine which is release by mast cells, a natural white cell produced by our bodies. A histamine response to an allergen doesn't mean that the allergen is bad, it just that for some reason our bodies react severely to it. Acupuncture helps our bodies lower and manage inflammatory responses. An allergic response is an inflammatory response.
A 9-year old will respond quickly to acupuncture, but in some cases, your acupuncturist might recommend other therapies such as shoni-shin that you can do at home to help your son between treatments.
No, he is not too young. Even newborns and infants may get acupuncture. And it's really very effective for allergies.
Because the curative power of acupuncture lies in the body’s acupuncture points, needles are just one of many ways to access the qi. Some practitioners do use needles with children, but the needles are withdrawn quickly and not retained.
Other options to access the qi include acupressure, tuning forks applied to the points, acubeads that adhere to the points, and light or laser application.
Using acupuncture modalities with children can be quite successful as the body’s vital force is generally stronger in the young. Check with acupuncturists in your area to determine who might work with children.
Depending on his ability to sit still, the practitioner may just do some "in and out" needling or may opt for using a pressing tool instead of piercing tool. We have a lot of options and strategies to work with. My advice would be to ask around and find someone in your area who works with children regularly.
1. A practitioner that both you and your son are comfortable with. Go out to the 'Find a Practitioner' page at NCCAOM.org and look up some folks who are close to you. Call around and see who offers a free consult, then take your son for a visit. It may take a little extra time, but not everyone is good with kids and your son needs to be as comfortable as possible.
2. I'd also suggest trying to find someone who knows how to treat using relatively few needles - like 10 or less. Most of the time, when I'm working with kids, I try to keep it under 5.
After that, a lot will depend on your son's ability to tolerate the needles and to sit/lay with them for a short amount of time. Kids typically respond to acupuncture really quickly, so it shouldn't take many visits to see results.