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The Secrets of Acupuncture for Children: Getting Kids to Love Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture is great for children.

Children are very responsive to the acupuncture needles and often show great improvement after a treatment.   Acupuncture is fantastic for many childhood illnesses like coughs, fevers, ear infections, bed wetting, digestive issues, colic, allergies, ADD and ADHD.  And more and more research proves that acupuncture is safe for kids.

But many parents worry that their kids will hate the needles.  They want to avoid a treatment that is traumatic and difficult.

How do you give a child a treatment which they may not like?

The answer is that you do it kid style.


Babies can be very responsive to acupuncture.  Sometimes a baby will respond to a single needle or a single session.  The needles are in and out fairly quickly and often the baby hardly notices when the needle goes in.

Sometimes the baby is not comfortable lying on the treatment table.  In that case, you might be able to hold your baby in your arms—perhaps even nursing.  I will work with you to make sure your child is comfortable.


Toddlers are old enough that they may be afraid of needles.  In this case, it’s important to reassure them.  I will spend time showing them that an acupuncture treatment is not like getting a shot.  I will put them at ease and make sure they get all their questions answered.  Your child can bring a favorite stuffed animal and I can demonstrate what will happen.

A calm, supportive environment is essential.  If the adults act confident and matter-of-fact, your child will trust that the treatment is a good thing.  If you’re nervous, we can speak together before the appointment so that your nervousness will not influence your child.

Generally, the acupuncture needles are in and out fairly quickly for a toddler.  If your child needs a longer treatment, there are options.  If your child is uncomfortable lying on a treatment table, I might be able to place the needles in an unnoticeable acupuncture point and have your child play quietly during the treatment.

Older Kids

A strong relationship with lots of trust is very important for older children.  Many older kids have had experiences with painful procedures in doctor’s offices and they are rightfully apprehensive.  I will reassure them about the treatment and make sure they feel very safe. I will answer all their questions.

Depending on the child’s age, diagnosis and comfort level, older kids may receive electro-acupuncture, moxibustion or cupping in addition to the acupuncture.  Some kids find these additional treatments very interesting.


Teenagers are old enough to have their own opinions—and they don’t always match yours.  Teens may be skeptical of acupuncture because of stories they have heard in the media.  Sometimes they don’t want to like something their parents recommend.  I will take time to discuss their fears and concerns.  I will give them background information so they feel informed and empowered about their own health.  I will never give a treatment that your teen doesn’t want and I’ll support them in making positive choices about their health.

Acupuncture is a great fit for kids.  Sometimes we need to be creative to make the treatment work, but kids respond well and, with a little reassurance, they find it is not uncomfortable.  Give me a call if your child could use some acupuncture.

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