One of the most common health complaints that acupuncture treats well is pain. From acute problems to chronic conditions, regular sessions with an experienced practitioner is one way to combat pain at its root. While there’s a mounting body of research evidence citing its efficacy, most of that focuses on acupuncture use for adults. But what about children?
New research out of the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota shows that its patients who suffer from a range of complicated medical issues may benefit from acupuncture. The goal of the research was to lessen the amount of trauma children and their families go through, especially those who continually face extended hospital stays due to chronic conditions. “A lot of these patients have gone through a tremendous amount of physical and emotional pain,” lead author and pediatrician Scott Schwantes says. “These kids have a complex array of distressing symptoms that decrease their quality of life. For some of them, acupuncture may be a valuable tool to add to their treatment.”
Schwantes and his team enlisted 9 patients to take part in a case study. The research had all participants – all of whom had multiple health complaints – receive regular acupuncture sessions between June 2014 and June 2015. Results from the study indicate that all of the patients received notable benefits from acupuncture; these ranged from a lessening of pain to complete relief.
The main benefit for children is that acupuncture is low-risk and non-toxic: there’s little chance of an adverse reaction compared to a potentially-dangerous cocktail of prescription drugs.
“The proof is with the patients. They’re the ones who are successfully recovering from pain,” Schwantes says. “This study shows that acupuncture can be a safe, well-tolerated, and effective therapy for children and young adults with pediatric-onset disabilities.” The biggest hurdle to overcome would be needle-phobia in youngsters.
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