What is Pediatric Acupuncture?
Pediatric acupuncture is simply - acupuncture for pediatric patients. While the treatments are similar in many ways to traditional acupuncture for adults and teenagers, there are a few differences in the treatments compared to a treatment for adults; including the time frame, method and mechanisms of the treatment.
Pediatric acupuncture appointments are appropriate for children under age 13. After age 13 the body has more fully formed the meridians and points and needling is generally well tolerated, if your child is 13 years old or older we recommend choosing a regular First Time Acupuncture treatment instead of a Pediatric First Time Acupuncture appointment. We can treat children of any age, even 1 month old babies! Treatments are adjusted accordingly to the child’s age, condition and tolerance to treatment modalities.
What Makes Pediatric Acupuncture Different than Acupuncture for Adults?
Children’s bodies are consistently growing and changing in a biological sense, and this also translates to Chinese Medicine theory. In adults we treat the body based on the acupuncture points and meridians, and true to modern medicine - this system is also not fully formed in children and is consistently growing and changing. As a child grows up, the meridians begin to form and take on their ‘individuality’ including the formation of acupuncture points. Due to the nature of the growing and changing meridians, a pediatric treatment takes a different approach than a treatment for an adult.
Pediatric acupuncture is often done without needling the body at all, instead we may use specialized tools know as Shonishin or Contact Needles. These tools produces different sensations and can stimulate the meridians, qi and acupuncture points on the body without breaking the skin. Because of the gentle nature of this type of treatment it is generally well tolerated by children of any age. Dr. Kim also utilizes some energy work with pediatric patients and occasionally some acupressure or massage. Older children may tolerate gentle needling and if so this is also performed during a treatment.
Since children are much smaller than adults, the time needed to treat them is also shortened. A treatment with needles may retain needles only briefly, or for a maximum of 20 minutes. Shonishin and contact needling treatments may take 15-20 minutes in their entirety.
What if My Child is Scared?
It’s understandable that experiencing a new environment and procedure can be scary to children. We think it’s important to talk to them about it conveying the intention that they are getting to experience something new and exciting, this isn’t your typical Pediatrician’s office, if your child is usually anxious about seeing the doctor or dentist it’s important to convey to them that this experience is not like that at all, but it will be new and different. Dr. Kim has an innate ability to make her patients feel calm and at ease, many pediatric patients come in crying about the prospect of needles and once experiencing the treatment are fascinated and asking for more. In addition, needles aren’t required for these treatments, and we want to work to make your child feel comfortable and at ease, not anxious or scared.
Treatment for the Parents and Family
A pediatric acupuncture appointment isn’t just a treatment for the child, it also serves as a healing for the parents, and this is an important element of the healing process for the child and family as a whole. Oftentimes a child going through an illness or injury can be quite traumatic and stressful for the parents as well as the child, so making sure everyone receives support is equally important. Dr. Kim will often say that the act of making an appointment is when healing begins, this is very true for pediatric acupuncture, as when steps are being taken toward healing - everyone benefits. Seeing your child be cared for and understood from a vantage point other than your own or from modern medicine’s point of view can be a refreshing and inspiring experience. When the child is treated, the entire family is treated because of the interconnected web of energy within the family. Experiencing this healing on all levels of the family is an important step in the treatment strategy for pediatric cases and sometimes Dr. Kim may also recommend treatment for the parents to help aide in the overall healing of the family.
If you think your child may benefit from a pediatric acupuncture session please contact us or book your appointment by clicking the button below!
Dr. Kim Peirano, DACM, LAc is the Owner and Acupuncturist at Lion's Heart Wellness, the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin's #1 Cosmetic Acupuncturist and #1 Holistic Healer.