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HomeHealthKidsAcupuncture: Safe for Children?

Acupuncture: Safe for Children?

No Panacea

Despite the success stories, acupuncture is not recommended as a replacement for western medicine, and it does not work for everyone. Nor is it always a singular means of attack. Fang prescribed a variety of herbs in addition to the acupuncture, and many practitioners use acupuncture in conjunction with other treatments including western medicine. Poldmae said she often recommends dietary or lifestyle changes for her patients. She said she can help many children eliminate medications for things like allergies and ADHD, but it is always done under their physician’s care.

“I think there are definitely children that medication is 100 percent appropriate for and that I wouldn’t be able to help,” Poldmae said, “For severe ADHD I may be able to keep them on a lower maintenance drug and help make their life just a little bit more manageable.”

The potential of acupuncture to reduce or eliminate medication appeals to many people because there are no significant side effects beyond an occasional mild bruise at the needle site. On very rare occasions, acupuncture can temporarily aggravate symptoms. That happened to Sienna when we tried the second time. Her ticks got worse for a few hours after each treatment, but we stuck with it, and within three weeks they began subsiding rapidly.  We gradually reduced our visits three times a week to once every three weeks. After six months Sienna decided she was well enough to stop treatment all together. While she still has ticks, they are mild and rarely bother her.

Management rather than cure may be the key word in treating conditions like ADHD and Tourette’s. For simpler problems, if a doctor has confirmed there are no underlying medical concerns, acupuncture may be the only treatment needed. In either case, a foray into the arsenal of ancient Chinese healers may provide a safe and welcome alternative to the pharmacy.

By Kimbra Cutlip

Kimbra Cutlip is a freelance writer who lives along the Chesapeake Bay with her husband and two daughters.

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