Children and Acupuncture
Summer is just around the corner, and for many of us this means we become more active in our free time, or perhaps even take a short vacation from work if we’re lucky. For children, however, this time of year has a more special meaning as it brings about the beloved summer break! They get months away from school, and this extra time is filled with a wide variety of activities. For most kids this means they spend their days outdoors exploring the world around them, playing sports, running around at the beach during their family vacation, riding a wild rollercoaster or two, and any number of other adventures!
Unfortunately, this increase in activity also brings about an increase in injuries, which is why health professionals often refer to this time of year as “Trauma Season”. Some of the top injuries that they see during this time are caused by bicycle accidents, falls, walking barefoot outside, amusement park rides, and even accidents involving trampolines! Some incidents can have much worse outcomes, while others may result in minor cuts and bruises, or sometimes even breaks. For a kid, being laid up with an injury during summer break seems like the end of the world. And as a parent you don’t want to see your child in pain or missing out on their summer of fun!
As adults we don’t always give ourselves the necessary time to heal, as other responsibilities often take priority. When we rush the process and don’t give our body the necessary rest, we allow the injury to become more deeply ingrained in our body. The longer something has been allowed to set, the longer it could take to heal. It is always recommended that you begin treatments as early as possible after an injury or illness, so that it isn’t given the time to really settle in. This is especially true as we get older and our own natural ability to heal slows down. Think about when you realize you’re coming down with a cold: Though it is already in your body, you pump yourself full of immune boosting vitamins in hopes that it won’t take hold and knock you off your feet. This is how we should treat traumas and injuries to our bodies as well; we should try to get ahead of it rather than battle it later down the road.
And while people do seek out acupuncture treatments to help their own bodies heal faster and more thoroughly from injuries, they don’t often think about doing the same for their children. Kids are so resilient that we tend to let them bounce back naturally. It is true that young bodies naturally regenerate more easily already, but by adding acupuncture treatments to aid their healing process you’re not only speeding it up to benefit them now, but also helping to keep the injury from becoming a problem later in life. It is not uncommon for people to experience aches and pains from injuries received as a child, sometimes decades earlier. When the injury heals quicker and more thoroughly to begin with, it allows for better immediate and long term results.
The benefits of acupuncture for children aren’t limited to summertime injuries though; acupuncture can help year-round with many of the same issues that adults are commonly treated for, such as:
Cold and flu symptoms
Chronic pain or illness
Hormonal changes or imbalance
One of the most commonly treated issues for children is ADD or ADHD, which as we know can cause problems for a lot of children in school. They have an overabundance of energy which makes it difficult to sit still for long periods of time, or their minds are racing and they are unable to stay focused on a task or lesson. Of course a lot of this is part of being a child; everything is new and exciting, and all they want to do is explore! However it can also reach the point where it begins to inhibit their ability to learn. Sometimes it can cause disruptions around them as well, and as they find themselves being consistently punished or reprimanded they become disheartened. The most common suggestion from doctors is a prescription medication, which for some can definitely have benefits. Some parents are wary of giving their kids these types of substances at such a young age, and search for natural remedies to either use in conjunction with a lower dose of medication, or to use in its place. Acupuncture has proven to be very effective for this purpose, and is a great way to calm the body and mind, balance out energy levels, and make it easier to concentrate.
It should also be mentioned that while acupuncture can be extremely effective for children, it is also something that they may not be open to right away. The concept of the needles can been daunting for some, while others are more open to the idea. We’ve seen some who had no problems, some who came in with their parents a few times to get comfortable, and some who still just can’t warm to the idea. And because their bodies are so receptive, this can sometimes make their initial treatment a bit more intense and allow them to receive treatments less often. If your child is feeling unsure about it, don’t push them but try to help ease them into the idea. We love our young patients and do everything we can to ease their minds and make acupuncture less of a scary concept. You’re always welcome to bring your young ones by to meet the acupuncturists, sometimes just getting them into the clinic is half the battle and once they are here they will feel more relaxed.
We hope everyone has an amazing summer, be sure to stay safe out there!