By inserting thin needles in specific areas of the body and influencing the flow of chi, acupunturists treat specific conditions of the body without the use of conventional medicine. While some adults fear acupuncture because of the needles, infants do not suffer from this phobia and are great candidates for treatment.
Several studies support acupuncture in infants for five main reasons. First, it is a safe and gentle method. Infants cannot feel the insertion of the hair-thin needles, which are many times thinner than even the thinnest needle used for immunization and are inserted only millimeters into the skin. Second, acupuncture possesses few, if any side effects, making it less risky than conventional medications when treating small babies. Third, acupuncture helps prevent or relieve the digestion issues that often cause infants pain and inhibit nutrient absorption. Fourth, regular acupuncture helps normalize the baby’s basic bodily functions and decreases the infant's susceptibility to viral infections through improved immune function.
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Many parents turn to acupuncture as a natural and holistic remedy to address a variety of ailments that their babies may develop. Since many medications result in side effects, acupuncture exists as an excellent alternative as a noninvasive treatment with minimal or no side effects. Studies indicate that acupuncture can help infants combat asthma, diarrhea, colic, sinus issues, skin rashes and ear, nose and throat infections, among other issues. This healing art has also been used to successfully address feeding and sleeping disorders in infants.
Parents new to acupuncture may feel that the needles would be painful to their child, especially witnessing their child’s reaction to vaccinations. However, acupuncture needles are extremely fine, many times thinner than those used for vaccinations. As acupuncture needles do not need to inject a liquid into the body, they are very thin—like the thread of a spider’s web - and are shallowly inserted into the skin. A typical acupuncture treatment is relatively short, lasting only a few minutes. It is important to remember that chronic issues will take several appointments to treat, depending upon the intensity of the condition.
As with any health decision, one should always consult his or her doctor before beginning treatment. Always check potential acupuncturist’s credentials and ask him or her for client references.
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Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.