In  many of the acupuncture posts we’ve touched on, there’s generally an emphasis towards using acupuncture for adult concerns and conditions. However other populations, like children and pets, are benefiting from acupuncture treatment as well.

A large-scale 2011 study reported in the journal Pediatrics showed that minimal risks and side effects have been associated with acupuncture use in children. The study looked at over 1,400 children and adolescents and found the risk of side effects to be approximately 11%. The majority of side effects were relatively mild, with more serious ones attributed to outdated safety standards that are no longer in place in modern, licensed acupuncture centers.

Besides the relative safety of acupuncture, its use can provide surprising benefits for children. 

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Boston conducted a study on the pain relieving benefits of acupuncture for children in the hospital. The study was especially focused on children who suffered from migraines, endometriosis, or reflex sympathetic disorder. Nearly 250 children took part in the study and, of those that did, the majority reported pain relieving benefits. They also missed less school, slept better, and participated in more extracurricular activities.

Other clinics are beginning to treat children with ADHD or ADD with acupuncture as well. When performed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, acupuncture can be a great option, especially for the 30% of children on ADHD medication that suffer from side effects like anxiety and insomnia.

Surprisingly, acupuncture is increasingly being used for pets too. 

Many veterinarians are beginning to study the effects of acupuncture on pets, for issues like osteoarthritis and other pain conditions. While no large scale studies have been done on its efficacy, the American Veterinarian Medical Association did incorporate the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture as a member of its policy designation and schools, like Tufts and U.C. Davis, are beginning to offer courses on it during veterinary programs.

Vets are treating pain conditions, as well as stress, end of life pain management, and obsessive compulsive disorder with acupuncture. It is generally used as only one component of a treatment plan, with nutritional therapy, homeopathy, behavior modification, and conventional medications used when deemed beneficial.

Acupuncture isn’t just for adults anymore. New populations are beginning to find its benefits for an entire host of health conditions and preventative care.

Have your children or pets ever undergone acupuncture?

Image by Marnie Joyce via Flickr