Acupuncture Is a Spectacularly Bad Idea for Toddlers

acupunctureDid you know -- acupuncture is practiced on over 3 million people a year in the US, and many of those people are children. A recent study found that only 1 in 10 children experience side-effects from acupuncture treatments, all mild like bruising and temporary numbness. Aside from that one clinic in China where treatments resulted in nerve damage and deformity (!!!) acupuncture by a qualified practitioner is a reasonably safe treatment for children.

The idea of using acupuncture to treat children is appealing. When you hear about all the possible side-effects of pharmaceuticals -- like acetaminophen causing asthma -- it makes alternative medicine look like a better and better idea. And hey, acupuncture for toddlers sounds like a great idea, too, until you remember one thing: they're toddlers.


Don't you need to remain perfectly still in order to receive an acupuncture treatment? I mean, it's not like a practitioner could, say, run around the room chasing a 2-year-old, poking in needles wherever she can, right? That wouldn't work. And it also wouldn't work if a 2-year-old pin cushion started running around with a bunch of needles sticking out of her. 

Let's all pause for a moment and imagine how an acupuncture session would go down with our own toddlers. (Pause, pause, pause.) Okay, that was hilarious. And chilling.

I know there are mellow toddlers out there who could probably deal with acupuncture. They're extremely rare, though. Most toddlers are wild little maniacs who can't sit still for anything. And you think after they've had their 857 vaccinations they're going to let anyone near them with a whole handful of needles? No way! You would tell your child "but this time it won't hurt!" and they would tell you, "NO YOU'RE LYING TO ME, MOMMY!" And then there would be screaming and crying. Why go out of your way for that? 

Come to think of it, don't most of us try to keep sharp objects AWAY from toddlers? So I'm thinking parent should probably pass on the toddler acupuncture. Say "NO!" Just like a toddler faced with a bunch of needles. No, no, no.

At what age would you let your child try acupuncture, if any?


Image via Wonderlane/Flickr

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