Children and Allergies
I treat a lot of children's issues at the Northside Holistic Center and allergies are one of the frequent complaints that children, as well as adults present with. Frequently, my pediatric patients present with a variety of allergy related issues such as asthma, eczema, and digestive problems. This kind of work is very satisfying to most acupuncturists for, while most allergies respond to what we do quite well, children will often appear to be almost magical in their ability to rapidly get well from our work.
The first question that many parents have about using acupuncture as a modality is, "How can you persuade a child to lay still for the placement of the acupuncture filaments?"
The child's parents are usually relieved to find that this is usually much easier than it sounds. Unlike the treatment of adults, children usually only need to retain the filaments for a few minutes per point. This makes keeping them interested much easier. For toddlers and infants, the mother or father can simply hold the child or read them a story. For older kids a toy can be used as a distraction tool while the treatment is proceeding. Most of my clients under fifteen come to enjoy acupuncture therapy as much as adults and parents are surprised to find that many children look forward to their treatment - gratifying to all parties involved!
Links for Other Resources:
This link is from a mother dedicated to helping other parents' with their childrens' allergy issues. Her meetup link allows members to share information about their children's health, recipes, and techniques to help parents cope with and treat their kids.
Research Links and Articles
- From ABC News comes both an article and a video covering the use of acupuncture for seasonal allergies. The entire article can be read and the video viewed here. An excerpt is below:
Aniko Foldi and Marty Rudolph said they have battled severe allergy symptoms for years with no relief. "You name it, I have every kind of symptom," Aniko said."I have had surgery, I've gone to an allergist's office two times a week for shots," Marty said. Both of them desperate for help they turned to acupuncture as a last resort and both said it worked. "It absolutely mitigates the impact," Marty said."It's just amazing to me it's like a 100% improvement," said Aniko.Dr. Marshall Sager in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County practiced traditional medicine for years before becoming a certified acupuncturist. He said he's seen great success treating allergies with the ancient technique.Aniko said Cheryl's treatments have been life changing. "I'm not taking any meds at all," Aniko said. "I would say that she saved my life."Aniko Foldi and Marty Rudolph said they have battled severe allergy symptoms for years with no relief. "You name it, I have every kind of symptom," Aniko said."I have had surgery, I've gone to an allergist's office two times a week for shots," Marty said.Both of them desperate for help they turned to acupuncture as a last resort and both said it worked."It absolutely mitigates the impact," Marty said."It's just amazing to me it's like a 100% improvement," said Aniko.Dr. Marshall Sager in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County practiced traditional medicine for years before becoming a certified acupuncturist. He said he's seen great success treating allergies with the ancient technique.Aniko said Cheryl's treatments have been life changing."I'm not taking any meds at all," Aniko said. "I would say that she saved my life."
From the journal Pediatrics: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis.
Department of Paediatrics, Kwong Wah Hospital, 25 Waterloo Rd, Kowloon, SAR, Hong Kong. email@example.com
OBJECTIVE: To compare active acupuncture with sham acupuncture for the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis among children. METHODS: Subjects with persistent allergic rhinitis were recruited from the pediatric outpatient clinic. They were randomized to receive either active acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Main outcome measures included daily rhinitis scores, symptom-free days, visual analog scale scores for immediate effects of acupuncture, daily relief medication scores, blood eosinophil counts, serum IgE levels, nasal eosinophil counts, patients' and parents' preferences for treatment modalities, and adverse effects. RESULTS: Eighty-five patients were recruited from the pediatric outpatient clinic at Kwong Wah Hospital, in Hong Kong. Thirteen patients withdrew before randomization; 35 patients (mean age: 11.7 +/- 3.2 years) were randomized to receive active acupuncture for 8 weeks, and 37 patients (mean age: 11 +/- 3.8 years) were randomized to receive sham acupuncture for 8 weeks. Acupuncture was performed twice per week for both groups. Both the assessing pediatricians and the patients were blinded. There were significantly lower daily rhinitis scores and more symptom-free days for the group receiving active acupuncture, during both the treatment and follow-up periods. The visual analog scale scores for immediate improvement after acupuncture were also significantly better for the active acupuncture group. There was no significant difference in the following outcome measures between the active and sham acupuncture groups: daily relief medication scores, blood eosinophil counts, serum IgE levels, and nasal eosinophil counts, except for the IgE levels before and 2 months after acupuncture in the sham acupuncture group. No severe adverse effects were encountered. Numbness, headache, and dizziness were found in both the active and sham acupuncture groups, with no difference in incidence, and the effects were self-limiting.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in decreasing the symptom scores for persistent allergic rhinitis and increasing the symptom-free days. No serious adverse effect was identified.
- From SeatlePi.com comes an article on pediatric acupuncture: www.seattlepi.com: It describes a few practitioners experience with treating children.
- While not specifically child-oriented, but applicable come a study from the International Journal of Immunopharmacology comes a study of more than one hundred Taiwanese patients treated with an herbal formula that we commonly use for allergies:
Xin Yi San reduces nasal symptoms in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis (AR) due to its diverse immunomodulatory effects. One hundred and eight Taiwanese patients with AR received either XYS or a placebo for three months. The investigators found that XYS attenuated the nasal symptoms of sneezing, rhinorrhoea and nasal congestion through reduction of nasal airflow resistance and increase in the cross-sectional area of nostrils. They also observed that XYS exerted diverse in vitro immunomodulatory effects, including suppression of serum IgE levels and increased production of the cytokines IL-10, sICAM-1 and IL-8. (Traditional Chinese medicine, Xin-yi-san, reduces nasal symptoms of patients with perennial allergic rhinitis by its diverse immunomodulatory effects. Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 Aug;10(8):951-8)."
A global study in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, evaluating the saftey of acupuncture with children, found that:
Treating kids with acupuncture is a common practice and generally safe, according to a new study.
“Like adults, acupuncture is very safe when applied to the children’s population,” said Jamie Starkey, an acupuncturist from the Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the study. “And so it basically mimics exactly what is seen in the adult population.”
“Any of the serious side effects that they found were definitely due in part to the clinician’s malpractice,” Starkey said. “So, it was certainly somebody who was not necessarily the most trained. The take-home message is that it is absolutely safe in both the adult and pediatric world, but you have to go to somebody who is trained.” [italics mine]
An article about the study is readable here.