Pediatric Acupuncture & Non-Needle Tools
Everything you need to know to get started right away.
The KEY to a Successful Pediatric Acupuncture Treatment is Determining Where Qi is Blocked & Stimulating AcuPoints to Restore its Flow!
The "right" tools to accomplish this are going to be different for each practitioner. Through trial and error here's what I've discovered works best for me:
To diagnose and select acupuncture points, I use Acugraph Meridian Analysis. This helps me see where there are blockages in the flow of Qi are so I can create a root treatment that removes these blocks and then a branch treatment to address symptoms. Read below to learn more about this amazing diagnostic tool!
There are many ways to stimulate acupuncture points for the desired outcome. For treatment I generally use pediatric acupuncture needles, laser, microcurrent, and cupping.
Below you'll find detailed explanations on how I diagnose the blockages in Qi and the tools I use to treat the acupuncture points.
Step 1: Meridian Diagnosis with Acugraph
The basis of every acupuncture treatment is determining where the flow of Qi is blocked in the meridians and then choosing acupuncture points to restore it's flow. Many practitioners use pulse, tongue, or palpation to diagnose these imbalances. But, tongue and pulse are notoriously unreliable in children.
Acugraph to the Rescue!
The best solution I have found to circumvent this issue is using Acugraph Meridian Analysis. A quick two-minute exam creates a graph that shows me exactly where the imbalances are. And I can show this graph to patients (and parents) so they can see what's going on, too! It's a great patient education tool.
Create a Targeted Treatment Plan with Fewer Points
I use this data to formulate a precise acupuncture treatment strategy to restore the flow of Qi in the meridians using a few points as possible. Then I can use local points or point protocols to treat the symptoms. Points can be stimulated using a variety of needle and non-needle tools.
Step 2: Pick Your Tools - Watch the Video Demo of Pediatric Acupuncture & Non-Needle Tools
Robin demonstrates a variety of acupuncture and non-needle tools that you can use to stimulate the acupuncture points. Below you'll find more information and links to the tools she shares in this video.
Pediatric Acupuncture Needles
Needle size matters!
Modern pediatric needles are extremely fine, about the size of a strand of hair. I typically use Seirin J-15 Dark Green or Dark Blue Needles for kids.
I also really like Asia Med's J-Type Dark Green needles with auto-insertion tubes. You just place the tube on the point, press and needle is automatically inserted. You can purchase these from Acurea USA. NOTE: You'll need an account to sign in and view these needles.
Call Them "Taps"
I generally avoid the words needle, poke, pokey, etc. Instead I call pediatric acupuncture needles “taps”. It sounds much less scary!
For kids under age 8 or for older kids that are Qi sensitive I will use in/out needling technique. You certainly can use higher gauge needles, it is just a matter of knowing the tolerance level of your patient.
Low Level Laser Therapy: Red & Blue Lasers
Light Penetrates the Point to Stimulate Healing
Laser acupuncture is another effective way to stimulate the acupuncture points. Just like a needle, light penetrates the acupuncture point, but unlike a needle it does not pierce the skin! That is what makes laser acupuncture a completely painless treatment option that's great for children.
Results Backed by Research
Increasingly, research is showing that lasers have a similar level of effectiveness as acupuncture needles. Laser acupuncture is widely practiced in Europe and is gaining popularity in the United States and Canada.
Treatment with lasers is simple. Hold the laser directly on the skin at the acupuncture point for 15 – 30 seconds. CAUTION: Do not treat points around the eyes or face.
Microcurrent with StimPlus Pro or Pointer Plus
Another Easy-To-Use Tool for Kids
Not all kids are up for getting “taps” so my usual Plan B or C is microcurrent, aka “the ducky.” Microcurrent devices place a micro amount of electrical current at the acupuncture point to stimulate it.
The Pointer Plus works great for tender points like Large Intestine 20.
Effective, Light-Weight & Quick
The StimPlus Pro is my favorite microcurrent device because it's lightweight and has an automatic timer for 15 and 30 seconds. It makes it easy to deliver treatment while also talking to patients or parents.
Reinforce Your Treatment
You can think of auriculotherapy like reflexology for the ear. Certain spots on the ear correspond to areas of the body such as the head, neck, back, lungs, stomach, and shoulders.
You can use auriculotherapy to strengthen your treatment for a wide variety of common pediatric conditions, such as emotional and behavioral issues, digestive issues, common cold, and more.
The Point O Select: The Latest Auriculotherapy Advance
In order to pick the right points to treat, I use the Point O Select to scan for active points around the area that corresponds to my patient's health complaint.
The Point O Select detects active points and is extremely accurate. It can detect whether a point is deficient or excess and automatically treats the point by sedating or tonifying as needed with just the push of a button. In addition, you can switch to the correct Nogier frequencies for each section of the ear.
Cupping is an excellent modality for children. I generally use cupping for cough, colds, stimulation of the back shu points, and musculoskeletal issues. Glass cups with suction bulbs. The cups shown in the picture are the Tai Chi Pump-N-Cup and are available at Lhasa OMS.
These are by far my favorite cups to use because they're easy to apply and you can control the amount of suction to make it effective and comfortable. You can also apply oil and do running cups on the back shu points. The 0.8" size is perfect for small backs. Best of all, kids LOVE it and will ask for their cups!
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