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At the Kokin Healing Center, we're all about education. We love to empower our patients to learn how to take good care of their bodies; and we're always learning ourselves. In that spirit, the Healing Blog is a place for us to teach and to learn. We hope you enjoy these posts and share them with friends, family and colleagues.

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Can Pediatric Acupuncture Treat Childhood Migraines?

As a parent, you know just how frustrating it can be when your child is hurting.

If you could take on their aches and pains yourself, you gladly would. Unfortunately, sprains and scrapes happen. In some children, so do more serious conditions -- including childhood migraines.

You're probably also hesitant to give your child heavy doses of medicine. Their growing bodies are so vulnerable. Have you looked into alternative care, like pediatric acupuncture? It may be worth checking out.

What Acupuncture Involves

Before considering pediatric acupuncture, it pays to understand how this treatment works.

A practitioner will not just poke needles into your child willy-nilly. Instead, this traditional form of Chinese medicine aims to realign the flow of energy within the body. When this energy, also called "chi," gets blocked or stuck, it can create painful and debilitating conditions. Migraines are one of those conditions.

Acupuncture needles are placed carefully at certain points along the body's meridians or energy channels. There, they help to "unstick" this chi, letting the patient's energy flow freely and alleviating their condition.

Migraines In Children

Some 10% of all kids suffer from migraines -- which are more than just headaches. Migraine symptoms include sensitivity to light, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and more. 

Researchers aren't exactly sure what causes migraines in children or adults. They also do not understand why some people are more prone to migraines than others. Some people go their whole lives without experiencing a migraine. Others find their lives disrupted by this condition on a regular basis.

How Acupuncture Affects Migraine Sufferers

Migraines are caused by a neurological condition that wreaks havoc with the body's communication network -- the brain and nervous system. When an individual develops a migraine, certain areas of the brain are activated in unusual ways.  

The insertion of acupuncture needles changes the communication between different parts of the brain. Studies of acupuncture have looked at brain activity under functional MRIs. In both healthy adults and chronic pain patients, acupuncture treatment can cause particular reactions in the brain. The regions that control pain responses are especially affected.

Before Choosing Pediatric Acupuncture

Choose an acupuncturist who is specially trained in treating children, both for their experience and their gentle "bedside manner." Depending on your child's age and demeanor, you may want to make a separate visit to the clinic before any treatment takes place. This will familiarize them with the space and the practitioner.

Since acupuncture uses needles, it can sound scary to children. Reassure children that these needles are nothing like the ones used to administer vaccines. Usually they don't hurt at all when they are inserted. Pediatric acupuncture needles are even smaller and thinner than the ones used for adults. 

In very young children, the needles will generally be removed almost immediately after placement. Older children may be asked to sit still and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. The environment where your child will receive acupuncture is soothing and calm. Of course, you'll be able to stay by their side during the entire process.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including childhood migraines. In fact, it may be one of the best possible ways to relieve your child's pain.

Get in touch with our experts to make an appointment or to learn more.

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Chinese Medicine involves a complete program of acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modification.
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We believe in treating each patient with a comprehensive strategy involving acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese herbal medicine.
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