Kim Ricard's daughters are her world, so when they're feeling under the weather, it can turn everything upside down.
"It's horrible to see them sick," Ricard said.
She said she's found a way to help her one-year-old and her seven-year-old get better in as little as 24 hours, with acupuncture.
But instead of a needle, acupuncturist Netta Hart uses a small metal tool to stimulate acupuncture points.
"A needle would be just way too much stimulation for a baby," Hart said.
Hart focuses on points on the legs, chest, stomach, and back that are tied to the immune system.
"Certainly medications have their place, but they're used way too frequently and way too soon," she said. "[However], acupuncture stimulates your own body to respond."
About 150,000 kids get acupuncture every year, and studies show it can help with much more than just colds. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital found after a year of getting traditional acupuncture with a needle, kids said their pain from headaches, stomach aches, and other chronic complaints reduced from an average eight out of ten score to a three.
Other studies show acupuncture can ease asthma in preschool kids, crying in babies with colic, and pain in kids after tonsillectomies.
"By that evening, generally, they feel better and sleep better that night," Ricard said. "Any parent of a child knows that a good night of sleep is just heaven."
In a review of 37 studies, Australian researchers found in the hands of a trained practitioner, acupuncture is safe for kids. Only one out of ten kids experienced mild side effects like bruising or pain.
Acupuncture has been recorded in history as being about 2,000 years old. However, some experts claim that it may have been practiced in China for about 4,000 years. During acupuncture, needles are inserted into specific pressure points and remain in the body for up to twenty minutes. Acupuncture has been a valuable alternative therapy for many conditions, some of which include:
Depression: Acupuncture has been shown to have some effectiveness in treating mild to moderate depression. Acupuncture exhibits regulatory effects on special brain cells in the hippocampus that helps maintain the brain and spinal cord. (Source: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1244-acupuncturebraincellgb34du20).
Migraines: Recent studies show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines. It is just as effective as a beta blocker. Although it may take three to five treatments, acupuncture has been shown to cure 80 percent of patients with migraines.
Asthma: There are pressure points in which acupuncture can be used to help with asthma attacks. It is possible to affect the sympathetic nervous system and mitigate an acute attack. (Source: http://www.chineseherbacademy.org/benefits.shtml).
Infertility: There is evidence that acupuncture can increase the success in vitro fertilization and also promote fertility on its own in both male and female. It can increase blood flow to the endometrium, promoting a thick rich lining. (Source: http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/acupuncture.htm).
Anxiety: Historically, acupuncture has been used to treat anxiety. Traditional Chinese medicine relates anxiety to an imbalance of the heart and kidney. Acupuncture on points around the heart, kidney, spleen and ear are used to treat anxiety. (Sources: http://psychcentral.com/lib/acupuncture-anxiety- depression/00017321 and http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/The_History_of_Acupuncture_in_China/1819).
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