Alternative therapies to treat infant colic don’t all work, but acupuncture may help. Babies who received acupuncture treatments, twice a week for a period of six weeks, cried for a shorter period of time and with less intensity than the group of babies who did not receive acupuncture treatments. Finally, new research is giving battle-worn parents something to smile about. Being a new parent is a wonderful thing, and a stressful reality. The stress can be confounded if your new bundle of joy has colic, an attack of ongoing crying, estimated to affect 20 percent of babies.
So what is colic exactly? It’s usually diagnosed by the following threes: crying for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week and for more than three weeks. Colic usually stops after three or four months. And while researchers have long studied the causes of colic, none have been pinpointed. Some blame allergies or inflammation in the digestive tract, and others have even looked to a stressful prenatal experience as a cause. Just as importantly, researchers have tried to discover ways to treat colic, and a cure has not yet been found.
Kids don’t like needles. How come acupuncture needles don’t hurt babies? Acupuncture, a part of traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of very thin, solid stainless steel needles in to strategic points on the body. The needles are so fine, as fine as a piece of hair, they cause little to minimal pain. Interestingly, as seen in this video, some babies do not even notice the needles at all. In this study, the needles were inserted in to the soft, fleshy part of the hand between the baby’s thumb and forefinger. This area is thought to be connected to the behavior of the large intestine.
Is acupuncture covered by insurance? Acupuncture treatments may not be covered by your insurance plan but check with your carrier. In addition, your pediatrician should be able to assist you with more information, including a referral to a local acupuncturist. Always check with your babies pediatrician first.
With the near-constant fussing, weary moms and dads may find themselves at their wits’ end, but maybe acupuncture could help. Who knew that this ancient Chinese treatment may just be the key to a peaceful day for you and your baby? Hallelujah!