What to expect
During the initial session, my two aims are to make a diagnosis of your child’s condition, and to begin to gain rapport with him or her.
Making a diagnosis
I will ask you (and your child, depending on their age) questions about their current health and health history. As I do this, I will be observing many signs that, in Chinese medicine, have relevance to health, for example, your child’s eyes, the tone of their voice, their complexion and their stature.
I will also ask to look at your child’s tongue and I will take their pulse. I may also palpate their abdomen and back.
I am aware that, for many children, coming to a first acupuncture appointment can be something that they are nervous about. I therefore make it a priority to help them to feel safe and relaxed. I will spend some time asking your child, in an age appropriate way, about their hobbies, their pets, home life and school life. As well as helping your child to relax, it also informs my diagnosis. Your child’s symptoms do not occur in isolation and should always be understood in the context of your child as a whole person.
I will explain to your child before each step what I would like to do. Your child may be happy to try needles, but if they are not, then I will use one of the alternative treatment methods described here: No-Needle Acupuncture. Sometimes a child is not willing to try needles at first, but after a few sessions, they will. At each session, I will reassess your child’s condition and find a treatment method that balances the need for efficacy with making it a pleasant experience for your child.
Every child who comes to the clinic needs a slightly different approach and a different method of treatment. I will tailor everything to suit the nature and needs of your child as far as possible. Treatment needs to be effective but your child’s experience also needs to be a positive one.
Child-friendly Needle Technique
I use a ‘child-friendly’ needle technique, which is an almost pain free method of inserting acupuncture needles. There are some other differences in the way I treat children which make acupuncture an appropriate treatment for them:
- I use very few needles
- the needles are incredibly fine
- up to the age of about 7, needles are inserted and withdrawn immediately so the child does not need to stay still for any length of time.
There is a short video on the ‘For children’ page of a child having a treatment so you can get more of a sense of what it is like.
In between treatments
I may also ask you to perform some ‘home treatments’ on your child daily. If this is the case, I will give you full and clear instructions of what to do and how to do it.