COLORADO SERENITY – April 2004: Child Friendly Acupuncture, for the Child in All of Us
Tracy Saraduke, RN, M.Ac. L.Ac.
3082 Evergreen Parkway, Suite 2
Evergreen, CO 80439
Does acupuncture hurt? Television and movies have strongly influenced how most people think about acupuncture. Have you seen The Nutty Professor where he gets acupuncture for weight loss and they just can’t seem to put enough needles in him? Or the famous scene where Steven Segal has all those long needles inserted into him and he is smoking? My favorite is the Matrix, where they treat Neo with huge needles after he is unplugged from the matrix. Despite how it is depicted in movies and television, acupuncture usually doesn’t hurt, depending on the style of acupuncture.
Toyohari is a style of traditional Japanese medicine that involves the use of needles that are not inserted. In Toyohari, we use palpation of the pulse and abdomen, other signs and symptoms to detect overall disturbances of the patient’s vitality. Then, we correct the disturbances with silver or gold needles held at precise locations.
Since Toyohari acupuncture is usually non-insertive, the needling is done without over-stimulating the nervous system. Nervous system stimulation can sometimes interfere with the treatment; we like to avoid it. To promote healthy circulation, we use the most effective technique.
With children, the meridians (lines of healthy energy circulation) are balanced quickly. We use a teishin (a thicker needle used for touching treatments) and moxa (an externally applied herb that warms the patient and supplements the treatment). Even the most sensitive child enjoys this type of treatment. I’ve seen toddlers who were lethargic one minute, and perked up, playing and happy the next.
Non-insertion needling is especially good for sensitive patients and needle-shy patients. The “sensitive” patient’s meridian system responds like a child’s system; it does not take much to get their natural healing ability moving in the right direction.
So, “Does acupuncture hurt?” Answer: It doesn’t have to.