Acupuncture for Children? San Francisco Chinese Medicine College Now Offers Pediatric Acupuncture Training

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Children have been treated with acupuncture for centuries, but it’s just catching on in America. The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco has begun teaching a specialized course on pediatric Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and is in the process of developing a post-graduate certification program that will commence in the fall of 2012.

Efrem Korngold, OMD, LAc

Children’s fears about acupuncture usually have everything to do with their parents. If the parents are optimistic, encouraging and unafraid, the children feel the same.

Acupuncture can do amazing things for kids—from treating colds, earaches and GI complaints to addressing serious chronic illnesses—according to Efrem Korngold, OMD, LAc. Doctor Korngold, the founder of Chinese Medicine Works in Noe Valley, and one of the few practitioners who routinely treats children in the San Francisco Bay Area, is now teaching Traditional Chinese Medicine Pediatrics to students at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is developing a post-graduate curriculum which is scheduled to be launched this fall.

“We are reaching a stage in the advancement of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in America, in terms of confidence in the medicine and of public support, where parents are comfortable exploring Chinese medicine and acupuncture for their children,” said Korngold. “Children have been treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine for centuries in the East, but it’s just beginning to catch on here.”

Korngold believes that the increasing interest in herbal medicine and acupuncture for children results from a natural progression beginning with couples seeking complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches to boost fertility and sustain healthy pregnancies. Western medical specialists report that acupuncture can enhance fertility in women and men, optimizing outcomes of conventional medical procedures. Acupuncture improves blood flow to the uterus and ovaries and modulates the release of hormones that regulate the reproductive organs, including the production of healthy male sperm.

Studies support the safety of pediatric acupuncture when administered by appropriately trained practitioners. But, according to Korngold, there are also many ways of effectively administering acupuncture point therapy with children that do not require the use of needles. Such painless methods include massage, pinching techniques, ionized steel, gold and silver pellets taped to the skin that interact electrically with acupuncture points, non-piercing Shoni Shin needles and even the use of cold lasers.

“While non-needle techniques are useful and effective, acupuncture using very thin, stainless steel needles tends to more rapid effects, with longer lasting results, than alternate techniques,” said Korngold. “Children’s fears about acupuncture usually have everything to do with their parents. If the parents are optimistic, encouraging and unafraid, the children feel the same.

I have treated children with serious neurological problems, like cerebral palsy and seizure disorders, in much the same way that I would treat an adult. I find that the children who need acupuncture the most are quite amenable to receiving it.”

The conditions pediatric acupuncturists treat are much the same as Western pediatricians, but because there are so few acupuncture practitioners who treat children, they tend to get the more complex cases—neurodevelopmental disorders, failure to thrive, and stress induced conditions such as stomach aches, headaches and sleep disturbances—complaints that are particularly prevalent in pre-teens and teens, according to Korngold.

For more information about pediatric acupuncture and Chinese medicine, please contact Alissa Cohan at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) by phone at (415) 355-1601 x 12.

About the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has been at the forefront of educating students in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Bay Area since its inception in 1980. Their two degree programs—the Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and the Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM)—provide an exceptional professional education.

Bay Area acupuncture treatment, as taught by ACTCM, restores balance and health, and is used for everything from chronic pain to drug dependence. Increasingly numbers of people are turning to acupuncture for infertility, allergy relief, weight loss, and pain management.

During treatment practitioners insert sterile, disposable needles at acupuncture points along the meridians. Because of the thin and pliable needles used, most people feel little to no discomfort. Patients typically leave feeling energized or relaxed with a deep sense of well-being.

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