When I first told my friends that I was taking my baby girl to an acupuncturist, they looked like they wanted to have me arrested for child abuse. I think they pictured me pinning my baby down while some sadist filled her with pins. As if.
My daughter was born with horrific eczema, not an uncommon affliction for babies today. We were at the pediatrician’s office constantly, as painful eczema flare-ups turned into staff infections. My baby couldn’t sleep and I had to keep socks on her hands because she would scratch herself until she bled. It was a nightmare.
We tried expensive lotions, oils, and creams. We tried steroids. We tried bathing her and not bathing her. We emptied our home of all perfumes and fragrances. I stopped eating all forms of sugar and dairy. Nothing seemed to help.
So an acupuncturist didn’t seem all that crazy to me. Even though I had never been to one myself, I sought out a lovely licensed acupuncturist named Cristi. A mother herself, she assured me that she would not stab my daughter with anything. She also assured me that acupuncture is an effective treatment for eczema. Though my science-trained brain couldn’t comprehend how this was possible, I was in no position to dismiss it.
Cristi never used a needle on my daughter. Instead, she practiced “needleless acupuncture” using two tools, the taishi and the teishin, to stimulate points along my daughter’s body’s meridians. Cristi also prescribed us an incredibly affordable herbal treatment.
I won’t tell you that my daughter was cured after a single treatment. I won’t even tell you that acupuncture singlehandedly cured my daughter of her eczema. But I am confident that it helped. It certainly helped her to sleep better on the nights after her treatments. And what really amazed me was how much my daughter enjoyed her treatments. She was a miserable, itchy, squirmy 6-month-old, yet when Cristi got out her tools, she would sit up or lie down on the table and hold perfectly still. And at home, when I would bath her in the herbal treatments, she would coo and smile as if to say, “Whatever this is mom, keep doing it!”
Recent research supports that acupuncture is a viable treatment for many ailments for people of all ages. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota actually has a pediatric acupuncture center. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital captured images of babies’ brains during acupuncture and found patterns activated by acupuncture that looked much like patterns seen while the babies were at rest. This suggests that acupuncture is at least a way to relieve pain.