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Yes, Acupuncture for Pets and Babies Is a Thing

We talked to licensed acupuncturists to find out everything you need to know
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The positive physiological effects of acupuncture aren't limited to (adult) humans. You might be surprised to read that the treatment can actually benefit your toddler and even your dog. In fact, many of the same things that might bring you turn to Chinese medicine to fix — stress, pain, fear — might be alleviated in your little loved ones as well. Keep reading to learn more about the ins and outs of acupuncture for pets and babies.

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The benefits of acupuncture for pets
"There's an entire realm of vet acupuncture," says Mona Dan, LAc., MTOM an herbalist, acupuncturist and founder of Vie Healing. "Animals of all sorts can benefit if they suffer from chronic organ issues or physical setbacks like hurt body parts, arthritis, allergies and even dermatologic issues."

Vanessa Mergulhão, a licensed acupuncturist at Saffron & Sage, adds that it can also be a great alternative or complementary treatment for respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. "Veterinary acupuncture has been more recently added to canine cancer protocol, helping to reduce side effects of chemotherapy, boost their immune systems and improve their quality of life. Dogs usually respond well to acupuncture treatments, most of them feel very relaxed and will even fall asleep during a session."

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The benefits of acupuncture for children
It doesn't end with your dog, however. Your baby might also be a candidate for acupuncture. "In general, acupuncture can be used to help treat gastrointestinal issues, colic, pain and jaundice in children," says Vivien Eng, an acupuncturist at Gingerchi. "It can also be helpful in reducing the severity of ADHD. Parents who would prefer to reduce the use of medication for their child should consider acupuncture. A lot of health issues stems from gut health, which acupuncture can help in balancing."

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How does acupuncture work for babies and pets?
Acupuncture can also be great for babies dealing with teething and dermatologic issues. "The earlier your child is exposed to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the easier and better it is for the parents," says Dan. "Usually, very small hair-thin needles are inserted and quickly removed on about 4-6 areas on the body. Some babies will only have the application of magnets like 24K gold ear seeds. It depends on the baby." For pets, the treatment depends on the animal. "Sometimes, they lay with the needles in them and the needles can be retained, for others it would be quick insertions and removals," says Dan.

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What else do you need to know?
It should go without saying that since there are risks with any sort of invasive treatment (including bruising or bleeding), it's imperative to go to a specialist, but generally speaking acupuncturists know where and how deep to apply each needle. Typically sessions last 30 minutes to an hour, just as they would for adults.


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