A new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics gives the nod of approval to treating children with acupuncture.
The first large-scale systematic review on the safety of acupuncture for young people, the study found that one in 10 children experienced mild side effects, such as minor bruising at the puncture site. However, more serious reactions, such as infections or nerve damage, were found to be rare.
In the study, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada examined data from 37 international studies. They found that out of 1,422 children and teenagers included in the data, 168 experienced mild side effects. The study only aimed to answer questions about safety, not effectiveness, of pediatric acupuncture treatments.
The New York Times reported that previous studies have mostly focused on adults being treating with acupuncture, with "serious side effects occurring in about five of every million treatment sessions."
A common alternative medicine, acupuncture is reportedly growing in popularity to treat children who suffer from pain or migraines.
The New York Times also cites a prior study from Harvard Medical School that examined the effects of acupuncture on 50 children seeking relief from migraines or endometriosis. The authors concluded that despite initial anxieties about the needles, most families found acupuncture "pleasant and helpful."