The first time I experienced the effects of acupuncture (well...acupressure, actually) on a child was while I was still a student. I had just learned the locations and functions of all the points, and while I was visiting a friend, her two-year-old son had an asthma attack. I gently massaged various points that I would normally needle in this situation. As I worked, his breath started coming more easily, and he relaxed so much that he started to fall asleep-not typical behavior for a child who was normally rowdy and active. To this day, he still remembers that episode, and insists that I hypnotized him! The qi of children is very close to the surface, which means that it is very easily manipulated. You can create great changes with very shallow needling-or with no needling at all. Kids respond incredibly well to this type of medicine, and while (thankfully) most young people tend to be healthier than adults, there is still plenty to work with. In junior high, I remember a nurse's office filled with girls doubled over with menstrual cramps. Back then, no one had heard of acupuncture-but what if these girls had open-minded, forward-thinking parents who had looked into alternative medicine? They could have been spared a few day's worth of pain, every month.
Or, take a look at an autistic young man I treated a few years ago. After a few weekly sessions of acupuncture, the instructors at his school wrote a letter stating that he was showing improvement in both coordination and communication. It seemed easier for him to stay on track in the classroom...and he absolutely loved coming for treatment.
When people express skepticism about acupuncture as "legitimate medicine", I like to talk about my experience working with pediatric patients. During the course of an internship, I treated many young children, some with very serious and painful conditions. They would relax instantly, once the needles were inserted, and would eagerly anticipate our arrival. Bear in mind, a lot of these kids were subjected to numerous injections and blood tests every day. They should have been sick to death of needles, but they loved acupuncture. Once we treated the young kids, we would head over to visit the babies who were born addicted to drugs. We didn't needle babies; instead, we used teishins (non-insertive acupuncture devices) to stimulate various acupuncture points on their bodies. I will never forget watching the monitors and seeing the heartrate even out and slow down as I placed my teishin on a heart point, and then seeing the oxygen levels go up as I stimulated a lung point. If that isn't proof positive that acupuncture creates change beyond a placebo effect, I don't know what is.