Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers

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This colour textbook is a comprehensive guide to diagnosis and treatment in paediatric acupuncture. Ill health related to modern lifestyles is discussed, as is the role of family dynamics in childhood disease. Rebecca Avern examines treatment of children from both a TCM and a Five Element perspective. Throughout, she highlights how diagnosis and treatment should be tailored depending on the age of the child. The book includes information on a wide variety of treatment methods, including needling and pediatric tui na.

The book covers all the conditions that children commonly present with in modern practice, including food allergies, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, issues relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder, and teenage depression, anxiety and eating disorders.


Kath Berry interviews Rebecca Avern>>

Paul Burdon (BSc Hons (Acup) BA Hons (Psych), LicAc, provides a 2 minute review of this title>

As a long-time practitioner and educator specialising in treating children, I have long intended to write a book on the subject, but this definitive text leaves little room for another book about the treatment of children with acupuncture. It is a very good book, so full of detail and useful information it may surprise those who think there is not much to the treatment of children. Although squeezing a review of a 723 page book (not including endnotes and index) into a short review it is a daunting task, I am pleased to be able to share my thoughts with colleagues who may be considering buying this book.

Both Rebecca and I trained with Julian Scott, and she gives Julian due credit for carrying the torch for the treatment of children with acupuncture for the past 30 plus years. In fact, some aspects of Rebecca’s book complement Julian’s excellent Acupuncture in the Treatment of Children (updated again this year). The text clearly explains why children need a specialised approach, as treating children is quite different to treating adults. In Julian’s foreword he affirms what I also strongly believe: we need more practitioners to show the world how wonderfully helpful our work can be for the many challenges that children face these days.

The book has an excellent index, and the sections, organised into three age groups, are well chosen. Within each age group, treatment approaches are provided not only for different ailments, but also according to five element types as they are seen in children. The material is therefore accessible to practitioners of all backgrounds. I particularly like the special symbols indicating different age groups and different conditions, and the numerous diagrams are very helpful. The only thing I did not like about the book was the shiny paper on which it is printed, although this is no reason not to read and use this book.

Building rapport seems to be as important to Rebecca as it is to me, both with the parents as well as the child. This is one of the main differences when treating children: you will often have various people present in the clinic room at the same time, who are all connected to the child, and you sometimes have to work out how to manage tricky family dynamics. This skill can only come with experience, which is why practitioners are advised to undertake treating children (and especially babies) only after they have a couple of years’ clinical experience after graduation. Treating teenagers is the best place to start, as they are the most like adults, to then work towards the younger patients. Practitioners should also train with an experienced colleague, not just learn from a book. I hope this text will encourage more colleagues to consider studying this rich and rewarding field of practice in more depth.

What I find so rewarding about treating children is seeing the relief experienced by parents when they find someone who is on their side, who understands them and can listen empathically to their struggles. They are often extremely worried when their child is ill and when we are able to improve the symptoms, find the cause and explain the reason for the problem in terms they can understand, their relief can make your day. Giving parents and carers things they can do to help their ailing children and guidelines to help keep them well can also be a great gift. These days, with so many blogs and Facebook pages full of concerned mums (and some dads) giving each other advice as to how best to treat common childhood problems, there is a great need for professionals who can offer a perspective that is based on sound principles.

I was very pleased to see that Rebecca has included aspects not covered by the ancient texts: eating disorders for example, and the mental health issues that are sadly becoming more prevalent in young children. A case in York was in the news recently, in which a mother was speaking at a local council meeting about the lack of mental health support for her eight year old child, who was extremely anxious and self-harming. This is alarming and we need an army of skilled practitioners to help these children.

One topic Rebecca does not address is the increasing number of babies being conceived via assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Whilst we should not assume these children will inevitably have health problems, we do need to be prepared for this possibility. I have personally seen IVF children who have struggled with chronic ailments and want to be able help these children the best I can. We can also help children with disabilities, and make a difference to those families living with someone with a disability. These families need all the support they can get, and at a time when statutory services seem to be getting sparser, we can help. Although we cannot take the place of the highly organised systems of care and support of the past, we can apply for funding to help us offer low-cost clinics that are more accessible. This can be a rewarding and important part of our work. We can have a countrywide network of practitioners who are working in and for our local communities to make life less of a struggle for vulnerable families.

So, read this book. Do some training. Find a mentor who is experienced in the treatment of children. Let us build a network of professionals of which we are proud. We can certainly be proud to have Rebecca among our gifted colleagues, who understands children and can help others to do the same.

June Tranmer


More Information
Author Rebecca Avern
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Publisher Singing Dragon
Number of Pages 776
Book Format Hardback
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