Jake has been getting acupuncture for about a year now and today I’d like to share our experience. This week I invite you to relax, get your zen on, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy learning about something that I personally think is fascinating.
What led me to try acupuncture?
In the spring of 2013, I read about NAET acupuncture in the “Thinking Moms Revolution” book. This is a special type of acupuncture that is supposed to improve allergies. After reading more about NAET, however, and given the severity of Jake’s many allergies (7 food and multiple environmental), I didn’t feel comfortable with this treatment. But, it did spark the idea of looking into traditional acupuncture.
At the time, my mom was seeing Jessica, an acupuncturist at our integrative medical doctor’s office, and she highly recommended her. I followed my gut instinct and without really even knowing what to expect, made our first appointment. Despite the fact that “allergies” were the reason we walked into Jessica’s office that day, I was shocked when I saw improvements in other areas as well.
What results do I see when Jake gets acupuncture?
In our first sessions when Jake was four years old, I saw improvement in fine motor skills, creativity, independence, and clarity of speech. At age five, I still see fine motor and clarity of speech improvements. Once his fall allergies (ragweed) kicked in last year, I was surprised to see that acupuncture alleviates his allergy symptoms as well.
What about the food allergies? More on this later, as allergies are not a black and white issue, but in January Jake’s test results showed that his allergies have gotten substantially better. We are currently in an exploration process to see where we officially stand. I believe these results are due to a combination of acupuncture along with his specialized diet and supplement plan.
What happens in our pediatric acupuncture session?
No, it’s nothing like Po in Kung Fu Panda, so go ahead and erase this visual from your mind –
Jake typically gets the following services (not at every session) that are dependent on his symptoms: acupuncture (6-8 tiny needles that stay in for 1 to 10 minutes), acupressure, massage, and cupping. Sessions usually last about 30 minutes.
The next question people ask me is, Does it hurt? That is usually followed by something to the effect of … My kid would freak out!
Now erase the post traumatic stress of what it’s like when your child gets a shot. It is absolutely nothing like that experience. In the book “Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine”, Bob Flows states …
When babies are first brought in to see the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner, they may immediately recognize they are in a doctor’s office, and they may start to cry, remembering the pokes and prods, jabs and shots they have received at Western MDs’ offices. However, children soon learn that the TCM practitioner does not do any of that and that the visit is both gentle and kind. Therefore, children, by and large, love to go see their Chinese doctors. (pg. 58).
I 100 percent agree with this sentiment. Jake looks forward to his sessions and adores Jessica. If it hurt, he wouldn’t love it so much.
Are the needles safe?
The needles that Jessica uses are sterile and each one comes in its own packaging.
How often do we go?
We began in May of 2013 and during the first month, we went two times a week. June and July we went one time a week. Once school started, we went about once or twice a month and/or when his fall allergy symptoms were acting up. We did not go during the winter months because Jake felt wonderful during this time because nothing was blooming and his apraxia had gotten substantially better.
Right now we are in the process of finding a new acupuncturist and I am going to aim for two times a month over the summer to keep Jake’s grass allergy symptoms at bay.
How much does it cost?
I have heard that acupuncture can run anywhere from $50-85 a session. It is covered in my family’s insurance plan with United Healthcare. Jessica was out-of-network so we had to first meet our $700 deductible (comprehensive/all medical costs, not just acupuncture services) and then it was covered at 70 percent. In-network is much more cost effective; the deductible is substantially lower and 100 percent is covered.
Want to know more?
Tune in on Thursday and Friday of this week for a two-part series by Jessica Gross, Jake’s acupuncturist who recently moved to California. She will be sharing the philosophy of acupuncture, the different points she focused on when treating Jake’s apraxia, and details of the at-home massage we do.