Acupuncture Could Be The Way Out For Babies Who Cries Too Much, Study Finds

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Jan 19, 2017 08:24 AM EST

A recent study suggests that Acupuncture may be the way out for babies who cry too much. The study found that traditional Chinese needling technique may help babies who cry too much - more than three hours a day, for at least three days a week.

The study discovered that babies had fewer symptoms after getting acupunctured when compared with the standard treatment. Almost all the human acupuncture studies have been conduct on adults, which have linked the practice with reduced pain, improved gastrointestinal function and calmness.

The researchers recruited 147 healthy babies who were between the age of two and eight weeks that have been diagnosed with colic, in order to check if the technique might help with excessive crying in babies.

They distributed the babies and their families into three different groups and were told to visit a child health center twice weekly for two weeks. Members of two of the groups received acupuncture with some given standard minimal acupuncture at LI4 for 2 to 5 seconds, while others were given at up to five locations on the hands and legs, for 30 seconds with mild stimulation. The third group got a standard treatment, according to MNT.

The parents were asked to keep records in diaries of how much time the babies spent crying at home. After two weeks, all three groups were crying less. The researchers say this is an expected result, as colic eventually tends to clear up by itself.

The babies in both acupuncture groups had a higher reduction in crying when compared to the standard treatment group, thus, suggesting acupuncture offers faster recovery.  Only 16 babies in the standard acupuncture group and 21 in the tailored group met the criteria for colic in the second group, compared to 31 babies in the standard treatment group.

The findings also implies that acupuncture could have a long lasting effect as the babies maintained the difference between the acupuncture and non acupuncture groups, six days after the final clinic visit.  The researchers said that there was no substantial difference between the results of the two acupuncture groups.

It is reported by The Sun that the babies tolerated the acupuncture so well that sleeping babies rarely woke during treatment with 200 out of the 388 treatments involving no crying at all. The authors said only 31 sessions involved crying for more than one minute, 15 reported cases of bleeding and just three families dropped out of the study before it ended.

The study authors however, note that the aim of the technique is to minimize to the normal crying levels and not complete silence, as tired parents often overestimate normal crying. Parents that are considering further treatment should first keep a diary of crying times to determine if it really is excessive, lead researcher, a nurse and lecturer at Lund University in Sweden, Kajsa Landgren says.  

Parents are also advised to remove cow milk from their baby's diet before resorting to acupuncture or other treatment, as doing so could help treat the excessive crying. It helped to treat excessive crying in 269 out of the 426 babies initially identified for the research during the one week registration period for the study.

The treatments were performed by licensed and highly experienced acupuncturists with almost 20 years experience, who also participated in an education day specifically about acupuncture for colic. The researchers published their findings in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

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