The practice of acupuncture originated in China 5,000 years ago. Today it is widely used throughout the world and is one of the main pillars of Chinese medicine.
There are many different varieties of the practice of acupuncture, both in the Orient and in the West. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) usually combines acupuncture with Chinese herbs. Classical acupuncture (also known as five element acupuncture) uses a different needling technique and relies on acupuncture independent of the use of herbs.
In a new study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search in 18 databases for studies involving pediatric use of acupuncture. In total, 37 reports were included in the review.
The researchers identified a total of 279 adverse events from the included studies. Twenty-five adverse events were considered severe, and included thumb deformity, infections, cardiac rupture, nerve impairment, coughing up blood, reversible coma and overnight hospitalization. However, overall, the researchers found that the majority of reported adverse events were mild, including bruising, pain, bleeding or worsening of symptoms.
The authors noted that the severe adverse events could have been the result of poor quality practices. The authors concluded that when performed properly and under the care of a qualified practitioner, acupuncture may be safe for use in children. Further research in this area is warranted.
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