Could acupuncture be a cure for colic? We investigate the treatment said to be the answer to reducing colic symptoms in babies.
It’s the source of many a mother’s misery thanks to its incessant nature, intense volume and ability to inspire complete helplessness in parents.
But colic, defined simply as excessive crying in babies, could be treatable according to controversial new research in Sweden.
Scientists at Lund University believe that acupuncture, the practice of traditional Chinese medicine where needles are inserted into specific pressure points on the body, holds the key to reducing crying in colicky babies.
The research is comprised of a small study of 147 babies aged between two to eight weeks. Scientists found that the babies who had the most acupuncture (a short course up to twice a week) cried the least after two weeks of treatment.
The number of babies who cried for more than three hours was cut by a third in those who received acupuncture compared to those who did not.
Colic affects one in five newborn babies and is characterised by relentless crying, for three hours or more each day – usually in the evening – on three or more days of the week.
Despite how distressing it sounds, colic is harmless. Scientists are still unsure what causes colic, with theories varying from indigestion, trapped wind or sensitivity to milk. By six months old, colic usually subsides.
However, even if acupuncture were the key to quelling colic, how many mothers would choose to have needles put into their babies? The good news is that, while needles would have to be used, they are smaller, lighter and much less painful than the needles used during immunisation injections.
Want to try this cure for colic? Five London clinics that perform acupuncture on babies:
- With three clinics in the capital – Harley Street, Canary Wharf and Blackheath, London Acupuncture Space offers extremely gentle acupuncture treatments for babies, often incorporating massage. londonacupuncturespace.com
- Japanese Acupuncture London in Maida Vale offers Shonishin – a non-invasive acupuncture technique that uses gold, silver and stainless steel tools to gently tap, rub and stroke babies, to strong therapeutic effect. japaneseacupuncture.london
- Run by a mother-of-three, Acupuncture At Your Door in Hackney offers a “gentle needle” technique. Most treatments last five minutes, with babies nestled in a parent’s lap. acupunctureatyourdoor.co.uk
- Julia of Julia Davis Acupunture in Tooting Bec also uses Shonishin and also offers to teach parents simple techniques from the practise that can be performed at home. londonacupuncture.com
- Treatments are customised to suit each individual infant at the Doctor Lui Clinic in Fulham, with both invasive and non-invasive techniques offered. doctorluiclinic.com
WORDS: Martha Alexander