Acupuncture for Teenagers and Young Adults
The Benefits of Acupuncture for Teens and Young Adults
Acupuncture is very beneficial to teenagers and young adults. This age range (~13-25) undergoes many changes, from brain development to hormonal changes. In order to be healthy, it is important to follow the cycles of nature. These cycles pertain to sleep, eating habits, and a woman’s menstrual cycle. Living out of accordance with nature (i.e. staying up too late, not eating at regular times) may allow dis-ease to occur and can disturb the natural growing cycles. In addition, academic and social stress may exacerbate the disharmonies. Therefore, it is very important to foster one's health during this age. Acupuncture works by balancing the body and harmonizing our body with nature. It has an affect on many different functions including, the circulatory system, nervous system, musculo-skeletal, and endocrine systems.
Read on Teens and Young Adults, this is for you. (and parents too!)
Common Conditions Treated with Acupuncture for Teenagers and Young Adults
Menstrual irregularities (including cramps)
Lifestyle Considerations for Teenagers and Young Adults
It is important to start developing good habits. A lot of adolescents suffer from anxiety, and it is understandable because of all the stress they experience at school, home, and becoming independent and self-reliant. The body can handle a lot of stress but this may lead to chronic conditions later on in life so it is important to develop stress management techniques early in life.
Stress Management Techniques
1. Drinking enough water is vital for everyone. Hydration helps to keep skin clear of blemishes.
2. It is best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Chinese medicine recommends going to bed by 11pm in order to get the best night sleep. It is common for teenagers and young adults to have inconsistent sleep patterns but now is the time to start getting into a consistent and healthy routine.
3. Meditation, start out with just a couple of minutes per day, find a quiet space to sit and focus on taking deep breaths. There are many meditation apps that are helpful, such as, Insight Timer and Stop, Breathe, & Think. Meditation will help you to relax and feel more confident and calmer when taking on challenges.
4. Exercise, think of how much kids run around. It is natural to exercise but with an increased academic and work load we forget about this natural desire to move. It is important that teenagers and young adults continue to exercise and find something that brings them joy. It could be swimming, biking, playing sports, yoga, or anything.
5. Journaling, it is hard for everyone to communicate how they are feeling but it is important to have an outlet. Speaking with a parent, friend, and therapist is very beneficial. Journaling is easy to do and it helps clear the clutter from your mind.
6. Nutrition, eating nutritiously will help your body handle stress. I recommend having a green smoothie or fresh cold pressed vegetable juice as your first meal to make sure that you are getting adequate vegetables and nutrients daily. Other helpful tips are to avoid dairy (dairy increases acne and inflammation), avoid sugar (increases inflammation and causes energy spikes and drops), and avoid processed foods (eat fresh foods).
7. Ear Seeds, these are seeds that are taped onto acupressure spots on your ear. The ear is a microcosm for the entire body so anything can be treated through the ear.
1. Whether it is volunteering, being active in church or some other social organization, feeling part of something is important for young people.
2. Getting acupuncture regularly can help to maintain a calm state. The treatment itself relaxes the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight), usually people meditate or fall asleep during the treatment. Afterwards, that relaxed feeling continues and helps with sleeping well. Family members often remark on how calm the person is after an acupuncture treatment. This feeling permeates more and more into a person’s life as they continue to get acupuncture treatments.
3. Cupping is a Chinese medicine technique that works like massage to help release muscle tension and increase blood circulation. It helps the body to let go of tension and triggers the body to increase circulation allowing for the free flow of nutrients and helping to release stagnancies both physically and mentally.
4. Muscles tense up in response to stress, massage can help relax the body and release some of that tension both physically and mentally.
5. Private or group therapy sessions are great for helping to handle stress and other issues.
How Does Acupuncture Help?
Acupuncture for Pain in Young People
Pain is the condition that acupuncture is most well known for treating, and this is also true for teenagers and young adults. No one wants to see their child suffering from pain. And no teenager and young adult wants to miss out on opportunities because of an injury or pain. Acupuncture assists the body in healing and recovering from an injury. According to a recent survey, 70% of young people being treated by acupuncture for pain related conditions reported improvement in their pain symptoms. These conditions included, migraine headaches, endometriosis, and nerve pain (Acupuncture Helps Kids and Teens…). When treating pain with acupuncture it does take a few treatments but the less amount of time you have had a condition the faster and easier it is to treat. This is one of the reasons why it is so beneficial for teenagers and young adults to receive acupuncture treatment because of their young age they have not had a condition as long as an adult may have. This is also why I encourage treatment as soon as possible after someone starts experiencing pain or discomfort.
Acupuncture for Anxiety and Depression in Teens and Young Adults
Teenagers and young adults are emotionally vulnerable. This generation of young people may in fact be under more stress than pervious generations. As we age, we gain more perspective and more tools for handling stress. It is important for teens to start developing these tools to handling stress, as mentioned before, in able to help cope with anxiety and depression. Dr. Milo had this to say in an interview with the online wellness media outlet, Goop, “From a sensory platform, acupressure and acupuncture can be quite helpful for stress and anxiety conditions. In addition, acupuncture and acupressure can help with allergies, headache, and some types of chronic pain (to name a few).” Read more tips for handling stress and anxiety here. (Coping Mechanisms for Stressed-Out Teenagers).
Research has shown that acupuncture helps students have less anxiety and improved memory after treatment and that the production of stress hormones is reduced after acupuncture (Why Acupuncture Works for Anxiety Relief). People feel very relaxed during and after a treatment, and this feeling permeates into daily life.
Getting Started with Acupuncture Treatments
If you are a teen or young adult that is 18 or older, find a local licensed acupuncturist and give them a call. The NCCAOM database is a good place to start. If you are in the Philadelphia, Montgomery county area, you may contact me at Red Panda Acupuncture. If you are younger than 18 talk to your parent/ guardian about seeking out acupuncture treatments. If you are a parent or guardian of a teen or young adult, talk with your child about trying acupuncture. It is a very relaxing and pain-free experience.
At Red Panda Acupuncture in Elkins Park, I specialize in treating teenagers and young adults. I use acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, gua sha, allergy treatments, and ear seeds. Read more about treatments at Red Panda Acupuncture here. Schedule here.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness,
Kearney DeFillipo L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
Acupuncture Helps Kids and Teens With Chronic Pain. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20000426/acupunture-kids-teens-chronic-pain#1
Coping Mechanisms for Stressed-Out Teenagers. https://goop.com/wellness/health/coping-mechanisms-for-stressed-out-teenagers/
Why Acupuncture Works for Anxiety Relief. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/why-acupuncture-works-anxiety-relief/