Medical Minute: Acupuncture for Kids

Not long ago, doctors diagnosed eighteen-month-old Oliver Hyatt with cystic fibrosis.

"He was having this cough that was deep, deep in there. He didn't seem to be able to get it out."

His pediatrician gives him drugs to keep his lungs clear. He also gives him something else – acupuncture.

"His breathing is fantastic. It's much better than it's ever been since the day he was born."

"It’s a little bit of a tough sell for children, to use needles to make them better."

The kids may not be sold, but Doctor Herbsman is. He uses acupuncture to treat symptoms of chronic illnesses.

"Nausea from chemotherapy I do, and for post-op nausea we've used it, use it a lot for headaches, migraines, back pain."

The needles are believed to boost the body's immune system. It's common among adults, but a growing number of doctors believe children can also benefit from acupuncture.

"I don't believe that it's placebo, nor do I believe that it's the power of suggestion. I believe that it helps."

It helped Oliver breathe and sleep better, even though it comes with a few tears.

"He might cry and howl right now, but I think in the long run, he's going to get used to it. I don't think it's going to be a big deal for him anymore."

And mom says it's a small price to pay for relief.

For Information:

Chris McMurry
Public Affairs
California Pacific Medical Center
Suite 250
3801 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 600-2984