Acupuncture to reduce excessive crying in babies
Acupuncture may have the potential to effectively reduce incidences of excessive crying in babies with infantile colic, researchers say.
Acupuncture may have the potential to effectively reduce incidences of excessive crying in babies with infantile colic, researchers say. Infantile colic, also known as baby colic, is defined as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child.
Excessive crying in babies is an issue for up to one in five families, causing pain for the baby and stress for the parents, the study said. The findings showed that needling twice a week for a period of two weeks significantly reduced the crying time in babies.
"For those infants that continue to cry for more than three hours each day, acupuncture may be an effective treatment option," said Kajsa Landgren from Lund University in Sweden. Previous studies have associated acupuncture with relieving pain, restoring gut function as well as inducing calm.
In the study, the team compared two types of acupuncture in 144 babies aged between two and eight weeks of age and randomly allocated each child to one of three groups (A-C). Group A received standard minimal acupuncture at one acupuncture point, group B were given tailored acupuncture at a maximum of five acupuncture points and group C received no acupuncture.
The results showed that the amount of time spent crying excessively fell in all three groups, which is not unexpected as colic tends to clear up by itself eventually. But the magnitude of this reduction was greater in those given either type of acupuncture than it was in those given standard care alone, suggesting that the babies tolerated the ancient method fairly well, the researchers said.
"Fussing and crying are normal communications for a baby, therefore a reduction to normal levels (rather than silence) is the goal of treatment," Landgren noted. The research was published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.