Being a teenager can be a very tumultuous experience. Its a time of trying to figure out who you are and what your role is in the world. You have your foot half way into independence while the other half is still very vulnerable and dependent on the adults in your life. This creates a dilemma where we see a deep need for guidance which can be seen more so through negative behaviors and attitudes conflicted with the desire for independence. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to treat your children for many of the obstacles that show up during adolescence.

Here are my top 7 reasons why teens should be getting acupuncture:

1. Body Awareness: This is a very important reason why every teen should experience acupuncture, yoga and meditation. It helps to bring you into your body and helps you to be more aware of how certain situations, emotions and food affect you on many different levels. Getting started on this earlier in life the better you will be able to manage all of the ups and downs that life can bring making for a more grounded and balanced adulthood.

2. Promotes Healthy digestion: In my clinic this is number one! If your gut is not healthy and balanced then it is like a domino effect for all of the other issues that can arise in the present and later in life. Acupuncture can be a very useful tool for helping the digestive system regulate itself better, to minimize symptoms and also to increase the body’s ability to effectively absorb nutrients. We now know what Chinese Medicine has known for thousands of years. Gut health is vitally important to the functioning of the brain and neurotransmitters, hormones and immune response.

3. Balances Hormones and Mood: Adolescence is a time where sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are shifting tremendously creating all kinds of strange new feelings and experiences within the body. Acupuncture can help your teen manage bouts of depression and anxiety. It can also help teenage girls have a healthier and less painful menstrual cycle.

4. Improves Sleep: Sleep is of incredible importance for everyone at all stages of life but especially so for children and adolescents. It is while our children our sleeping that their brains undergo an enormous amount of development. Teens need about 8-10 hours a night to function optimally. Inadequate sleep in adolescence has been linked to an inability to learn, listen and concentrate leading to poor outcomes at school. It can even contribute to poor eating habits, acne and behavioral issues.

5. Reduces Acne: This goes along with hormones and can be effectively treated by improving sleep, diet and managing the hormones. Chinese herbal medicine is great at reducing acne.

6. Boosts Immunity: A number of small pilot clinical trials have had promising results regarding acupuncture’s ability to modulate the immune response, particularly in children with asthma. Additionally, acupuncture can be used to effectively boost immunity to prevent colds, , flus, and other common childhood illnesses.

7. Resolves Pain: This is one of the most common reasons that acupuncture is sought out by adults but rarely for our children. With the high incidences of opioids being prescribed and the addiction that comes from that, it is important to expose our youth to healthier forms of pain management. It is an ideal therapy for acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain or injuries, as well as pain from conditions like juvenile arthritis, Lyme Disease, or juvenile Fibromyalgia. Acupuncture is also used effectively to reduce symptoms of headaches, migraines, sinus pain, dental pain, and back pain in children.

Dr. Chantal is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who practices in San Diego, CA.