Is there any information on acupuncture for children in respect of stammering / dis fluency treatment?

A: We're afraid the answer is not a great deal. We have trawled the research databases, and apart from one very small study about twenty years ago of two patients, neither of whom showed any improvement after treatment, there have been very few case reports at all. This does not mean that they don't exist; there are literally thousands of studies undertaken in China every year. Most, however, are not translated, and we have to work on the premise that the ones that make people sit up and take notice are the ones which generate important results. Routine studies which show minor improvements are usually acknowledged and left untreated.

 Stammering is a very complex problem with all sorts of emotional and physical causes, and it might just be possible that a skilled practitioner might see something in the overall pattern of the child's energies which might offer some hope. We are always cautious about how we express this. Chinese medicine treats the person, not the condition, and so at some level you could say that it treats anything. 'Treat', however, is often taken to be synonymous with 'cure', and this is certainly not the case.

 Although we are all by the nature of our work generalists, but there are a couple of areas like obstetrics and paediatrics where we are looking at accrediting postgraduate education in recognition of expert practice. Children are not little adults, and there are a number of well-established courses and core texts which underpin specialist treatment. Many hundreds of practitioners in the BAcC have qualified to treat children, and although in the absence of finally agreed standards we cannot make recommendations, a google search for 'acupuncture' and 'children' in your area will almost certainly generate a number of hits. Alternatively you could ask a local BAcC member which of their colleagues specialises in treating children; most will have a 'go to' person in mind.

 The point of this is to see if you can arrange a brief assessment visit to see if there is anything in the case history which might encourage someone to believe that with treatment they may be able to help the child in question. We would expect them to give an honest assessment.

 What we do know well, though, from treating adults who stammer alongside other health issues is that there is no magic wand to effect change, and only in a few cases have we come across substantial changes. These have often been as much about reducing the anxiety which surrounds the problem as about actually stopping the problem at source, but conditions like this are often perpetuated by the worry about being about to stammer. 

 We hope that you manage to find someone who can offer you good face to face advice.

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