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Tiredness, headaches and aches


Q:  My daughter is suffering from a virus similar to glandular fever, causing tiredness, headaches and aches. Will acupuncture provide her with any benefit?


A:  The Chinese had no concept of virus or viral infection, but grouped the symptoms together and understood them as affects of the climate, because extremes of climate or rapid changes of climate induce symptoms similar to those we describe as colds or chills. The vocabulary which describes this, such as 'invasion of wind cold' or 'invasion of damp heat', is very much a part of colloquial Chinese vocabulary and accepted as an explanation for someone's illness.
As far as treatment is concerned there are protocols which have been used in China for over two thousand years. However, to our knowledge there has been little systematic research of their efficacy, partly because of the short term nature of the condition and also partly because most acupuncture research is western-medicine based, and there isn't a clear-cut enough named condition to meet the requirements of the randomised control trial.
As far as treatment for your daughter is concerned, acupuncture would certainly do no harm. Indeed, many children are treated with acupuncture and respond very well. There are two cautions, however. First, it is very important that acupuncture treatment is not substituted for any western medical or care your daughter is receiving unless it is with the knowledge and consent of her GP. Second, your daughter's age has a bearing on the treatment. A teenager will respond to treatment very much in the same way as an adult, and can be treated very much the same. Younger children tend to be more reactive, and also experience their illness in a slghtly different way. Although we do not yet recognise experts or specialisms in professional acupuncture a growing number of our members undertake postgraduate training in treating children, and it may be advisable to see someone who has had this training. That is not to say that any BAcC member cannot be effective, simply that it may be better if the person who treats your daughter has experience of treating children on a regular basis.
The best course of action is to ask a BAcC member local to you if someone has this experience and then seek their advice. We do not maintain a database of people specialising in treating specific groups, but our members are usually very aware of who locally provides this kind of service.    

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