Acupuncture may help babies who cry too much, according to a new study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine. Infants with colic—crying for more than three hours a day, for at least three days a week—had fewer symptoms after getting the traditional Chinese needling technique compared to the standard treatment.
Most human acupuncture research has been in adults, and studies have linked the practice with reduced pain, improved gastrointestinal function and increased calm. To find out if it might help with excessive crying in infants, researchers recruited 147 healthy babies between two and eight weeks old who had all been diagnosed with colic.
The babies and their families were assigned to one of three groups, and they visited a child health center twice weekly for two weeks. Parents in all three groups spoke with a nurse about their child’s symptoms, and two of the groups also received acupuncture.
Some patients were given standard minimal acupuncture at LI4, a spot on the hand between index finger and thumb, for 2 to 5 seconds. The second group received acupuncture at up to five locations on the hands and legs, for up to 30 seconds with mild stimulation.