Anecdotal stories from my practice are interesting, and they really bring the point home (forgive the fun” that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine is an amazing medical system that can be used for so much more than pain syndromes.
Brian is a wonderful, polite, markedly intelligent 6 year-old boy. He struggled with pronouncing words that contained the letter “L”. For example, “light” became “night” and “life” sounded like “knife”. Brian went to a speech therapist, but his Dad wanted to support him in every way possible. A patient of mine for many years, Brain’s Dad had become accustomed to being surprised by the many applications of Oriental Medicine. He felt,
for various reasons, that there may be a physical cause for why Brain’s tongue could not quite make “L” sounds. While speech therapy was helpful, perhaps Brian could get better results with an East-West approach.
Just like when working with an adult, I took Brian’s full medical history and did an exam during his first visit. I often do not use acupuncture with kids, relying on acupressure and heat therapy instead. But Brian was intrigued. On his first visit he opted to try a few pediatric needles. When I do acupuncture with kids, I use a quick in-out style so that if there is any discomfort, the needle is gone by the time the sensation registers. We called the acupuncture points “mosquito bites”. Brian was very brave and received 5 mosquito bites on his first visit.
I called Brian’s dad later that night to see how Brian felt. Apparently, Brian was so excited, he was “running in place”! After our first visit, while walking to the car, Brian started saying, “life, life, life, life.” He was delighted to say “la, la, la” and “light” over the phone to me.
It was one of the most gratifying moments of my career.
Brian’s dad gently pressed prescribed acupressure points every night to enhance tongue flexibility and jaw alignment. The continuation of Brian’s treatment at home has been an important component of his success. Brain’s vocabulary now regularly includes words like “light” and “life” in addition to words that used to be tricky like “rock” and “right”. After seeing Brian a handful of times, I realized him from care, pending an evaluation by his speech therapist.
Months later, Brian’s dad told me that the speech therapist was very surprised by the gains Brian had made and saw no reason to continue speech therapy.
My work with children has evolved organically to meet the needs of my patients. For example, my doctoral specialization in Women’s Health and post doctoral work in Reproductive Medicine has engendered extensive experience working with pregnant women-which has lead to helping women during the postpartum period and eventually working with their children. Supporting families in this way is one of the great joys of my practice.