October 31st : Acupuncture reduces crying in infants with infantile colic

Acupuncture in Medicine published a Swedish acupuncture study this month on a randomised controlled clinical study investigating whether acupuncture reduces the duration and intensity of crying in infants suffering from colic.  

In this study infants between 2-8 weeks were either given acupuncture, or received no acupuncture, forming the control group for the study.   On arriving at the clinic, the parents would hand the infant to a nurse, who then handed the baby to another nurse in a separate room.  This nurse would then hold the infant's hand speaking soothingly and, if assigned to the treatment group, would be administered acupuncture treatment for a duration of 2 seconds unilaterally at the point He Gu (Large Intestine 4 or LI4).  Both the parents and the first nurse who handled the baby therefore did not know whether the baby had received treatment or not.  

Acupuncture was offered twice a week for 3 weeks to infants in the treatment group.  Other than the treatment itself, all infants were handed in the same way by the nurse administering the treatment.  

Parents of the infants were asked to assess the level of 'fussing', 'crying' and 'colicky crying' using a validated diary form and this information was then pooled to assess how effective acupuncture was compared with the control group.

The results showed that there was a significant improvement favouring the acupuncture group when measuring the time until the infant stopped suffering from colic.  The duration of fussing was also lower in the acupuncture group for the first and second week of the study, as well as the duration of colicky crying in the second week. The total duration of fussing, crying and colicky crying was lower in the acupuncture group during the first and second week. 

A link to the full article with detailed methods, results and discussion can be found by clicking here.

Lily Lai