Every child experiencing bedwetting that I have ever worked with has had one dream: to be able to have sleepovers with their friends.
But the extent of bedwetting (enuresis) goes way beyond just not being able to sleep at a friend’s house, or having to change the bed sheets each night. Many parents express feelings of shame, embarrassment, and worry about their children having anxiety and low self-esteem. In many cases, this can also affect the child’s social life and school performance.
From the perspective of Chinese medicine diagnosis, most of the children suffering from bedwetting have some variation of a kidney deficiency or weakness. This type of pattern is common in children who may have developmental problems that can range from very mild to severe, may have dark circles under the eyes, tend to have a weak constitution, and even experience deep fears and anxiety. However, each individual child is different and the root cause of their bedwetting will be assessed at the first session.
Bedwetting is a disorder that can be treated successfully with acupuncture, and this treatment can help a child have a dry night’s sleep after as few as three to five sessions. In some cases it might take longer, but I have also seen how one single session can offer dramatic changes that allow the child to stay dry at night.
Children and needles may not seem like a good combination, therefore many parents would not even consider acupuncture as a way of helping their child to resolve enuresis. However, I have found that many children actually enjoy getting acupuncture, and on the rare occasion when a child is still wary of letting me put needles in them (even though acupuncture needles are very thin), there are also non-needle tools that I can use in my clinic.
When I use needles on younger children, I make them feel as comfortable as possible. I call the needles “butterfly kisses,” because the finger I use to tap the needle in has a big butterfly attached to it and it hides the needles from view. When I use non-needle techniques such as electroacupuncture, I call it the “tickle machine.”
Children are quick to heal and usually require fewer treatments than adults. Children are also naturally curious, and while they might feel some fear (usually the parents are more afraid than the child), they love exploring new things, being shown how things work, and being explained how acupuncture could help them.