Kids Receive Acupuncture for Ailments When Medicine's Not Enough

Holistic medicine used to treat conditions from allergies to depression in kids.

ByABC News via logo
April 4, 2009, 6:51 PM

April 5, 2009— -- Like many 14-month-old babies, Ashley Goldstein looks like an active, happy and healthy child. But until recently, she was fighting one infection after another, and struggling with athsma and allergies.

"Ashley's been on medication since she was 2 weeks old. She was on five different medications. I wasn't comfortable with all the medications; she's so young and her body wasn't fighting it off. I felt like there has to be another alternative." says Danielle Goldstein, 33, Ashley's mother.

So Danielle Goldstein started discussing alternative medicine with her husband Adam Goldstein, 31, as a treatment option for their child. After doing extensive research and talking with medical experts, Danielle decided to bring her baby in for treatment at the Whole Person Health Clinic in Stoughton, Mass.

Licensed acupuncturist Fae Kont Je-Gibbs has been treating Ashley regularly for the past two months. She uses a combination of natural oils, tiny touching needles and tuning forks associated with sound healing.

Gibbs gently prodded and poked Ashley for half an hour without piercing her skin. Ashley's mom says the baby is finally sleeping through the night. She's convinced these treatments have helped.

"It isn't concrete. It's not like a broken bone and you can say you set it, you fix it, it's done," Danielle Goldstein said. "You have to kind of believe in it and trust it and then wait for the concrete outcome."

Acupuncture is more of a medical art than a science, based on the idea that energy flows through the body through a series of known pressure points.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital recently used high tech magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain's response during acupuncture. They found a very interesting pattern of brain areas that are activated by acupuncture: a pattern similar to a brain at rest.

In other words, the brain's response to pain seems to be switched off during acupuncture.

But is this scientific proof that acupuncture actually works?

"I wouldn't quite say we're there yet. There's much more to be done," said Dr. Bruce Rosen, a Harvard-trained doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital.