Interview - Acupuncturist for babies, children and pregnant women (Camille Brouillet) October 2016

One professional, one path, many tips

 

What is acupuncture for babies and children? Is it different from acupuncture for adults?

The philosophy of acupuncture is that each person holds the resources needed to get better, to evolve and change. This philosophy and the practice of acupuncture for babies and children are pretty much the same as for adults. The main difference is the atmosphere, which has to be calmer, more soothing and somewhat fun for toddlers. For example, I have little puppets who prick the child while playing. Also, the needles that I use are designed for children; they are very thin and stick on the child's skin with stickers. The child can therefore continue to play even during the treatment. When these needles are put in place, it feels like a little pinch that lasts a split second. My goal is that the child associates my treatments to something pleasant.

Also, I adapt my treatment to the child. If the child or their parents are afraid of needles, for example, I can use magnets or massages. Similarly, if the child is not in the right mood to receive treatment upon arrival in my office, after 10 minutes, I can stop the treatment and choose another date at no additional cost to parents.

Another important point in acupuncture for babies and children is to reassure parents so they are able to support and help their child. I can provide a lot of advice, especially on the child's diet, the care to provide them with: the right moves during a massage and the right pressure points to make them breath, to calm them down, etc. I give them their magnets and explain how to use them. They then become more autonomous with regard to helping their child. When parents leave my office, they have the tools they need to help their child get better and that is reassuring for many.

 

What does this method do to help babies and children? What problems can acupuncture solve for my child?

Many problems can be solved through acupuncture. Indeed, it helps with resumption of normal blood flow in children, restores the child’s energy, relieves many symptoms, prevents complications of diseases and promotes faster healing. Acupuncture is totally complementary of modern medicine medical treatments.

The most common problems treated by acupuncture are: colic, reflux, ear infections, colds, a weak immune system, asthma, allergies, eczema, sleep disorders, digestive disorders, anxiety and stress, lack of concentration, restlessness, various pains, enuresis (bedwetting).

When parents have doubts, I often tell them to call me to see if acupuncture can be effective for their problem. If I cannot help, I will direct them to the person who can.

 

Can acupuncture help if my child has difficulty sleeping?

Absolutely. Acupuncture can be very effective for sleep problems. Insomnia in children is more multifactorial than in adults. I will therefore ask a lot of questions to the parents to find possible causes: how is the child in general? Does he eat a lot of sugar? Does the breastfeeding mother eat a lot of sugar? Is the mother tired? Does the child seem stressed?

Then, based on the answers, I will show parents how to massage their child to calm him or her. Insomnia is often caused by a disorder of the nervous system, so I'll give them magnets to place on different parts of their child’s body.

 

When do you recommend seeing an acupuncturist for a child?

Acupuncture can have a preventive action following the birth of the child. Some parents come to me because they have a family history of fragile health. In these cases, I can strengthen the immune system of a child.

Otherwise, at the onset of symptoms, parents can call me for advice and, if necessary, I will recommend an acupuncture session. You should know that there is no age to visit an acupuncturist.

 

How often, in average, should acupuncture sessions be held with a baby or a child?

The number of treatments depends on the seriousness of the disease, its evolution, its duration and the state of the child. For example, if the child is generally in good health, after a first meeting, about 80% of the symptoms will be gone. On the other hand, if he has asthma, 3 to 5 sessions will be needed. It is easier to restore the energy in a child than in an adult because the latter has already endured several problems for a long time.

If the child consults early in his illness, fewer treatments will be needed. Also, empowering the parents allows them to solve their child's problems from the start and therefore reduces the number of treatments needed, if any.

 

What is a typical session like with a baby or a child?

First, when the child arrives, I welcome him or her with my little puppet, with my toys. I make sure an enjoyable and pleasant ambience reigns to make him or her feel calmer. This welcoming phase is in itself part of the healing process of the child.

Then, I will reassure parents because when they are calm, they can calm their child. They can ask all their questions. I show them breathing exercises.

After that, I will observe the symptoms and find out about the child’s medical history, his or her general health, and examine the skin, eyes, breathing and even tongue! Indeed, in Chinese medicine, the tongue can teach us a lot about the general condition of other internal organs.

Finally, I will give the treatment using needles, which are held in place with a sticker, magnets or other methods to stimulate acupuncture points: acupressure, massage (Tuina) with essential oils, heat (moxa). That will depend on the child, on the parents and on circumstances. A session lasts about 50 minutes.

 

How can acupuncture also help pregnant women?

Acupuncture can help pregnant women to relieve the ailments of pregnancy: nausea and vomiting, constipation, blood circulation disorders, swelling and heavy legs, lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain, abdominal pain and pelvic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy anxiety. It also helps to prevent early labour and can treat oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid).

Most importantly, acupuncture helps avoid caesareans by changing the position of the baby if he or she is in breech position, ideally between the 30th and 34th week of pregnancy. It works in about 80% of cases. The doctors I work with automatically send me their patients who are in this situation.

For a pregnant woman, some pressure points and movements need to be avoided in order not to induce labour. Apart from that, the treatment is very much like what we would do with an adult in general.

Acupuncture also helps to prepare for childbirth and can contribute to the induction of labour after term by relaxing the cervix and perineum and by stimulating contractions. There are also acupuncturists associations that accompany parents on the day of the birth, at the hospital, and perform a treatment to facilitate childbirth and relieve the mother’s pain. For example, the AAGA (Acupuncteurs Associés en Grossesse et Accouchement) in Quebec and the Acumamas in Vancouver offer this service.

Finally, after childbirth, acupuncture can treat postpartum depression and the baby blues, it reduces recovery time from possible childbirth ailments (oedema, episiotomy, haemorrhoids) and it helps with difficulties to breastfeed (too much or not enough milk, breast pain).

 

How much does an acupuncture session cost, on average?

For an adult, the first session is $80 and $70 for the following. For children, it's $60 for the first session and $50 afterwards. The first sessions always last longer, because a lot of questions need to be answered and we want to ensure the greatest possible advice for the patient to become as independent as possible.

 

What training did you follow to practice acupuncture for babies and children? Is there a special training to treat children?

 

I went to cégep Rosemont (mandatory in Quebec) to get my general training, then I took more advanced courses specifically for treating infants, children and pregnant women. I have studied, in particular, plants, massage and hypnosis. I studied all areas of expertise that would allow me to help people, whether it be regarding their subconscious or their health. My approach in helping people is very comprehensive.

 

How did you choose acupuncture?

Since I was little, I've always loved and had the desire to understand human behaviour, both physical and mental. I was attracted to the energy and vibration that a human can generate, so I started by following Jin Shen Do classes, a kind of massage that uses the acupuncture points as pressure points. I liked the approach of traditional Chinese medicine, and I continued my studies to become an acupuncturist.

 

What do you particularly like in your practice?

I enjoy many things in my profession. First, as I mentioned earlier, I’m very interested in everything related to overall health. I like to help others with their health, I like to give them advice. I would describe myself as someone who accompanies people in their development through the various changes needed to attain wellness. I also like to share my passions. It's very gratifying and inspiring to know that I can make a difference in the lives of others. I allow my patients to move quietly towards a state of ideal health.

 

What does the Mustela brand mean to you?

When I think of Mustela, I think of natural products (no alcohol, no paraben, etc.), of products that are right for sensitive skin and of a company with the desire to have the smallest possible impact on the environment. Now, these are crucial elements for babies, children and expectant mothers.

 

For more information about acupuncture for your child or if you are pregnant, visit: Camille Brouillet’s website at camillebrouillette.com or passeportsante.net or babycenter.ca

For information on acupuncture during delivery, visit leaaga.qc.com (Quebec) or acumamas.com (Vancouver)

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