Can Acupuncture Reduce Crying in Infants with Colic?

No serious adverse events reported in study of colicky infants
No serious adverse events reported in study of colicky infants

HealthDay News — Acupuncture may be an effective treatment option for infantile colic, according to a study published online January 16 in Acupuncture in Medicine.

Kajsa Landgren, PhD, and Inger Hallström, RN, of Lund University in Sweden, randomly assigned 147 infants with colic between 2 and 8 weeks old to one of three groups of 49 babies each. One group received minimal acupuncture, which consisted of a single needle at one acupuncture point for two to five seconds. A second group was given tailored acupuncture at a maximum of five acupuncture points for up to 30 seconds with mild electric stimulation. The third group had no acupuncture. After treatment, parents kept a detailed diary of how often and how long their infant cried. 

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In all, 144 babies completed the two-week trial. The amount of excessive crying dropped in all groups, which was not unexpected, the researchers said. But the reduction in crying was greater among infants who received acupuncture than those who didn't. After two weeks, among those who received minimal acupuncture, 16 babies still had colic. Of those who received tailored acupuncture, 21 were still crying. But 31 of those not given acupuncture were still colicky, the researchers found. Parents continued to chart crying bouts for six days after the final clinic visit, and the differences between the three groups remained.

The infants seemed to tolerate the acupuncture fairly well, the investigators found. Out of 388 treatments, the infants didn't cry at all during 200 of them, and cried for less than a minute during 157 treatments. Only 31 treatments triggered a crying jag of more than one minute.

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