Acupuncture, the ancient Chinese, holistic healing method, isn’t just for adults anymore. This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics deemed acupuncture safe for use with children. That is, if you can catch them and get them anywhere near a needle.

The Academy studied 60 years of research, including 37 studies on the use of needle acupuncture on children from birth to age 17, to find evidence of any side effects in kids. Researchers discovered only 279 adverse events from the procedure, with fewer than ten percent of those reactions being considered serious.

The report concluded that the practice was safe for kids, but only if the provider was chosen carefully, as most of the negative physical reactions had to do with substandard conditions, not the treatment itself. Jamie Starkey, an acupuncturist from the Cleveland Clinic said, “The take-home message is that it is absolutely safe in both the adult and pediatric world, but you have to go to somebody who is trained."

However, the report makes no determination as to the effectiveness of acupuncture, just that it’s safe. The study looked only at safety data, finding that most side effects are mild, and did not examine any results of the procedures over a period of time.

Even though doctors and researchers agree that it’s safe, we’re not sure you’ll have an easy time getting kids to sit still and be poked with needles. Not if flu shot season is any indication.

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