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Non-insertive acupuncture beneficial for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Non-insertive acupuncture (NIA) could be a useful adjunctive treatment in newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), according to a research team from the USA. NAS is caused when pregnant women abuse narcotics. A variety of withdrawal symptoms are observed in babies with NAS, including prolonged crying, poor feeding habits, pain, gastrointestinal disturbances and inability to sleep. The NIA protocol consisted of the stimulation of seven standard acupuncture points on each infant. Pressure was applied to each point with a ‘teishin’ (a small metal rod with a rounded tip) or finger, for five to ten seconds. Points were used based on their impact on symptoms commonly exhibited in the withdrawal process: Baihui DU-20 (congestion and irritability), Yintang (M-HN-3) (congestion and relaxation), Hegu L.I.-4 (pain and congestion), Neiguan P-6 (pain and calming), Zusanli ST-36 (abdominal pain and digestion), Sanyinjiao SP-6 (digestive function and irritability) and Yongquan KID-1 (relaxation and cramping). A retrospective chart review was conducted to produce a case series of 54 newborns that had been diagnosed with NAS. A total of 92 NIA sessions were documented, ranging from one to six sessions per infant. Chart reviews reported that restless infants calmed down during NIA, babies slept through or fell asleep immediately following NIA and better feeding was noted following NIA. No adverse events were noted. (Non-Insertive Acupuncture and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A Case Series from an Inner City Safety Net Hospital. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012 Sep;1(4):48-52

Pain. 2008 Jul 15;137(2):405-12. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

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