According to a 2012 national survey, nearly 12 percent of children and teens (about one in nine) in the United States are using some form of complementary health product or practice, such as chiropractic or spinal manipulation, yoga, meditation, or massage therapy. Mind and body practices include a variety of procedures and techniques done or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher to help improve health and well-being. Older children and teens can do some mind and body activities on their own (or with help from a parent or guardian), such as relaxation techniques and deep breathing. Mind and body practices are generally safe if used appropriately, but the number of studies looking at their safety specifically for children is limited.
Here are 7 things to know about common mind and body practices for children and teens.
- Biofeedback, guided imagery, mindfulness, and yoga are some of the mind and body practices that have the best evidence of being effective for children and are low-risk.
- Acupuncture appears to be safe for most children, but side effects can occur if it’s done by poorly trained practitioners.
- Massage therapy appears to have few risks when done by a trained practitioner. However, massage therapists need to take extra precautions with people who have certain health conditions, such as bleeding disorders.
- Relaxation techniques are generally safe for healthy people, including children. However, there have been rare reports that some relaxation techniques might cause or worsen symptoms in people with epilepsy or certain psychiatric conditions, or with a history of abuse or trauma.
- Spinal manipulation is usually safe for healthy people but is also associated with rare but serious complications.
- Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination recommendations to safeguard your child against vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccinating children helps protect our community’s and our children’s health.
- It’s important that you talk with your child’s health care provider about any complementary health approach that you’re using or considering for your child, and encourage your teenagers to do the same.