The Hub of Paediatric Acupuncture (HOPA)

What to expect?

What to expect from a well-qualified paediatric acupuncturist:


you and your child will be listened to, so that the practitioner can understand them as a person as well as their illness.

+ Collaboration ​

a willingness to work alongside and communicate with other healthcare professionals involved in your child’s treatment.​

+ child-centred approach

an understanding that in order to fully benefit from treatment, your child needs to feel safe and relaxed during their sessions

+ Communication

a willingness to communicate with you about your child, their condition and their treatment

What happens at a paediatric acupuncture appointment?


An acupuncturist will have two main aims during the initial session with you and your child.  The first is to put your child at ease and establish rapport with them.  The second is to make a Chinese medicine diagnosis of your child’s condition

An acupuncturist will ask you (and your child, depending on their age) questions about their current health and health history.  As they do this, they will be observing many signs that, in Chinese medicine, have relevance to health, for example, your child’s eyes, the tone of their voice, their complexion and their stature.

The acupuncturist will also ask to look at your child’s tongue and take their pulse.  They may also palpate their abdomen and back.


A paediatric acupuncturist will be aware that, for many children, coming to their first appointment can be something that they are nervous about.  They will therefore make it a priority to help your child feel safe and relaxed.  They will spend some time asking your child, in an age appropriate way, about their hobbies, their pets, home life and school life.  As well as helping your child to relax, it also informs their diagnosis.  Your child’s symptoms do not occur in isolation and should always be understood in the context of your child as a whole person.


A paediatric acupuncturist will explain to your child before each step of the treatment what they would like to do.  There are many ways the practitioner will be able to deliver your child’s treatment, either with or without using acupuncture needles.  At each session, the practitioner will reassess your child’s condition and find a treatment method that balances the need for efficacy with making it a pleasant experience for your child.


Every child who comes for treatment needs a slightly different approach and a different method of treatment.  Your child’s practitioner will tailor everything to suit the nature and needs of your child as far as possible. Treatment needs to be effective but your child’s experience also needs to be a positive one.


If your child chooses to have needles, a paediatric acupuncturist will use a ‘child-friendly’ needle technique, which is an almost pain free method of inserting acupuncture needles. There are some other differences in the way children are treated with acupuncture compared to adults: 

+ Very few are used.  Depending on your child’s age and condition, anywhere between 2 and 6 needles might be used per session.

+ The needles are incredibly fine.  Acupuncture needles used in the treatment of children are even finer than those used in the treatment of adults. 

+ Acupuncture needles are inserted and withdrawn immediately so the child does not need to stay still for any length of time.