Objective: To investigate whether acupuncture reduces the duration and intensity of crying in infants with colic. Patients and methods 90 otherwise healthy infants, 2-8 weeks old, with infantile colic were randomised in this controlled blind study. 81 completed a structured programme consisting of six visits during 3 weeks to an acupuncture clinic in Sweden. Parents blinded to the allocation of their children met a blinded nurse. The infant was subsequently given to another nurse in a separate room, who handled all infants similarly except that infants allocated to receive acupuncture were given minimal, standardised acupuncture for 2 s in LI4.
Results: There was a difference (p=0.034) favouring the acupuncture group in the time which passed from inclusion until the infant no longer met the criteria for colic. The duration of fussing was lower in the acupuncture group the first (74 vs 129 min; p=0.029) and second week (71 vs 102 min; p=0.047) as well as the duration of colicky crying in the second intervention week (9 vs 13 min; p=0.046) was lower in the acupuncture group. The total duration of fussing, crying and colicky crying (TC) was lower in the acupuncture group during the first (193 vs 225 min; p=0.025) and the second intervention week (164 vs 188 min; p=0.016). The relative difference from baseline throughout the intervention weeks showed differences between groups for fussing in the first week (22 vs 6 min; p=0.028), for colicky crying in the second week (92 vs 73 min; p=0.041) and for TC in the second week (44 vs 29 min; p=0.024), demonstrating favour towards the acupuncture group.
Conclusions: Minimal acupuncture shortened the duration and reduced the intensity of crying in infants with colic. Further research using different acupuncture points, needle techniques and intervals between treatments is required.