Acupunct Med 28:174-179 doi:10.1136/aim.2010.002394
  • Original papers

Acupuncture reduces crying in infants with infantile colic: a randomised, controlled, blind clinical study

Open Access
  1. Inger Hallström1
  1. 1Department of Health Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Roskilde Hospital, Roskilde, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kajsa Landgren, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Health Science, Lund University, Box 157, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden; Kajsa.Landgren{at}
  • Accepted 1 September 2010
  • Published Online First 18 October 2010


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.


  • Funding The authors thank Ekhagastiftelsen, Magn Bergvalls Stiftelse, General Maternity Hospital Foundation, Pampers and Baby Bag for funding.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Lund University, Research Ethics Committee (Dnr 583/2005).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

This paper is freely available online under the BMJ Journals unlocked scheme, see