The Point of Well Being
Pediatric Acupuncture - treating common childhood ailments
Who better to reap the benefits of preventative medicine then those most pure - children. Children seem to gain large benefits from preventative medicine and when it comes to their reaction to Oriental Medicine, it's no different. Chinese Medicine has been treating children for centuries, and as it turns out Pediatrics is one of the medicines best specialties (since the Song Dynasty - 960-1279). Our children are so precious to us and watching them be sick is difficult as parents. Through the treatments of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine we can strengthen the child and decrease illness.Strengthening the Digestive System to Treat IllnessOriental medicine views the treatment of children to be extremely important, and when treating children the most important system to treat is usually the digestive system. A classic Chinese saying that expressed this is "xiao er pi bu zu" meaning, "Children's Spleen is often insufficient". The focus of the digestive system in Oriental medicine consists of the Spleen and Stomach systems. According to Chinese medical theory, children's spleens and stomachs up to the age of approximately six are inherently immature (because they are still developing). That means they do not function as efficiently as a healthy adult's does. Until then the digestive systems are weak and overworked, so it is not uncommon to see children complaining of various digestive upset from diarrhea to indigestion. In Chinese Medicine these complaints can be classified as an accumulation of food. Children's digestion is easily damaged by poor diets and an unnecessary use of antibiotics. When antibiotics are used they kill the "bad" bacteria which are possibly causing the illness. Antibiotics simultaneously kill the "good" bacteria (flora) found in your intestines. This "good" flora is necessary for a strong digestive system and a healthy immune system. Persistent antibiotic use can lead to children have poor digestive systems or a recurring illness.
What are some causes for disease/illness in children?There are several factors that can contribute to disease in any person and the same is true of children. In Oriental Medicine there are internal and external causes of disease. The external causes are linked to natural phenomenon that the Chinese observed to be true and the cause of illness. These external causes are wind, cold, dryness, heat, and dampness. When these factors are experienced in an excess amount then they may cause illness. They may also cause illness if the child has a weak constitution leaving them vulnerable to illness.Another common cause of disease is emotional factors, also known as the seven affects. Emotions are usually not a cause for illness in children, as they do not hold back from expressing their emotions. If children do go through emotional problems at home this can lead to illness and some examples of illness arising out of emotional disturbances are asthma, insomnia, urogenital disorders, and a number of mental illnesses.As I mentioned above, diet is large cause for illness in children. Some dietary problems that may cause illness are too little food, too much food, irregular feeding, unsuitable milk, early weaning, and food allergies. All of these factors contribute to illnesses, as the digestive system is inherently weak in children.
Common illness treated with Oriental medicine: ConstipationConstipation is seen frequently in children, as their digestive systems are delicate. If a baby does not have a bowel movement for one day this is considered constipation. If this continues this is more serious then the occasional missed day and treatment should be sot out. There are two main causes for constipation in children. The first is an accumulation and overeating, irregular eating, and eating raw indigestible foods can cause this. As this causes more of a strain on the spleen and stomach systems it leads to the common pattern of accumulation. Constipation can also be caused by a weak spleen and stomach. This weakness can be acquired by poor diet, prolonged digestive upset and recurrent illness. The accumulation disorders respond quicker to treatment, as the child's digestive system is still somewhat strong. The same cannot be said for a child affected by a weak digestive system. The treatment for this is longer as the practitioner needs to work on strengthening the child's digestive system.CoughParents know all to well the sound of their child coughing. A chronic cough can disturb the entire family. The child and parents are unable to sleep because the cough is keeping them up. Some of the diagnoses attributed to a cough are phlegm in the lungs, a weakness of the lungs are spleen, and a lingering illness. Seeing as we are speaking about the lungs when we speak about a cough it is not uncommon to see the lungs affected with this disease. Some of the factors that contribute to chronic coughs in children are eating phlegm-producing foods, unnecessary use of antibiotics, poor digestion, overtired, long term illness, and immunizations. When treating this illness acupuncture and herbal medicine are important but are not the only treatment. As with all childhood illnesses diet is as important as any other treatment.
Otitis Media Otitis Media is a very common illness in babies and children. Ear infections are no fun for the child as the pain is extremely uncomfortable, and the parents are scared that their child might become deaf due to the infection. It is for this reason that parents rush to bring their children to the doctor to receive antibiotics, and if the problem persists to have tubes placed in the ear. I am sure that parents will be happy to hear that there are other treatments that can help treat Otitis Media without the side effects of western medicine.Acute ear infections are usually attributed to a virus or bacteria affecting the ear. If the infection is caused by a virus western medicine has little to offer in the form of treatment, yet many times antibiotics are still prescribed. The treatment of otitis media with frequent doses of antibiotics can cause the pathogen to linger leading to chronic otitis media. Julian Scott, OMD says, "Alternatively the lingering pathogenic factor can be traced to an immunization, commonly the pertussis vaccine."Regardless of the cause Oriental medicine has a good tract record for treating both the acute and chronic variations. The acute otitis media is much easier to treat with the child experiencing relief quickly. For chronic otitis media the child will feel relief with the treatment however, continued treatment is necessary to make a long lasting effect.
Allergic Rhinitis Allergic Rhinitis, also known as allergies or hay fever, can cause seasonal problems for children. The good thing about this illness is that it hopefully only comes once a year, the negative is that it can be debilitating for children when it does come on. The symptoms of nasal congestion, discharge and irritation, sneezing, red and watery eyes and headache to name a few can cause great problems for children. Parents will be happy to know that Oriental Medicine can make a great impact on this problem. Aside from diet which we have discussed in the past illnesses, the lung, liver, and spleen can be the center of the problem. The liver is quite often affected and you can usually determine this by irritability and a red face. The best time to treat this is a month before the symptoms usually appear. You can always see a practitioner when the symptoms arise, but if you are interested in preventing the symptoms from arising then treatment before the symptoms appear is best.
Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Parents, teachers, friends, and family all suffer when children are hyperactive. Children can be very energetic, disruptive, rude and violent when they have this disorder. Hyperactivity has some clear diagnoses in Oriental Medicine, which is in contrast to western medicine. In conventional medicine there are few tools with which to help these children other than drugs, Oriental medicine makes large strides with acupuncture and herbal medicine. The four main causes for Hyperactivity are Heat, Phlegm Heat, Weakness in the digestive system (spleen), and kidney weakness. When treating these patterns length of treatment may vary but usually children need to be seen 10 to 30 times. It is also important to be prepared for the child's response to treatment. "Children may actually become a little wild and angry and yell during and after treatment." according to Deborah. This response will diminish with continued treatment. As usual it is also extremely important to change the child's diet. A reduction in sugar, food colorings, junk food and dairy is necessary, along with a reduction in television and video games...and much much more,
contact Deborah Capstick for additional information on how Acupuncture can help your child.