Over the past 100 years, modern medicine has experienced the most radical, mind-blowing and breath-taking evolutions, which only 100 years ago, would likely not have been even vaguely imaginable, let alone yearned for. Remember, it was only World War II, in the 1940s, which finally escalated the urgent global need for commercial volumes of antibiotics, to cure battlefield wound infections and pneumonia – which had been responsible for killing so many of the First World War’s 40+ Million casualties. One could say, it was only the 1950s and 1960s that marked the real beginning of Modern Medicine.
Today, if your child is premature, or they break a bone, or they have an anatomical abnormality, then modern paediatrics can potentially save your child’s life! Which we are all SO grateful for. Sadly, we can’t say the same about Chronic Disease. We have Big Pharm spewing out drug after drug (in the ongoing hunt for Royalty income) that only supress Symptoms, and never actually cure Disease. Consequently, we have full hospitals heaving with patients of coronary disease and fatal cancers, that medicine is utterly failing to heal.
Subsequently, desperately sick patients may reach out – often for the first time in their life – for CAMS (complementary and alternative medicines) with the dire hope they can provide an actual cure, and many times they do. But which CAM do you reach for?! It can feel all so, so confusing. With allopathic (mainstream) medicine, you go to the Hospital, and the Doctors tell you which drug you need from the plethora of their remedies. But with Vis medicatrix naturae (CAM) medicine, you have to take responsibility for deciding which treatment you need, from the plethora of available therapies. And that’s a friggin’ tough thing to do, especially when it involves the wellness of your Child!
Just like modern medicine, traditional medicine has also increased their effectiveness with modern technology. In fact, in our household these days, we refer to Ancient Traditional Medicines and the Modern Alternatives. And to put this into perspective, our children have now collectively lived for about 55 years, and have not yet needed a course of antibiotics to treat a secondary infection, ever – not because I am anti-antibiotics – but simply because naturopathic remedies are always our “first-cab-off-the-rank”, and hey presto, they’re cured! (Though it is a true blessing none of our children were born prematurely or with a congenital anomaly.)
In an effort to assist your “sifting-and-sorting” of therapeutic modalities, here is a brief summary of some Ideal Uses (extracted from my book “OH GROW UP…Toddlers to PreTeens Decoded”):
Acupuncture is part of a complete system of medicine and as such can assist with most health issues. To name a few: contagious diseases such as colds and influenza, nose and ear infections, phlegm, eczema, sleep difficulties, teething pain, digestive problems, chronic pain caused by headaches, arthritis, back pain, ulcers, menstrual cramps, muscle strain, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, asthma and addiction cravings. Acupuncture is a safe and effective method of treatment for children and babies, and as the needles are very fine and generally painless, children are usually happy to be treated.
For back and neck pain, RSI, stuttering/restricted breathing, balance, posture, mobility problems, phobias and depression, and to improve self-awareness, creativity, clarified objective thinking, sports or artistic prowess.
AROMATHERAPY (Essential oils)
There are too many ailments aromatherapy can be used for to list them all, but it can be especially great for arthritis, bronchitis, catarrh (thick phlegm), colds, constipation, urinary tract infections, dermatitis, diarrhoea, eczema, headaches, hives, flu, laryngitis, nausea, skin conditions, sinus and throat infections, tonsillitis, muscular tension and sprains/strains. It can also be used to stimulate digestion, give your immune system a boost, balance hormones and reduce stress, anxiety and fear.
Aromatherapists can create special blends customised for children to combat many issues, such as for clearing snuffles, aiding concentration, relieving anxiety, alleviating irritability, inducing sweet dreams and reducing tears to bring joy. Many wonderful aromatherapy self-help guidebooks are available.
AYURVEDA (Indian medicine)
Innumerable, including treating fever, diarrhea, boils, childhood diseases and diseases of the eyes, ears, nose and throat; detoxifications; and boosting the immune system.
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
Flower remedies are incredibly effective and wonderful to use with children. Some examples are: larch for lack of confidence in children who underrate their own capabilities; holly for children who are jealous or hostile, perhaps towards a younger sibling; mimulus for shy children, and those with fears or phobias related to a known cause such as animals or the dark; and clematis for children whose concentration is poor because they daydream a lot.
Perhaps the most famous of Bach’s combination preparations, Rescue Remedy is an essential for the first-aid box. It is immediately calming and emotionally stabilising, and is good for recovery from frights, shocks, tantrums, arguments, anxiety, irritability, nightmares or overtired sleeplessness.
BIOFEEDBACK and NEUROFEEDBACK
Biofeedback can assist with hypertension, migraine headaches and anxiety. Neurofeedback for ADHD involves down-training slow brain waves (such as theta) associated with spacing-out or inattention; and up-training beta waves associated with cognitive tasking and executive function.
There are a multitude of uses for cell salts, including the treatment of colic, headaches, diarrhoea, itching, fluid retention, colds, sinus problems, muscle twitching, mild fever, sore throats and so much more. Get yourself a cell salt first-aid kit! Definitely a great purchase for the household.
Integrated health and wellness; treatment of migraines, headaches, back pain, sluggish immune system, lethargy, insomnia, poor posture, reduced mobility, ADHD, asthma, recurrent childhood ear infections, respiratory infections, bed-wetting; enhancing sporting performance and more.
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY (CST)
In addition to increasing energy and resistance to disease, CST can help with a wide range of problems, including neck and back pain, digestive problems, fatigue and lethargy, insomnia and sleep difficulties, stress and tension, headaches and migraine, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, and pre- and post-surgery care. Encompassing mind, body and soul, CST can improve both emotional and physical ailments.
Daily supplements for overall health and well-being; specific therapeutic remedies for specific diseases; plus herbal teas, particularly for children, for example chamomile and lemon balm for calming and assisting digestion and peppermint for cooling and stimulating digestion.
HOMEOPATHY (Classical and first aid)
Innumerable. A huge number of conditions respond well to homeopathy, including ear infections, tonsillitis, bronchiolitis, bronchitis, chickenpox, colds, coughs, croup (barking cough), diarrhoea, glue ear, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, flu, measles, mumps, sore throats, thrush, vomiting, eczema, allergies, asthma, cradle cap, colic, diabetes, fevers, gastroenteritis, jaundice, vaccination reactions, hormone rash, nappy rash, teething, hyperactivity, antisocial behaviour, bedwetting, anxiety, irrational fears, timidity, low self-esteem, super tantrums, ADD, ADHD and more.
IRIDOLOGY AND SCLEROLOGY
Iridology and sclerology can be used to diagnose toxins, inflammation, inherent weaknesses, biochemical deficiencies and general health status, and can often be especially helpful with chronic and ‘undiagnosable’ disease or general unwellness. Many health-food stores have a resident or visiting iridologist who can assist with health maintenance.
Although somewhat the natural equivalent of a GP, naturopaths do not diagnose as such. Instead they look at the overall wellness of a person, rather than treating symptoms. My recommendation is that along with a family GP for diagnosing illness, you also have a naturopath for complementary and ancient medicines to promote wellness. Seeing a great naturopath for everyday health concerns and health maintenance can be an excellent family health investment. (Like medical doctors, some naturopaths go on to specialise in particular fields, such as allergies, infertility, pregnancy and childbirth.)
Treatment of back pain, neck pain, headaches, asthma, middle- ear infections, menstrual pain and respiratory infections; and disease prevention.
Multiple uses, including treating migraines, back pain, arthritis, sleep disorders, hormone disorders and digestive disorders. Reflexology can be very effective when used on babies for minor upsets such as reflux, colic and sleeplessness.
Reiki is primarily used for prompt stress reduction, pain relief and accelerated tissue healing. Reiki can also improve problem-solving abilities and enhance creativity. As reiki is simple to learn and easy to use on yourself, family, friends, animals and plants, it is a cost-effective and immediate way of gaining enhanced health, peace of mind and well-being. A deep state of relaxation occurs easily and with it physical, mental and emotional feelings of calmness, peace, optimism and energy renewal. Reiki is always done with the client fully clothed and is an excellent complementary therapy for cancer patients, pregnant moms, the elderly and babies, as it is non-invasive and physically non- stimulating.
Considered a preventative treatment, regular shiatsu sessions may alleviate stress, stimulating the body’s immune system in both adults and children. Shiatsu massage may be particularly helpful for children and teenagers who suffer from headaches, asthma, eczema and repeated ear infections, or have difficulty in concentrating. Best of all, Japanese modesty requires that you keep your clothes on!
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
TCM is particularly useful for long-term treatment of chronic conditions, cravings, and for general health and well-being. In China, TCM uses at least 500 herbs and more than 400 patented herbal remedies — not all are available internationally. For children, TCM’s soft and gentle tui na massage and herbs in low dosage can be especially helpful.