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Home > Newsletters > September 2006 > Chinese Medicine for Pediatric Care

Chinese Medicine for Pediatric Care

By Mary Hunter Ellegood, L.Ac.

Any of our patients have come to believe that Chinese medicine has a place in their health regimen. But not all realize that Chinese medicine can be a valuable asset when addressing the medical needs of children. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) modalities frequently used with children include tuina bodywork, cupping, and moxibustion, as well as nutritional and herbal therapies. Conditions which can benefit from Chinese medicine include but are not limited to: teething pain, colic, headaches, frequent ear infections, childhood asthma, digestive disorders, failure to thrive, allergies, sleep disorders, eczema, common cold and flu, attention deficit, hyperactivity and more.

There are two very unique considerations when assessing the condition of children. The rapid growth and development of children, and especially infants, can lead to a hyperactivity of yang energy, a kind of metabolic fire, and a weak relationship between the yin and yang energies of the body. This is one reason that children are quick to run a fever and why high fevers are more common in children than adults. This is also one reason that a sick child's condition will worsen at night, and why restless sleep is common during illness or spurts of developmental change. Additionally, because of the hyperactivity of yang energy, some children become susceptible to attention deficit and hyperactive disorders.

Secondly, children's digestion, a function of the spleen/stomach, is inherently weak until the age of 5 or 6. This weak digestion can result in a deficiency of the vital energies of the body, or can lead to an accumulation of food matter in the stomach and intestines. Deficiency can lead to weakened immune response, while food stagnation leads to an accumulation of dampness and heat which can present itself as colicky stomach pain, ear infection, asthma and more. This is so common that some practitioners feel this "indigestion" is the key to all childhood illnesses. Ironically, antibiotic use weakens the spleen and further inhibits the digestion of food and the production of qi and blood. This is why many parents have experienced the frustration of recurrent illness with recurrent antibiotic use. The after effects of antibiotic use have begun to be known in Chinese medicine as "Post-antibiotic Spleen Deficiency Syndrome." Chinese medicine can be used to avoid the use of antibiotics, or to leave antibiotics as a last resort.

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This Month's Articles

September 2006
Volume 4, Number 9

Chinese Medicine for Pediatric Care

Traditional Chinese Medicine For Diabetes Has Scientific Backing

National Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day Aims to Educate Consumers about Benefits of Using Certified Practitioners

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