What sort of natural therapies are available for children?
What about homœopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, osteopathy, shiatsu, remedial massage, ear candling, reflexology and nutritional therapy?
All natural therapies are suitable for children. However there is less compliance with herbal medicines than with homœopathic medicines which are tasteless and are administered as drops or as pillules dissolved under the tongue. Children usually have difficulty swallowing tablets such as vitamin supplements so these can be given as flavoured chewable tablets or pleasantly flavoured liquids.
Treatments used for colds and flu:
The body has its own system to fight infection and will work quite effectively if given the chance. A healthy balance of bacteria in the gut is essential for good immunity as 70% of the body’s immunity is present in the gut. Substances which provide this healthy balance of bacteria include bifidus and acidophilus, and these will build up the body’s immune system and promote a quicker recovery from sore throats, colds and flu. The common cold is benign and self-limiting. It does not require antibiotics. Antibiotics prevent the natural development of the immune system and should only be administered for serious infections. However sore throats associated with colds may progress to more severe secondary streptococcal infections, so initial treatment with natural remedies is necessary to help prevent these developments.
Keeping warm, bed rest, warm baths, hot vegetable soups, hot lemon and Manuka honey, vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea will relieve symptoms. In addition, a vapouriser with some tea tree oil can be used or an inhalation of hot water and tea tree oil to clear the nasal passages and ease the breathing. Children have an average of six colds per year and each one lasts about a week but will be less severe if given the proper attention. Specific cell salts, also known as tissue salts, may be given at certain stages of the cold or flu to help relieve symptoms, as may homœopathic remedies such as allium cepa. There are very good immune remedies available from your naturopath for these times.
Treatments used for aches and pains:
Arnica cream for muscular pain, cell salts such as Mag Phos for cramps as well as adequate calcium and plenty of green vegetables. Flaxseed oil as well as flavinoids present in certain fruits and berries prevent the formation of inflammatory substances in the body which are responsible for causing pain. Turmeric added to a soup contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help to relieve pain. There are effective homœopathic and herbal remedies available for children’s headaches, ear-aches and tummy aches available from your naturopath, but if these should persist for more than 48 hours, further investigation is advised.
Cuts and Bruises
For minor cuts, keep the area dry and clean and apply a few drops of tea-tree oil to disinfect, then to assist healing, calendula cream may be applied. If the cut should become infected, a naturopath would be able to advise what to do. Arnica cream applied to bruises helps to bring out the bruise and clear it up faster.
A well-balanced, enjoyable, healthy dinner, containing no added sugar, is necessary to ensure a sound sleep, as sugary drinks and sweets are stimulating and promote wakefulness. There are various homoeopathic treatments and herbal mixes which can aid a restful sleep and these are completely safe for children and non-addictive. Computer games, horror movies and arguments are definitely not recommended before bed-time and the mobile phone is not a good bed companion.
Three balanced meals a day containing whole, organic foods, with no artificial additives or pesticides, are essential to maintain a stable blood sugar balance. This reduces the impulse to snack between meals. Additives and pesticides can induce allergies and hormone imbalances, with sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Sugary soft drinks raise insulin levels and this promotes fat production. Fresh filtered water and fruit should substitute for soft drinks. Adequate protein with lots of green vegetables is very important. Over-eating and snacking before bed-time also causes inappropriate weight gain Out-door activities should be encouraged and restrictions placed on TV and computer involvement.
When should a trained practitioner be consulted?
If the child develops a fever or a cut becomes infected or if the child is distressed or if the child is taking a longer than normal time to recover, or if in any doubt, a trained practitioner should be consulted. If a cut requires stitches or there are breathing difficulties or there is real concern over the child’s health, then the child should be taken to a medical centre.