Naturopathic care for children is ideal. One of the basic tenants of naturopathic medicine is Prevention. There is no better time to begin preventative medicine than in childhood. Children have a very strong "vital force", which means that in addition to having lots of energy, they tend to bounce back quickly from illness. Often times, all they need to overcome sickness is a "nudge" in the right direction.
This could be in the form of a simple home hydrotherapy treatment, a homeopathic remedy, a flower essence or a dietary change. Working with children is so rewarding for this reason: a little goes a long way. In addition to acute ailments which respond quickly to naturopathic therapies, working with children from a young age is effective in preventing future disease.
Prevention starts in childhood
Studies have shown that children with arterial plaque formations have a much higher incidence of heart disease as adults. Plaque deposits are formed from cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other minerals found in the blood. When blood cholesterol levels are elevated, there is a greater chance plaque will build up on the artery walls. In most people, this process begins when they are children or teenagers. Plaque formations can begin to adhere to the arteries in young children and steadily worsen as the kids get older. After many years the plaque can buildup to such a degree it leads to arteriosclerosis. Naturopathic physicians (ND's) work with children and their parents to understand healthy food choices and meal routines, and to develop plans that fit into the family's lifestyle.
Identifying the cause of illness
The health of a child is determined by a number of factors including genetics, diet, exercise, sleep, daily activities and stress level. In addition, many children have environmental or food allergies that may go undiagnosed. When a child becomes ill, his or her body is using its inherent healing ability to return to a place of balance. Some conventional therapies may help quickly resolve the current illness, but pave the way for more serious problems. For example, chronic otitis media (ear infection), has been treated for years with multiple doses of antibiotics. Conventional physicians are now realizing the error of this treatment, as it creates antibiotic resistance and is largely ineffective. In actuality, chronic ear infection may be a symptom of allergy, often to dairy. Stopping the dairy intake, along with other supportive naturopathic treatments will resolve the problem. By finding and treating the cause of illness, the child feels better, and future problems (with the same cause) are prevented.
Many of us accept that heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or other serious disease is inevitable. In actuality, most of these diseases are preventable, through simple lifestyle and diet changes, and through treatment of the root cause of disease. This is essential to naturopathic philosophy: to see each child as an individual. As parents, we know that no two children are the same. A naturopathic doctor gives each child individualized attention, recognizing their uniqueness. This is truly the gift naturopathic doctor gives to pediatric care. The time, attention and care given to each child leads to a healthy, vibrant child who grows into a healthy, vibrant adult.
Julie Brush, ND is available to see children and adults of all ages at 2BWell. She may be reached at 503-655-0044 or at Julie@2bwell.net.