Complementary Medicine for Children
By David Gilbert dipAc, certC, MBRCP
Can Complementary Medicine Help My Family?
Yes it can! It can help your kids with health and emotional problems that doctors don’t seem to be helping. While it’s always important to take your kids to your GP, complementary treatment is very safe and gentle compared to prescribed drugs and surgery, and is so often all that kids need. For example, in my clinic I only use acupuncture to treat babies and infants when the gentler Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Tuina massage don’t help, which is rarely.
Can it help babies and infants?
Yes! For new born babies Cranial work is important to help babies recover from being born, which is often difficult. Most babies respond amazingly to cranial work in just a few treatments. Some of the common baby complaints are colic, feeding & digestion difficulties, sleep problems, developmental problems and distress. While you can bring your child at any age, the younger they are the fewer treatments they will need. Chinese medicine uses Tuina baby massage and acupuncture to great effect with complaints both simple and serious. Homeopathy is also highly effective in the treating of babies.
What about older kids?
For older kids all sorts of conditions can be helped by complementary medicine, from knocks and pains that don’t go away quickly to more serious and chronic diseases, like asthma, hay fever, recurrent infections, migraines, emotional issues and any issues that doctors don’t seem to be helping.
Which Complementary Therapies Will help my Kids
This will vary according to the problem. If you phone a practitioner, ask if they have treated this problem before and how successful they were. Cranio-Sacral Treatment is brilliant for babies, and will treat older children too. Acupuncture and acupressure is used on babies and children successfully for a wide range of medical conditions. Homeopathy is brilliant for children of all ages, while osteopathy and chiropractic are good for muscular-skeletal and developmental conditions. There are a whole variety of other therapies available, all of which could help your kids.
What happens when I go and see a Complementary Practitioner?
Usually you will be seen for an hour or so, and the practitioner will ask lots of questions then treat as well. If your child is being treated you will usually stay in the room throughout Treatment is generally pain free (even with acupuncture), extremely safe (especially compared to prescribed drugs and surgery) and the child will have as much control over the process as the parent wants. Many practitioners will also give dietary, lifestyle and exercise advice, which can often help a lot. For example, children with asthma can often be helped a lot by giving up or having less dairy produce.
How many times will I have to go?
This depends on age, what the problem is and how the child responds. Generally babies and infants need very few sessions, whereas older children may need more treatments. Some serious conditions may need treatment over a period of time. You can chat with your practitioner about this.
How much does it cost?
This will vary, but generally £40-£80 per hour. Often practitioners see children for shorter treatments, which costs less.
Can I phone and talk to someone?
If you’re not sure, phone an experienced practitioner for advice and guidance. Complementary practitioners are generally very happy to do this.