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olistic Healthcare for Children
 


Allergies and Asthma in Children

© Randall Neustaedter OMD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Holistic Healthcare for Children by Randall Neustaedter OMD. View all columns in series

Low income level has also proven to be associated with childhood asthma. In a study undertaken by the Harlem Children’s Zone, more than 2,000 children were tested for asthma. All children under 13 who lived within a twenty-four-square block area of Central Harlem were tested, and 26 percent had evidence of asthma, five times the national average. Clearly, healthful nutrition is an important deterrent to the development of asthma in children.

The dramatic increase in childhood allergies and asthma has resulted in an equally alarming number of drug-dependent children. Parents have become dismayed at the inadequacies and dangers of conventional drug treatment for asthma. Most children with asthma are prescribed steroid inhalers with their attendant dangers of growth suppression and immune system depletion. Allergy drug recalls, deaths associated with asthma drugs, and the dire consequences of children on steroids have stimulated millions of parents to find alternatives. All of these drugs merely relieve symptoms for a few hours with no expectation of overall improvement. Effective conventional treatment for young children with allergies is virtually nonexistent.

The solution to allergic and asthmatic conditions lies in the realm of holistic medical care. Allergies can be significantly improved, and even cured, with holistic treatment. Homeopathic constitutional medicine is the most profound and direct way to stimulate a healing reaction and overcome immune system susceptibilities. Children’s immune mechanisms can also be strengthened using a combination of nutritional supplements and Chinese herbal treatment. Treating asthma with holistic approaches can be complex and needs to be carefully managed—children cannot stop their medications suddenly. A number of safe and effective herbal formulas exist that can control asthma in children and simultaneously strengthen the immune system to prevent further attacks. The Chinese Modular Solutions formulas Open Air, Deep Breath, and Chest Relief, all developed for pediatric use, are especially effective in managing asthma without drugs.

Nutritional support for asthma is especially important, including adequate supplies of vitamins A, C, D, and E, colostrum, magnesium, and an omega-3 supplement. Several important herbal formulations can also help bolster immunity in older children, especially those combinations that include the immune stimulating mushrooms (maitake, reishi, grifola, polyporus, tremella).

Other treatment methods that can improve lung function and create a healthy balance in the body for energy to flow properly include acupuncture, and chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation.

Finally, the emotional and energetic component of asthma treatment should not be neglected. The field of psycho-neuro-immunology has revealed the important connection between emotions and the immune system. Self-regulation techniques that develop a relaxation state include guided imagery, biofeedback, and simple deep abdominal breathing. These methods can help prevent asthma reactions. Children proficient in these skills can also relieve asthmatic symptoms when they occur. One of the primary mechanisms of asthma is the constriction of smooth muscle fibers that encircle the airway tubes. When the mind is calm, when skeletal muscles are relaxed, and when breathing is deep and regular, these muscles that constrict air flow will also relax and allow children to breathe more freely. Regular exercise, swimming, and dance training have also been shown to increase lung capacity and reduce asthma episodes.

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About The Author
Dr. Randal Neustaedter has practiced holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, as well as education director of the Holistic Pediatric Association www.hpakids.org, author of Child Health Guide and ...more
 
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