Naturopaths often see a lot of chronic illnesses; that is conditions or diseases that are persistent or otherwise long-lasting in their effects. Most commonly, long-term sufferers of chronic illnesses have been treated by doctors or many specialists and whilst often with some benefit, there are often many side effects. Further, there are many doctors that do not look at the cause of a condition, disorder or disease, only the treatment of it; and often their treatment is a symptomatic relief or a masking the problem.
Naturopaths are trained to discover when you first started experiencing symptoms and what changed in your life at the time. For babies and toddlers this may be the trauma of birth, the introduction of solids, exposure to antibiotics or other medication and after receiving vaccinations.
Just to let you know, my wife is a Naturopath and this article was written by me and her so I sort of have a vested interest in you taking your child to see one, especially my wife.
Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hives and itchy skin are common in young children, especially when solids are introduced. Children with a family history of allergies, eczema, or asthma generally have a higher risk of food intolerances or other allergies. Food intolerances can be reversible through Naturopathic treatment and food allergies can be reduced to levels where the person can tolerate small amounts of the food with reduced or no symptoms at all.
For children, the main organ a Naturopath will treat is their liver. Because children’s livers are still developing, they have to work harder to break down and remove toxins, so when you introduce medications including prescribed antibiotics or over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers, they can add excess strain on the child’s organ.
It is becoming very common for children with any of the three main behavioural problems – oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – to be treated by Naturopaths. In many cases Naturopaths will discover that the child’s problem is caused by a food intolerance and that medication will offer some benefit with many side effects.
The medications that are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of adolescent behavioural disorders do not treat or look at the cause. This means the strain on the child’s organs is increased. There are many documented cases where changing the child’s diet and/or using alternative therapies and treatments has been more beneficial and has even reduced the symptoms to being non-existent.
Whilst many parents get their child vaccinated against epidemic and localised infectious diseases, little focus is placed on the child’s natural immune system. As children under the age of five cannot be vaccinated against influenza, building and maintaining a healthy immune system in a young child should see them avoid the flu as well as the common cold. For children with a strong immune system who still pick up these viruses; the symptoms should be reduced and not last as long as those with a weakened immune system.
When strengthening and maintaining a child’s healthy immune system, there are two opposing but equally important actions that a parent can apply;
- The elimination of foods that reduce the child’s healthy immune system
A major factor in the reduction of a child’s healthy immune system is when juice plays a large part in the child’s diet. Juice contains very high levels of fructose and fructose is a sugar. Fructose on its own, without the fibre of the fruit itself decreases the effects of the immune system to fight bacteria.
Sucrose more commonly known as milled or refined sugar – or just simply sugar – which is used in cooking and commonly found in the ingredients of many processed foods reduces the ability of the body to fight bacteria, and as a result children should avoid it as a regular item in their diet.
- The introduction of supplements that boost the child’s healthy immune system
Not only is eliminating foods from their diet important, parents should consider giving their child supplements to boost the child’s natural immune system. Whilst most parents would be familiar with vitamin C, multivitamins and fish oil – thanks to heavy advertising of these products – there are many other supplements to promote a stronger immunity; Echinacea, Vital Greens, Acidophilus to name a few.
Other disorders and diseases that Naturopaths can treat are digestive tract disorders such as reflux, colic or regurgitation in babies, weight problems for both overweight and underweight children, breastfeeding – although this is generally focused on the mother to help stimulate the production of milk, reduce her stress and eliminate dehydration.
And whilst they are not in the spectrum of disorders, psychological issues such as being overwhelmed, anxiety, irritability, insecurity, nervousness, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, depression, panic attacks, exhaustion, skin eruptions or rashes, insomnia, headaches and migraines are all becoming very common in young children. Naturopaths have many a varied solutions for symptoms pertaining to these problems as well as all the disorders, viruses and diseases previously mentioned.
So if you decide that seeing a Naturopath is the right thing for your child, remember that what they are trying to do is apply a long term solution to the problems rather than masking the symptoms with medication. And once a child falls into the vicious cycle of relying on medication which can often have side-effects, the cycle will be never ending as more medication may be introduced, all the while destroying your child’s natural immune system.
*It is important to note that Naturopaths will treat conditions, disorders, viruses and diseases but are not qualified to diagnose them.*
If you want more information please visit my wife’s website.