Alternative Medicine for Children

The words alternative medicine may bring to mind images of herbs, needles, chanting, and meditation. But actually, alternative medicine encompasses a wide array of treatments including: herbal remedies, meditation, etc.

Though there is no exact definition of it, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) includes "any healing practices that are not part of mainstream medicine." These ‘healing practices’ refer to procedures not widely taught in med schools or not usually used by doctors in hospitals.

However, the limits of alternative medicine are constantly expanding as more types of healing practices and care are accepted by doctors and/or requested by patients. Take hypnosis for instance. A couple of decades ago, it was considered nonsense. Now, it accepted as a helpful therapy in addition to traditional medicine.

Types of Alternative Care

In the US, The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the lead agency in charge of scientific research into CAM>

The NIH names four generally types of CAM care:

Mind-body medicine

This includes practices such as meditation, Tai Chi, prayer, music therapy, and like. These practices designed to enhance the mind’s ability to affect physical symptoms.

Biologically based practices

These include substances such as herbs, food, dietary supplements, and vitamins that are intended to help heal the body. Herbal remedies include vast assortment of plants that are used for nutrition or medication, and often come in the form of teas, capsules, and extracts. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these.

Manipulative and body-based practices

These practices involve "manipulation of body parts". It includes massage therapy and therapeutic touch, which "realign body parts" to help relieve symptoms. Examples of this are chiropractors. They work on affecting the nervous system by "adjusting" the spinal column.

Energy medicine

This area is based on the theory that some energy fields surround and go through the body. Some of the practices included are Reiki, qi gong, and therapeutic touch. It also includes therapies based on bioelectromagnetics, the theory that electrical currents in all living organisms produce magnetic fields that extend beyond the body.

Many practices, like Acupuncture for instance, overlap between each of these areas.

Can alternative meds help your child?

Some parents give their kids a cup of chamomile tea or ginger as a primary treatment for flu or nausea. Many alternative remedies can be helpful to child when used in addition to traditional care.

Before giving your child alternative therapies however, you should first consult with your doctor to make sure that it is safe for your child to take them, and will not conflict with any traditional care your child is receiving. Your doctor can also provide information about other treatment options, and maybe even recommend a reputable alternative care specialist.

Source: MSN Health