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In the field of naturopathic medicine it is widely acknowledged that children can be some of our most successful patients. They respond quickly to our natural yet gentle approaches and parents greatly appreciate our less invasive options. Naturopathic doctors thorough knowledge in nutrition allows us to educate parents on the dietary needs of their growing child and guide them with respect to supplementation. Childhood is such a vital time when the child is growing on both a physical and mental level, as naturopaths we have the tools to support them through this process. Allowing for a strong foundation to be built during these vital years will help raise healthy adults in the future.
Acute and chronic concerns and more
What most parents do not know is that a naturopathic doctor not only can assist with acute and chronic health concerns of your child but also complete their yearly physicals. We also give guidance to parents concerning food introduction, breast feeding, nutrition, first aid and behavioural concerns. From colic in a newborn to insomnia in an adolescent, naturopathic doctors are equipped to care for your children.
Naturopathic doctors treat a variety of pediatric conditions such as: ADHD, eczema, colic, asthma, allergies, bed wetting, sleep issues, anxiety, depression, acne, infections, migraines, developmental issues and much more.
Our primary focus is to understand and treat the root cause of presenting symptoms. When the underlying causes are addressed symptoms are eliminated not suppressed. A common example is eczema. A naturopath will look for the underlying cause of the eczema (perhaps it is a food allergy or poor digestion), hence treating the skin problem, its root. In contrast, if the eczema is suppressed by a corticosteroid cream, the same problem will manifest in a different way – most commonly asthma. Here are some basic tools naturopaths use to improve their young patients health.
Clinical Nutrition, Eat the Rainbow
You would never want to build a new home on an unstable foundation. The same goes for a child growing up on a poor diet. The vitamin and mineral requirements are different for a growing child compared to a grown adult. Naturopaths work with families to ensure proper nutrition, even with the pickiest of eaters.
Most conditions will improve greatly once the right diet is put into place. Remember that fruit and vegetables are important, with the more colours on a plate the better.
Probiotics – The Right Kind of Bug
Finding the right probiotic for your child is essential. Different ages will require different bacteria strains and dosages, so it is always best to talk to your health care provider.
The right probiotic is an important element with children with any digestive complaint, allergies (including asthma) and ADHD. An important rule of thumb is to buy your probiotic in the fridge at the store and keep it in the fridge at home. Out of the refrigerator probiotics will degrade at 4% a day making them less effective over time.
Herbal Teas, Better than Juice
Botanical medicine is the use of plants roots, leaves and stems to treat a wealth of health concerns. An infusion is when a plant is diffused in warm water and the medical properties are extracted, commonly known as a tea.
Teas are a terrific way to introduce gentle herbal medicine to your children and are a great substitute for sugary fruit juices. Depending on the health concerns presenting, herbal combinations can be consumed daily to improve a child’s health. Remember that teas should always be herbal and therefore lacking caffeine. Not all teas are safe for children so check with your naturopath if you are unsure. Here are a few great safe herbal teas that kids love: linden flower, lemonbalm, ginger and peppermint.
Homeopathy, Gentle Yet Powerful
Homeopathy is a naturopathic modality that works very effectively with children. This treatment uses minute doses of plants, minerals and animals in order to shift the body’s ability to heal itself. This gentle yet powerful therapy promotes self-healing and has long term results. The multitude of remedies also allows naturopaths to provide individualized care for each patient. Homeopathy can be used in almost any pediatric condition but has been shown especially useful in ADHD, autism, anxiety, nightmares and digestive concerns.
Angela Hunt BSc. ND is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Hamilton Ontario at Innova Health Clinic. She runs a general family practice that has special focus on the pediatric population. She treats a variety of health concerns and takes a team-based approach with families in order to build and balance the health of their children. You can connect with Angela on www.asknaturalhealth.ca/angela-hunt
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