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CARE

Holistic care for kids: treat the child, not the symptom

When a child has an ear infection, a dose of antibiotics is seen as a quick, easy way to relieve symptoms and "cure" the ear infection. As an integrative medicine provider, I see it only as a piece of the puzzle. The goal of holistic, or integrative, medicine is to find ways to make children's bodies stronger, so they won't get sick again, or if they do get sick, so they can bounce back faster. 

So what does that mean?
Holistic care addresses the whole child instead of just the infection. For example, if I see your child for an ear infection, I might ask you questions about your child's living environment and other health conditions, such as if there is smoke exposure in the home, if he or she attends day care and if your child has any possible food sensitivities or allergies. All these can factor into treatment options and recommendations. 

For an ear infection, holistic care might also mean I would add a probiotic along with the antibiotic to help with digestive issues that can be a side effect of treatment. Simple, low-cost natural remedies can complement traditional medicine. Integrative medicine providers can offer suggestions on natural, easy to find remedies that have few or no side effects, and have helped other people in similar situations.

The mind-body connection
The mind can have a direct impact on health and symptoms. For example, your first-grader has far less to do with the tummy and is more about how the mind and body are interacting. If your child is feeling nervous about a school project or is having difficulties with classmates, this can manifest into physical ailments.

By helping your kids understand the mind-body connection, you can help them understand how the mind can impact their health and what they can do about it. Something as simple as teaching your children how to use their breathing to calm down may give them a tool to reduce the impact of stress and its known health effects, which can benefit them their entire life.

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