Two years ago the Children’s Hospital in Boston started a treatment programme for child migraine sufferers. At the end of the programme, of the children who had received acupuncture treatments, 70 per cent of them stated that their migraine intensity levels were reduced.

When parents were asked to confirm, 55 per cent agreed that their children did indeed reap the benefits from acupuncture treatments. Out of all the kids in the study, only one said that their symptoms got worse by undergoing acupuncture.

Another study, also done at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, focused on acupuncture treatment on children between the ages of 6 months to 18 years. These kids were sufferers of headaches, back pain, stomach problems, and other common childhood complaints. At the beginning of the study the patients ranked their pain as an eight upon ten. At the end of the year, the average pain rating plummeted to three. The children were also sleeping better and attending school more often.

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice where very fine needles are inserted into the skin of the patients in order to restore the Qi (energy) and ultimately help to relieve pain and treat diseases, is common amongst Singaporean adults. But is it suitable for children?

Acupuncture and your child

According to Huaxia Acupuncture & Chinese Medical Centre, and 2M Chinese Physican, yes. Both centres say that Acupuncture can be done on children as young as infants, as long as they are able to take the discomfort of the needles. Usually massaging, before injecting the needles, is advised for the younger age group.

Acupuncture can be used to treat childhood illnesses, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eczema, asthma, depression, and upset stomachs in kids. It can also help with bedwetting. Depending on the condition, the specifics of the treatment (frequency, dosage, strength) needed may vary. Conditions such as simple diarrhea or fever can be treated with one possibly two treatments, while an eating disorder may take up to or more than 10 total sessions. If more than 10 sessions are needed a slight break between sessions will take place, then back to more treatments. Children’s sessions at both centres usually last for between 30-45 minutes.

A Doctor’s Perspective on Adult ADHD

Untreated attention-deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD) can be devastating for adults as well as children. Up to 60% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood. It is estimated that 4% of the adult population has ADHD, mostly untreated. As a physician specializing in both ADHD and addiction medicine, I have seen how adult patients with attention deficit issues are many times more likely to have substance abuse problems, such as addiction to prescription drugs and/or alcoholism. ADHD sufferers develop addiction problems earlier and have more difficulty overcoming their addictions than those without this condition. In addition, I have seen the financial and personal chaos that ADHD can create. There are effective treatments for Adult ADHD including medications that are specifically FDA approved for use in adults. These include stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate as well as non-stimulants, such as amoxetine. In my practice,I find that over 90% of patients will improve with a stimulant. Some patients will respond better to one class of stimulants(ie, amphetamines) than another so there is a bit of trial and error involved in prescribing. Some patients are nervous about taking stimulants, fearing insomnia or feeling jittery. Fortunately, these symptoms usually improve after a few days. If not, the dosage can be reduced or a different type of stimulant can be tried. A non-stimulant medication can also be used, although in general, stimulants are more effective for most people. It is important for the doctor to obtain a good health history and make sure that it is safe to give stimulants since they can cause serious problems in patients with underlying heart problems. Occasionally patients will ask if they can get addicted to stimulants. The answer is that stimulant use almost never results in addiction in ADHD patients as long as they are taken as prescribed. Because the underlying problem in ADHD involves a deficiency of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine, in the synaptic cleft between neurons in the brain, medications are the foundation of treating ADHD. Although ADHD coaching and counseling usually helps, I rarely see any significant improvement without the use of medications. When the most right type of medication and dosage is determined, the results are dramatic. Patients can pay attention easier, think more clearly and make better decisions.

I am often asked about complementary or alternative treatments for ADHD.

Most of the scientific studies exploring this subject have examined effects on children rather than adults, but I would expect the effects on adults would be similar.

There is one large randomized controlled study in 2009 finding a significant benefit of neurofeedback for children with ADHD. (The goal of neurofeedback is to teach individuals to be able to control certain brain wave patterns and increase brain activity associated with good attention states. Specifically, patients learn to reduce activity in the theta band of the electroencephalogram (EEG) (4-8 Hz) and to increase activity in the beta band (13-20 Hz).)

In the 2009 study, the effect was found to be “moderate”. There were some methodological issues with this study as well as with other past studies of neurofeedback to treat ADHD and government sponsored research into this area is ongoing. After examining the existing research and visiting a renowned neurofeedback clinic in Israel in November, I believe neurofeedback to be an effective treatment for both childhood and adult ADHD.

The following treatments have not been scientifically shown to be helpful for ADHD: acupuncture, zinc/magnesium/iron supplements, polyunsaturated fatty acids (including fish oil), Ginko Bilobum, and St. Johns Wort. Elimination diets are generally not helpful. However, I strongly believe that eliminating monosodium glutamate and other glutamates from foods (ie, natural flavor, natural flavoring, malted barley, hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract, etc.) in individuals sensitive to these chemicals helps can help ADHD symptoms tremendously.

ADHD Natural Treatment – Acupressure

Most cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are handled by giving prescription medications. But did you know that ADHD and other developmental behaviors are often caused by poor nutrition and slow blood circulation to the brain? For many children who haven’t benefited from medication, natural treatments like diet modifications and special therapies have been helpful in overcoming the disorder and leading a normal life.

Acupressure from Chinese medicine is a widely-used therapeutic approach to treating ADHD, but the pharmaceutical companies that back Western medicine prevent this practice from getting the media attention it deserves. According to the philosophy behind Chinese medicine, every person has a spirit that lives in the heart. When a child’s spirit becomes overactive and restless, the heart becomes overheated and the child experiences inattention, uncontrollable behavior, and irresistible impulses. In order to treat ADHD, certain pressure points in the body need to be massaged or stimulated to cool the heart and calm the spirit. The practice of activating pressure points is called acupressure, and it aims to treat illnesses and chronic disorder by restoring balance in the body’s energy systems.

According to the philosophy that supports acupressure, our physical and mental well-being is determined by the harmonious flow of life-energy, or Chi, throughout our bodies. An individual becomes sick when certain things obstruct the flow of Chi. To treat the illness, an acupressurist uses the hands, elbows, and other objects to apply pressure to relevant pressure points of the body. By activating pressure points, balance in the body’s energy paths is restored, and Chi can flow steadily throughout the body. Acupuncture is based on these principles as well, but the difference is that the practitioner uses needles instead of physical pressure. Since needles might seem threatening to children, acupressure is a preferred treatment for ADHD.

A particular acupressure method that is effective for ADHD children is the use of ear magnet seeds or acupressure beads. An acupressure bead is a round metallic object coated with gold and applied to the surface of the ear in order to make Chi flow. Children with ADHD respond favorably after seven days of placing the beads, and continue to show noticeable improvements in the following weeks.

Of course, acupressure alone cannot treat ADHD, but it is an effective, harmless supplement to a comprehensive treatment program. Acupressure is practiced by over 2,000 licensed medical doctors who use alternative medicine together with Western medical modes. The growing success and popularity of Chinese medicine in the Western world has made insurance companies flexible about covering sessions with an acupressurist. To locate a specialist near you, contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture or ask for referrals from friends.

Alternative Medicine For ADHD – Which One is Best For Your Child?

When we say alternative medicine for ADHD, we would be referring to a variety of alternative treatments for the disorder. There are many alternative treatments from which we can choose from. There is the behavioral therapy, diet therapy, bach flower remedies, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and virtually many other alternative methods.

With the different and varied alternative medicines available, it may have come into your mind which of them is the best for your ADHD child. In this article, we will tackle two of the ADHD alternative medicines – homeopathic remedies and diet therapy – and we will give a brief insight on each of them to give you an idea of what each can do to an ADHD patient.

The most controversial among the alternative treatments for ADHD is perhaps the homeopathic remedies.  For quite sometime now, there has been a long-time debate regarding the benefits of homeopathy to ADHD. Doctors and other professionals who work in medical establishments have taken a negative stand on the issue of homeopathy for ADHD probably because of the fact that it employs natural ingredients that are diluted much in water and may no longer contain the natural elements that can address the problem of the disorder. Nonetheless, some clinical and laboratory tests have shown that some homeopathic remedies indeed provide positive improvements to several ADHD patients. The homeopathic ingredients that were found to be most effective in these studies are Cina, Stramonium, and Hyoscyamus niger.

Now, you may wonder again which of these three homeopathic treatments may be best for your child. Let us take a quick look at each of these homeopathic ingredients.

Cina, also known as octopus cactus, is a type of cactus that can be found in Mexico. This has been used to treat a variety of disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is usually given to individuals who constantly show signs of physical aggression. This ADHD alternative medicine has been found to be highly effective in some ADHD patients.

Stramonium may be best for ADHD children who are irritable and constantly experience mood swings. It is also said to have positive benefits to children who have post-traumatic stress syndrome and those who have irrational fears.

Meanwhile, Hyoscyamus niger is an alternative medicine for ADHD which may be good for ADHD children who have difficulty paying attention, are impulsive and cannot control their disruptive behavior, and those who tend to be uncontrollable.

Aside from homeopathy for ADHD, diet therapy is also one alternative treatment which may do well for your ADHD child. The concept of this alternative medicine for ADHD is derived from the belief that ADHD symptoms may be caused by the diet. Under this therapy, ADHD patients are advised not to eat foods which contain high levels of sugar as it is believed that sugar can aggravate ADHD symptoms. It is also advised to give ADHD patients foods which are rich in omega 3 and other essential fatty acids.

It may be hard to determine which alternative medicine is best for your ADHD patient. Like prescription drugs, these alternative medicines may also not work for some ADHD patients while some may gain many benefits from them. However, it may be worth trying to give your child alternative medication. By trying each alternative medicine, you may just come across one that will work perfectly for your child.

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