Did you know that about 30% of children in Australia use holistic therapies of some form? Natural therapies is sought out for children either in lieu of medical treatments – for example using a homeopathic flu remedy instead of taking a pharmaceutical drug – or as an adjunct to medical treatment – for example taking probiotics after a bout of antibiotics. The most common conditions children use natural therapies for are common colds and flus, anxiety/stress, pain and ADHD. However, natural therapies can be used on children for so much more.
Children are not merely smaller versions of adults. Depending on their age, specific body systems are not yet fully developed (their digestive system, for example), and they tend to be a lot more sensitive than adults. As such, they not only require a different model to view their condition, but also much different doses, and sometimes therapies, to adults.
That being said, there are a number of treatments that are considered safe and effective for children, particularly when provided or informed by appropriately trained professionals. We absolutely, always, recommend the guidance of a trained natural healthcare provider when administering any form of natural treatment on your child.
Here are 10 natural therapies that can help children:
Yoga is in the top-5 most common holistic therapies for children. It’s becoming easier to find yoga classes designed for children or families with children, and most children enjoy the practice. About a third of kids with chronic pain name yoga as their top choice of holistic therapy. Studies have shown that yoga is generally considered a helpful practice for children and adolescents who are dealing with physical and emotional or behavioral problems, with few adverse effects.
Diet is another hugely common way we use natural treatments for children. Sometimes, things like skin conditions and digestive conditions can be cleared by a simple change in diet. Gut health is hugely important for basically all of children’s health and it’s the number one thing we look at when analysing any condition a child presents with. Generally, dietary changes, which may include eliminating processed foods, caffeine, or sugar and emphasizing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and healthy sources of protein, are health-supportive overall, and most parents report improved mood, sleep, and concentration when processed foods are limited or eliminated. You can find out more about your child’s gut here.
3. Guided Imagery
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, guided imagery can be a useful practice for youth of all ages, from very young to adolescent. It’s certainly one of most flexible therapies – it’s free and can be used anywhere at any time. Generally, it’s most commonly used to help manage stress and induce relaxation and could be worth trying with your child.
We use Toyohari acupuncture at the clinic on children and it’s a hugely effective and safe treatment for a huge range of children’s conditions, from digestive problems to sleeping problems to immune problems. It is gentle and non-invasive so there is no concern with your child not coping with the treatment. You can read more about it here.
5. Essential Oils
There are many essential oils out there which are wonderful for children. They are used to calm and balance children’s emotions, for example lavender oil, and certain oils can also be great in boosting immune systems. They can be diluted and rubbed directly onto a child’s skin for effect, or put in an oil burner at night by their bed as they are going to sleep. Not all oils and dosages are safe for children so please do take this into account when using oils on your children.
6. Homeopathy/Flower Essences
There are many homeopathic products for children which are a really good thing to have stocked in your home natural medicine cabinet. They can help with things like the common cold, stress and worry in children, low immunity and other conditions. We stock many homeopathic products for children in the clinic so ask one of our naturopaths which ones might help your child.
7. Nutritional Supplements
These should be considered only under the guidance of a natural health practitioner, but there are many nutrtional supplements recommended and safe for children. For example, taking probiotics – particularly after antibiotic use. Fermented cod liver oil to boost immune systems is another common and effective supplement. Nutritional supplements can be used on a wide array of children’s health problems.
8. Chinese Herbal Medicine
Similarly to nutritional supplements, Chinese herbal medicine can help a wide array of children’s health problems. Speak to one of our acupuncturists to find out more.
Massage is another hugely common natural therapy that is great for helping children with stress and anxiety, or pain conditions. Simple relaxing routines can be learned by parents and given to children at home (using essential oils here is also a wonderful wellbeing boost!), or professional massages are available for more specific and concentrated treatments.
10. Natural Home Remedies
Honey for coughs, massage techniques for colic — At Paddington Clinic we believe that while it’s true that Panadol and antibiotics can be a great help sometimes, it’s good to know when to use them and when to try something else first. When things happen like tummy aches, constipation, coughs, colds and flus, colic, ear infections, insomnia etc, it’s our passion to share our knowledge of the many other natural solutions out there instead of running to the chemist and reaching for drugs every time.