Are you interested in holistic health care or functional medicine but have some fears or concerns when it comes to using it for your kids?
Let’s look at the myths and fears around holistic health care.
First, I’ll explain what holistic medicine is NOT. It’s not an alternative to conventional medicine. It’s not a question of either/or. It’s a question of what is safe and what is most effective for the individual patient.
The popular definition of alternative medicine is “any practice that is not widely taught in medical schools or frequently used by doctors or in hospitals”. This definition of alternative medicine perpetuates the idea that pharmaceutical drugs and surgery is the accepted or “right” way and any other form of medicine should be considered alternative.
The word holistic is more relevant since it defines a complete form of health care that does not reject conventional medicine, but considers a comprehensive, individualized picture of health and uses safe, effective, most appropriate options for prevention and healing of the individual.
Holistic is typically defined as pertaining to body, mind and spirit. This means that all aspects of your child are considered, including feelings, behavior, toxic exposures, stress, diet, nutrition, genetics and environment. At its best, it involves looking at the whole child to determine underlying imbalances that might be affecting health.
Most of the common illnesses and chronic health problems that affect children respond best when addressed from a holistic point of view. However, the biggest fear that parents encounter in using holistic medicine is fear of the unknown. Will it be effective? What are the side effects? Will my child get worse if we don’t see an MD right away? Not knowing what treatments are safe or the proper dosages can create anxiety. And most parents don’t have the time to sort through it all on their own. These are all valid concerns and it’s vital to have the proper knowledge before proceeding.
Holistic medicine does not have to exclude conventional medicine. In fact, it’s best if you can find an MD or DO who is fully trained and experienced in both conventional medicine and holistic or functional medicine for babies and children. If you can’t find this type of doctor, you might find a medical doctor who is open to working with your holistic practitioners. Communication is important, especially if you’re using both pharmaceutical medicine and herbal medicine or supplements. You can also find naturopathic physicians (ND), Chinese medical doctors (OMD) and other licensed professionals that are knowledgeable and experienced in primary health care for children.
Functional medicine is an emerging model of holistic health care that you may want to consider.
What is Functional Medicine?
Mark Hyman MD, the Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, describes functional medicine as “the future of conventional medicine–available now.” Functional medicine practitioners identify and address the root causes of disease, and view the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.
Functional medicine is practiced by MD physicians, naturopathic physicians, nurse practitioners and other licensed practitioners. These doctors seek to find the causes of the illness and use a patient-centered, science-based approach to get a detailed understanding of genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors to create a personalized treatment plan.
In addition to functional medicine, there are other forms of holistic health care that seek to resolve the root cause and treat the whole person. Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathic, and chiropractic are safe and effective models of holistic health care.
YOU are Your Child’s #1 Holistic Health Care Provider
Parents are the main providers of holistic health care for kids. You know your child’s body, mind, and emotions better than anyone else. Many issues can be handled at home if you have the right knowledge.
What you will learn at Healthy Child goes way beyond resolving illness. You will learn how to keep your child exceptionally healthy to prevent future issues. We teach you to strengthen and support immunity and the entire body to stimulate your child’s natural health and wellness. Good health begins at home with high quality food and nutrition, a non-toxic environment, minimal stress and emotional nurturing. These are the primary building blocks of health.
Each child is unique, and kids can have complex issues. You may hear of a supplement, herb or treatment that has worked for another child, but this does not necessarily mean it will help your unique child. A diet of whole organic foods is essential, but the diet needs to be tailored to your child’s individual needs. Even healthy foods that are optimal for most kids might be problematic for your child.
The number one most important thing you can do for your child’s health and well-being is to provide an environment where your child feels supported, heard and understood. Consider what might be stressful for your child and try to eliminate those things as much as possible.
It’s important to tune in to what is happening for your child emotionally, and what is supporting or undermining your child’s sense of security. If you can deeply understand your child, you can develop a unique approach to parenting that’s best for your child. When you know your child’s strengths, temperament, and learning style, and you know how your child handles stress, with the help of holistic health professionals and coaching you can prevent and deal with most health, behavior and learning problems.
If you’re experiencing stressful, frustrating behavior patterns with your child, we can help. Our coaching program can help you deal with these issues.
When you are fully educated in holistic health care for kids, you can maintain an exceptionally healthy home environment and provide your children with the best possible care for healthy development and optimal vitality.