The beginning of the school year is a great time to assess your kid’s health in preparation for the challenges that come in Autumn. Sadly, I’m not just talking about the common cold, influenza, or temporary childhood diseases. Asthma attacks have been shown to spike during the Fall, which can be scary for many parents. I’m sharing with you some hope though, since this information about Chinese Medicine for Pediatric Asthma can dramatically improve your child’s health.
Children often become sick in the Fall because of stressors like:
- Fluctuating hot-cold Fall weather can be difficult for their bodies to adjust to.
- Being packed in small classrooms with infectious kids (there’s always at least one runny nose in the room, right?!)
- Having compromised gut flora and depressed immune systems from a Summer full of sugar, high exposure to chlorine in pools, and a recent round of vaccinations.
- Low vitamin D stores if they were constantly covered-up with sunscreen outside in the summer and were not getting dietary supplements.
The increase in asthma this time of year is usually explained by cold & flu viruses progressing to and irritating the lungs. However, medical doctors also say that it’s because of colder, lung-constricting weather, and mold allergies.
Asthma Statistics, an Increasing Concern
Asthma is a really, really big deal, as parents who have a child with this condition know. Breath is life and heart breaking to watch your child gasping for it. Here’s some statistics that may interest you:
- Asthma is on the rise and children are effected the most, according to CDC statistics (8.4% of children with asthma vs. 7.6% of adults in 2015).
- It accounted for 1.6 million emergency room visits in 2013 alone.
- Asthma attacks result in thousands of deaths each year.
Parents should be concerned about these statistics because asthma can develop at ANY time during adolescence. Just because your child doesn’t have it today doesn’t mean they won’t have it soon, especially if they already have an inflammatory condition like food/seasonal allergies, eczema, and chronic ear & sinus infections.
Also, the standard medicines used to manage asthma are clearly not enough to bring morbidity down. Though the prescribed medications are very effective for calming attacks, there are serious side effects. Bronchodilators are stimulating like caffeine, so they may cause increased heart rate, insomnia, and hyperactivity. Steroids, on the other hand, can cause immune suppression and growth delays.
There is another hope in managing asthma in children that is complementary to the current Western medical approach – an older system from the East that focuses more on the energetic as well as physiological imbalances that makes certain children more susceptible to asthma: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
TCM For Childhood Asthma
What makes TCM most attractive as a complementary approach for asthma is that it is individualized for the patient. Their symptoms and presentation are taken into account, along with other Chinese Medicine diagnostic cues. This input then guides the practitioner to the appropriate treatment.
Specific acupoints are stimulated through gently-placed needles or noninvasive methods like laser, shonishin, or Tuina acupressure massage. This balances the child’s energy, essentially teaching the body how to heal itself. From a biomedical perspective, this stimulation helps to reduce inflammation, reduce bronchospasm in the case of asthma, and bolster the immune system.
Chinese herbal remedies aid in the reduction of inflammation and bronchospasm too. Also, they address the root energetic imbalance that is present. So for pediatric asthma, herbs that tonify the Lungs, Spleen, and Kidney organs are usually prescribed.
Most TCM practitioners advise on whole food nutrition, which sustains the effects of acupuncture and herbs and sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy eating based on their personal constitution.
Skilled practitioners can also teach your child relaxation techniques that will keep the airway relaxed when your child feels an attack coming on. They can have their inhaler handy, but may not need to use it!
Here’s a wonderful article with greater detail: Childhood Asthma – The Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach
Asthma sufferers have reported that TCM treatments result in:
- Symptom relief – deeper breathing, less wheezing, greater physical endurance
- A decrease in asthma attacks
- Less dependence on medications
Next Steps For Healing Your Child’s Asthma Naturally
If your child has asthma, seeing a TCM practitioner is one of the best things you can do for them! If your child doesn’t have asthma, but is at risk, they can receive wellness treatments that will keep them strong and prevent asthma from happening in the first place. The time to help them is now.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments! If you need personal help, know that I provide free 15 minute consultations where we can discuss your family’s needs or I can help connect you with a TCM Practitioner in your area. Well wishes to you all…