It’s back-to-school time for many kids and Autumn is just a month away! As you start to get more serious about family schedules and such, it’s also a good idea to assess your kid’s health, since the changing season comes with many stressors that can get them sick, 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 and were not getting dietary supplements.

I’m sorry to say this, but getting the cold or flu is not the only concern.

Asthma attacks have been shown to spike during the Fall, mostly because for some children cold & flu viruses progress to the lungs and cause irritation, but also due to the 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 meds 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, differentiated between acute and chronic illness, and within each category the organ/channel disharmony is defined (it’s often an imbalance involving Lung energy, which is the organ/channel system that relates to Autumn – yet another reason why asthma attacks are greater in the upcoming season!). This input then guides the practitioner to the appropriate treatment.

Through gently-placed needles or non-invasive methods like laser or massage, specific acupoints are stimulated which balance the energy, essentially teaching the body how to heal itself. From a biomedical perspective, stimulation of acupoints 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. But they also address the root energetic imbalance that is present. So for pediatric asthma, herbs that tonify the Lungs, Spleen, and Kidney organs would likely be prescribed.

Most TCM practitioners also 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.

And skilled practitioners can 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, getting them in with a TCM practitioner is one of the best things you can do for them! And 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…

Resources:

Flaws, Bob. A Handbook of TCM Pediatrics. Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press, 2006

Neustaedter, Randall. The Holistic Baby Guide. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2010

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Written by Brandy Falcon
I help families manage modern health challenges by connecting them to traditional wisdom and healing practices.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE