12 Jul Naturopathy And Children
Naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist Jennifer McDowell explains how naturopathy can benefit children with various health problems.
As a practising naturopath I regularly see children with conditions such as asthma, allergies, obesity, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I see the effect these ailments have on these children and their families, how they deprive children of their vigour and passion for life, and how they put unnecessary stress on the child’s entire family.
A holistic approach
Regrettably there has been a rapid increase in these and other common childhood disorders in recent decades. My concern is that the accepted medical approaches to treating these conditions focus on managing isolated symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. I believe a holistic approach is more likely to lead to lasting improvements and ensure the foundations for good health and vitality are laid down for children’s entire lives. I am not suggesting throwing a child’s pharmaceutical medications away.
I am suggesting the medical and complementary-alternative-medicine professions work together, and that parents take their children to see both a doctor and a naturopath.
The gut, brain and immune systems are complex and interrelated, and when components are not working well, this can result in disease. Children especially are susceptible to ailments, as these systems are still developing in them.
Naturopaths work with a child and their family with the aim of re-establishing balance in the body among all the different systems.
This requires the management of dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors that may be causing the problem in the first place. Put simply, it is a matter of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, not just some of them.
There is no ‘one treatment fits all’ approach with naturopathy. My young patients with asthma, eczema, autism and obesity are treated individually, but I always start by considering their diet. The human digestive tract houses trillions of microbes, and a balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes is imperative for good health. This ensures we absorb all the nutrients from our food.
Children with any one of these disorders can be supported using natural medicines that target the gut, brain and immune systems and address the underlying drivers affecting the integrity and function of their bodily systems.
Jennifer McDowell is a naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist from Brisbane.
Words by Jennifer McDowell