Traditional Chinese Medicine Helps Childhood Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory condition affecting the airways of the lungs. Signs and symptoms include episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness. It can be a serious, life-threatening disease. Living with this condition is challenging, especially for a young child. The use of drugs to control asthma is of a palliative nature, and does not cure its true cause.
According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2011-2012, 11.4% of males aged 0-14, had a higher rate of asthma than did females at 7.2%. Acupuncture can prevent and treat asthma, especially in children. It strengthens their lung function, immunity and reduces the frequency of episodes. The treatment principle is tonify the lung energy, resolve phlegm, and strengthen the spleen (digestive) energy. Our organs are affected by long-term effects of taking medications, and sometimes children are very dependent on them, some may get a real kick out of taking ventolin. I find it best to start with six acupuncture treatments, children who are relatively healthy will respond well, in fact most children respond quickly and consistently to the acupuncture treatment.
How do we get asthma and become more susceptible to it?
  • Hereditary factors
  • Repeated respiratory infections
  • Too much phlegm-producing foods – e.g. cow’s milk, cheese, peanuts, sugar, bananas & fruit juice
  • Irregular feeding as a baby
  • Food additives – choose fresh food and read the labels
  • Too much television & computer games – creates internal heat and stress
  • Bad posture
  • Emotional trauma
  • Corticosteriod creams for treatment of eczema – notice how allergies, asthma and eczema often go hand in hand
  • Allergens
  • Lingering Pathogenic Factor – the child’s asthma is worse or appeared after being quite sick, is now better but not completely resolved.
The Trigger – often there is something that triggers the asthma attack, where is starts from a simple cough to full blow acute attack. Acupuncture does not treat the trigger, it strengthens the body’s energy so that it won’t need to react to the trigger in future. Acupuncture is helpful during acute asthmatic attacks. Homeopathy and Bach Flower remedies are also useful for the early stage of an attack, it works best when prescribed by an experienced practitioner.
Emotional Factors – Often fear follows panic. These two emotions aggravate the situation, it is important to support your child and reassure them that they are going to be okay, speak to them calmly and lovingly.
Lifestyle Changes for Asthma – Being mindful of what you eat makes a big difference and this will increase the efficacy of your acupuncture and herbal treatment. To strengthen the spleen and lung weakness, support your child with a sensibly lifestyle with rest, good diet, regular meals, and early nights.
To reduce phlegm, you must reduce the foods that create it. Reduce dairy products, peanuts, oranges, bananas, ice-cold food and drinks. Eliminate these completely if the asthma is very bad. Following a lung qi friendly diet is very supportive. The National Asthma Council of Australia has some great information for you.
To read more about the Lung, its functions and the emotional components involved. Much of this article was take from Scott & Barlow (1999), Acupuncture in the Treatment of Children.
xx Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, @Ivanhoe

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