My journey specializing in pediatrics began with the treatment of my son, Nathan. At the age of one, he was hospitalized with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and discharged the next day once he was able to breathe on his own. Another attack struck four months later, landing him in the ER for a round of oxygen. My wife, Vesna, and I received a nebulizer with prescriptions for albuterol and Pulmicort. Both the ER doctor and our pediatrician recommended Nathan see a specialist to further identify the cause of these attacks.
The pulmonologist saw Nathan a few weeks later and diagnosed him with childhood asthma. He prescribed several inhalers and two steroids, including Orapred. The first night we tried the steroids, my son rolled on the floor hysterically crying for nearly two hours. Vesna and I looked at each other and knew this wasn’t the right treatment for our child, and my opportunity to treat Nathan using Chinese medicine presented itself.
I treated Nathan using Chinese herbal formulas, tui na (Chinese pediatric massage), Shonishin (Japanese pediatric massage), moxibustion and in-and-out needling. After several months of treatment and 16 years later, Nathan has not experienced an asthmatic attack and was never again diagnosed with asthma. He does not use an inhaler or nebulizer and has not returned to the hospital for this condition.
When my son, Max, was two months old, he had difficulty transitioning from breast milk to formula. I used an herbal formula and allergy elimination to treat him for colic-like behavior, indigestion, and constipation. After a week, his sleep and behavior improved, and he returned to passing several bowel movements per day. More recently, I have been treating Max for cat and seasonal allergies.
History of Pediatrics within Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine developed this specialty during the Song dynasty (960-1279). At that time, Chinese doctors recognized differences between children and adults in diagnosis and treatment and adapted their methods to caring for pediatric patients. Infants and children typically respond favorably to massage, acupuncture, and herbs, with often-immediate results.
How will this Medicine Help My Child?
Modalities including acupuncture, massage, and herbal medicine treat many conditions and illnesses affecting children, including asthma, allergies, bronchitis, chronic cough, colds and flu, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bed wetting, poor appetite, poor digestion, acne, anxiety, stress, autism, and attention deficit disorder (ADD, ADHD). It also improves concentration and focus for enhanced academic, athletic and artistic performance.
Treating infants, toddlers, grade-schoolers, and teens continues to show me that Chinese medicine and acupuncture are effective and safe for children. I encourage parents to explore this healthcare system and discover how valuable it can be to your child’s integrated medical care and overall well-being.