In my clinic I see a range of children - from tiny little babies, excitable toddlers and growing teenagers. Maybe it's because I'm short so I finally feel a little tall when working with kids (that is pre-high school ones - hehe!) but I do love working with children and seeing how they respond to natural medicine.
Children have a wonderful magic about them and it's just in their nature to WANT to be well - they have no preconceived ideas or experiences about whether something will "work" when going down the path of seeing a naturopath and working with diet, lifestyle and herbal medicine.
So what can you expect if you brought your child in to see a naturopath?
Diet & Lifestyle
Well, just like with adults we look at the whole picture about what's going on for them - is it a history of tummy pains or eczema? Is their anxiety so bad that it is having an impact on school and friends? Are they finding it really hard to concentrate at school or getting into lots of fights? Is it one cold after another (after another)?
Diet and lifestyle play a huge role with children, and I'm not just talking about excess sugar here (however that does play a big role when it comes to mood swings and sleeping for example). Research and my clinic experience shows the positive effect that removing gluten and dairy from children who are on the autism spectrum for example - and I mean the differences can be huge - think calmer, happier children that are able to better communicate with you.
Foods that cause inflammation aren't always just limited to sugar, wheat and dairy - other foods can have a negative impact on our little ones - I love to use the Hair 500 Test to identify what these items are - I really get great results on this test with skin conditions (eczema for example) as well as digestive complaints if removing the common items isn't solving the problem.
Another test that I love to use on children if I think it's needed is a different hair test, this one a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - again this test isn't invasive and it's giving us information on what could be out of balance nutritionally that is causing issues for your child. A great example of this is looking at copper - copper is an essential mineral in the body required for many vital bio-chemical, cellular and enzyme functions such as oxygen transport, mental and cognitive function, hormonal balance, immune function, energy production, maintenance of nerve, skin, ligament and bone tissue. Therefore when this is out of balance, such as with copper toxicity, symptoms can be wide ranging in the body. Copper toxicity is especially common in my clinic with nervous system complaints (such as anxiety) in children.
Herbal Medicine & Supplementation
I love using herbal medicine with children - whilst plant extracts are powerful in what they can do to support the body they are also gentle with children when used correctly (so when you see a qualified naturopath or herbalist). Plants such as chamomile, lemon balm, licorice, echinacea, marshmallow, rosehips and olive leaf get used a lot in my clinic - and the amount that is needed for your child is so small (it's not like they have to drink 10ml of mixture to get the effect).
I am not sure if it's my love of all things Harry Potter but I love showing children the different bottles in my dispensary, getting them to smell them and see pictures of the plants. The look in so many of the children's eyes as we make up THEIR special medicine makes my heart soar. They believe in the magic as much as I know that it works.
I don't like to complicate things with children (or their parents) but sometimes its ideal to include some nutritional supplements into the treatment program - the most common being a really good probiotic to help with immune and gut health. Magnesium is beautiful to help calm busy stressed minds or aching bodies, and vitamin D is often needed (so many of us are actually vitamin D deficient) to support immune and skin health. Other items we use include a high quality fish oil, zinc and vitamin C (to just name a few).
So not technically their name but it is how I like to describe Bach flower or Australia bush flower essences to children in clinic. These are gentle and an amazing (and simple) way to provide extra support for their little bodies - from fear, nightmares, trauma, depression, stress .... the list really does go on. And you know what, they work so well!!
Children have an magical energy about them - they see the world differently to adults and even those that are really sick have a special spark about them, with their little bodies always trying to get back into balance - and naturopathy is often a very gentle, non invasive and simple way to help support their bodies to do just this.
Feel free to reach out to me for a chat if you would like to know more.