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Alternative Therapies for Kids


When something isn’t working, we often go to an alternative to solve the problem. Yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, chiropractic, homeopathic medicine and music therapy are just some…

Healthy families often start with a health-conscious mom. “My personal belief is that by living green and researching alternatives, people are going to make an informed choice that is going to help the planet and help their health,” says Casey Alls, chapter leader of the Holistic Moms Network of Annapolis.

Yoga may be a good place for your child to begin. “It is such a benefit for children to have that extra stretching, breathing and focusing on things that they do not get when running around the soccer field,” encourages Doreen Helmly, owner and instructor at Annapolis Yoga Bugs. Yoga is imaginative and noncompetitive. “I have a warm-up period where I teach the sun salutations with some fun thrown in. The story opens up the body and I teach some of the twisting poses and standing poses. We always finish with a relaxation time that has blankets and lavender pillows. I emphasize that this is a resting time and time for the body to rejuvenate, not a nap time,” says Helmly. Yoga has been said to help children who may be anxious or hyper, and Helmly points out is also boosts self-esteem.

If your child complains about an ailment even after many visits to the pediatrician, it may be time for a chiropractor. “Parents whose children suffer from frequent ear infections, chronic sinus infections or asthma, but who want to try alternatives before ear tubes and medications should have them evaluated by a chiropractor that works with children,” states Dr. Tom Chaney of Living Health Chiropractic of Annapolis. The chiropractor offers your child better chances at fighting illness. “We have found children in particular respond effectively and very quickly to a course of chiropractic because the adjustments help to restore proper drainage of ear and sinus fluids and to strengthen the immune system, which helps to clear up current infections, and prevent future infections,” reinforces Chaney.

No one knows this better than Sally Thompson, an Annapolis mom who spent one year trying to find a remedy for her son’s frequent migraines and dizziness. Her son Daniel tried medications and diet modifications for what was thought to be allergies. After following their neighbor’s recommendation to visit a chiropractor, their hope was restored. It was discovered that Daniel had been suffering from chronic sinusitis and all he needed was a few adjustments. He is now back to being active and enjoying life.

If you feel unsure about alternative therapy for your child, you may check out Meadow Hill Wellness. You will be able to learn about the benefits of acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy, yoga, tai chi and belly dancing. “Massage increases circulation, helps the body heal if you have any kind of injuries, relieves stress and help you relax,” says Adele Cook, community liaison of Meadow Hill Wellness. You can choose from deep tissue, which relieves muscle tension, Swedish which involves applying firm yet gentle pressure, hot stone in which warm stones are placed on certain parts of your body to relax muscles and Reiki, which involves balancing the mind, body and spirit through energy healing.

Music can be the best therapy. “Group drumming has been proven to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and increase white blood cells It does a lot for wellness,” Jonathan Murray, owner of Fun Drum Rhythm Circles, says of his group. Children with special needs may be drawn to this. “Percussion instruments are a wonderful entry level musical experience because it is relatively simple in terms of motor skills. It accesses something that is automatic with children that like to make music, bang on things and have fun doing it,” Murray says.

If your child has a bee sting or sports injury, you may not consider that a homeopathic remedy like apis or arnica is probably right around the corner at your Whole Foods or other health food store. “Whether a child has autism, multiple sclerosis, ADD, asthma or eczema, we look at the whole person mentally, emotionally, their likes, dislikes, fears and their symptoms,” Roberta Ward of Quantum Health of Annapolis, a practice of homeopathic medicine, summarizes. Each child gets a treatment that is tailored just for him. “In a young child, we look at in-utero events and come up with a remedy that matches the majority of who he represents mentally, emotionally, physically and with symptoms,” Ward says. “You can use [homeopathic] remedies whether you have a cold, smash your finger in a car door or get an allergic reaction from going to a friend’s house where there are cats,” Ward says.

When it comes to alternative therapies, no one is left out. Relaxation, improved attention and defense against infections are just a few of the benefits. You can take a step toward reaching the optimal mind and body connection by finding a therapy that is right for you.

By Jamie Lober

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