If you’re reading this, you’re obviously the kind of parent who cares deeply about your child’s health. Either that, or you’re just curious about alternative forms of medicine and whether it is appropriate for children. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to that question. It depends on the type of alternative treatment being discussed, the comfort level of the child, and whether there is documented medical evidence that such a treatment is both safe and beneficial. As a concerned and involved parent, you want to make sure your child receives the best, most beneficial, most natural types of care available—but there are a lot of question marks. You aren’t sure what’s safe, what’s covered by insurance, what’s worth trying, and what types of alternative treatment are carried out by qualified professionals with reliable training.
First off, it’s important to stress that alternative treatments are not the appropriate response to immediate illness or injury that require swift treatment. This goes for children and adults alike. In a life-threatening medical emergency, calling 911 and going to the Emergency Room are the only sensible things to do. Here your child will receive the most advanced medical response possible.
For illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening, but which require immediate attention, your local urgent care center is the best option. Here you will have access to a fully qualified doctor or nurse, with access to advanced instrumentation and lab testing facilities. You’ll receive effective diagnosis and treatment, and you won’t have to make an appointment or wait long.
But beyond these pressing medical situations, many parents choose to explore alternative forms of supplemental or holistic treatment for their children.
In terms of evidence, there are also many question marks. Some forms of treatment, such as acupuncture, have been in practice for thousands of years. Many people do claim that their children have benefitted. Some studies in mainland China, for example, where acupuncture was invented and is practiced much more widely than in the United States, indicate that acupuncture for children has positive benefits when treatment is given by a highly trained expert in that field. Specifically, these studies suggest relief of pediatric symptoms and illnesses such as back pain, stomach ache, headache and so forth.
On the other hand, many parents have tried acupuncture (either themselves and/or their children) and have not reported tangible benefits from the treatment. Was this because it truly doesn’t work? Or perhaps the practitioner they saw was not as qualified as he or she could have been? Or perhaps such treatments do not work on all children the same way?
The reality is, any of and all of these things could be true. That’s what makes it so difficult for parents who truly want to make sure the best options and treatments are available to their child—especially when the child suffers from a chronic illness or condition that mainstream medicine has not been able to quickly clear up.
Many people don’t realize that most doctors and nurses in urgent care clinics and hospitals are surprisingly understanding when it comes to parents who want to pursue alternative treatments. And as a parent, exploring what’s available is your right. However, when you do explore alternative treatments for your child—whether acupuncture, herb supplements, or any other type of alternative treatment—it’s crucial to let your family doctor know about it ahead of time. Not only will you get valuable feedback—you’ll avoid any reactions or illnesses that may come about as a result of mixing alternative treatments with modern medicine.
We hope this article has been informative, and we hope you’ll comment below!