The extensive use of antibiotics in Western medicine has led some doctors and many parents to seek alternative treatment options for their children. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with a history dating back over 2,400 years and put forth in some 30,000 volumes of literature, could provide the answers.
Bob Flaws is one such person who is a long-time practitioner of TCM. Looking to help his own children as well as those of many of his women patients, he accumulated a terrific amount of experience treating children. His book Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine: A Parent’s Guide to the Care and Prevention of Common Childhood Diseases puts much of this knowledge within easy reach of parents. (This book may be purchased from DSE Products)
“The overuse of antibiotics in children has lead to some serious health problems, including the epidemic of pediatric ear infections and antibiotics’ suspected role in the development of allergies,” writes Flaws. “Any parent who has had a child receive repeated rounds of various antibiotics for ear infections, with those infections returning over and over again, should know that approach has its limitations.”
TCM has as a main premise that it is most important to restore harmony and balance to the patient along with treating the symptoms of the problem, so it focuses on treating the patient. By comparison, Western medicine focuses on treating diseases. It is said in TCM, “Same disease, different treatments; different diseases, same treatment.” That is why two persons who suffer from the same disease may receive radically different treatment and two individuals who have very different diseases may get essentially the same treatment with TCM, says Flaws.
Acupuncture plays a role in TCM, but it is Flaws’ practice to treat children with Chinese herbs rather than with needles. Some practitioners will be more inclined to use some forms of Acupuncture with children, but Flaws prefers to concentrate on correct diet and herbs to restore the child’s harmony and balance.
One case study he presents in the book has to do with successful treatment of a 16-month-old boy who had been administered numerous rounds of antibiotics for earaches. Each time new antibiotics were given, the child’s earache would diminish, only to return when antibiotics had run their course. The child’s doctor was suggesting ear tubes as the next treatment option.
Using his knowledge of TCM, Flaws was able to look beyond the ear issue to the cause of the child’s problem from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Thus he was able to select a treatment that included a combination of herbs to be administered to the child daily and education of the mother to the proper diet for her child. Within just several days the child was on the road to improvement. The earaches diminished, energy returned and antibiotics were no longer part of his life.