Listen up parents–if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Kids do as their parents do. This is true of how they care for their health, including what types of treatments they seek out. According to a recent study coming out in the February issue of Pediatrics, almost twelve percent of American children use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
The study conducted at Harvard Medical School looked at data on 9,417 children younger than 18 years of age; it set out to differentiate between users and non-users of non-mainstream therapies. They found that if parents used alternative therapies, the more likely their children used them, too. In the study, they purposely ignored vitamins and minerals, so that they could get a better sense of the use of herbs and homeopathics. Chiropractic and acupuncture were not mentioned in the report, but were likely a part of the study.For the children using CAM therapies, they did so mostly for chronic conditions such as anxiety, stress, musculoskeletal conditions, skin conditions and sinusitis.
Surprisingly, 66% of children with cancer used CAM therapies. Some doctors find this disturbing since they say some alternative therapies can interfere with other treatments.OK, first off, for some people using non-mainstream forms of treatment or tonics are not “alternative”. I can tell you that in my family chiropractic was a way of life. I’ve been seeing chiropractors since I was seven years old; I adjust my daughters regularly, my wife when she was pregnant, and I adjust my siblings and mother, too. It’s a lifestyle for us, not alternative.
We’ve also been taking vitamins, juicing, eating whole, natural foods (sorry, we’re not vegetarian, my vegan friends), exercising and seeing acupuncturists for as long as I can remember…and we are not alone. Truly encouraging is that the numbers of people living healthy lifestyles keep growing every year.
Sure, if you are infatuated with the practice of medicine, you’ll shrink in abhorrence. God forbid anyone use something other than what Dr. Oz recommends. Wake up you people–mainstream medicine is jumping on the bandwagon with many CAM therapies because these same practices they’ve vilified for decades actually work.
The study itself can be taken in two different ways: one, that doctors (especially pediatricians) need to pay more attention to their patients, because their unspoken health habits could interfere with the good doctors recommendations (drugs); or two, doctors need to pay more attention because their patients are embracing CAM therapies, which…ehem…work.*
No doubt, every consumer needs to practice ultimate caution–some herbs and other therapies can be dangerous if used improperly, bought from disreputable sources, or not administered from a knowledgeable (and liable) practitioner. But isn’t this what today’s health care is all about–due diligence, self-information, professional consultation, scrutiny and personal responsibility? Sure better be–it’s your health.
*Most known and long-practiced therapies work for some people, yet no one therapy works for all people, not even medicine.